Families love cruising to the Caribbean! Crystal clear water in a million shades of blue, sun drenched, powder white beaches, diverse cultures, incredible adventures and delicious foods. What's not to love?
A family cruise to the Caribbean is the type of vacation experience that can be as fast paced or as laid back as you choose. A family cruise allows your family to conveniently travel and discover many different destinations and ports of call and only unpack once. Discover new places for future vacations when you can go back and explore in depth. Family friendly cruise ships are full of features and activities that will appeal to every member of the family regardless of age or interests. Seriously, when was the last time you got everyone in the family to agree?
If this is your family's first cruise or a visit to the Caribbean has long been on your vacation wish list, we'll go over some important information so that you can make the right vacation decisions for your family. There is no such thing as the "best family cruise" or the "best cruise itinerary" - it's out find a fun filled family cruise that best fits your family's needs and wishes. Remember, there are no wrong answers here. All of these ports of all offer plenty of incredible experiences ready to be turned into future memories that your family will share for a lifetime. Creating the perfect vacation is like putting puzzle piece together and making the best choices.
Caribbean Cruise Itineraries for Families
The Caribbean, Mexico, the Bahamas, Cuba and Bermuda are certainly the most popular cruise destinations for American families. These family friendly ports of all offer fun experiences for kids of all ages. Depending on the specific sailing you choose, you may visit a combination of ports in these areas of the Caribbean. Ports of call and the length of time your ship will be docked in port will vary between different cruise lines and sailing at different times of the year.
Cruise ports offering family friendly ships sailing off to the Caribbean line the coast from Boston to Texas. This allows many families the option of driving to port, offering parents the affordable option of saving tons of money on airfares. So with this in mind, in theory, your entire family can drive to the Caribbean!...roadtrip, park at the port and sail away on a tricked out Cruise ship.
Family Eastern Caribbean Cruises
With an Eastern Caribbean sailing your family cruise will likely visit ports like Jamaica, Grand Turk, St. Thomas, St. Martin, Grand Cayman, Tortola and Puerto Rico. Many Eastern cruises will also dock in either Freeport or Nassau in the Bahamas. Some Eastern sailings that depart from north east ports like Boston, New York or Baltimore may also include a stop in Port Canaveral. This means families can spend the day in one of the Orlando theme parks.
Western Caribbean Cruises for Families
On a western Caribbean cruise, your family will enjoy fun port stops in places like Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Key West Florida or multiple stops in Mexico like Cozumel or Costa Maya. Many of these destinations offer family friendly resorts for a day. It's a great way to enjoy the beach in style and once again consider options for a future family vacation.
Southern Caribbean or Exotic Sailings
Less touristy and packed full of discovery and adventure, these itineraries offer ports of call including Belize, Roatan and Costa Rica as well as Mexico, Grand Cayman and Jamaica. On other southern sailings your family can visit exciting ports like Antiqua, St. Lucia, Aruba, Barbado, Bonaire, Curacao, Dominica, Grenada, Martinique and St. Kitts. Often flights to these destinations means limited access, long connections and expensive airfares so visiting via a cruise makes these amazing places affordable and convenient for many families.
Bermuda Cruises for Families
Technically Bermuda (and Turks & Caicos & the Bahamas for that matter) is located in the North Atlantic and is a British Territory. We'll blame well intentioned travel marketing people for the geography confusion. It's at about the same latitude as Savannah Georgia. It's average high and low temperatures are between 76 and 68 degrees fahrenheit. Families will love it's world renown pink sand beaches, historic forts and tea parties.
Family Cuba Cruises
Taking your family to Cuba is like stepping back into time. Once again, family cruises to Cuba make it easy for your family to experience this incredible destination. It costs approximately $75 per person for the visa each passenger will need to visit and the cruise line handles this for you. In addition, ship excursions are immersive, easy and will help you avoid any restrictions or hassles.
Private Islands for Families
All of the family friendly cruise lines have their own private island in the Caribbean. Often these ports of call are the highlight of the week for parents and kids alike. Families can expect all sorts of fun like gorgeous beaches, waterparks, watersports, zip lines, kids clubs, excursions and more. Many activities are included as part of your cruise experience. Some come with an upcharge.
- Disney Cruise Line - Castaway Cay
- Royal Caribbean - CoCoCay and Labadee
- Carnival Cruise Line/ Holland America - Half Moon Caye and Amber Caye
- Norwegian - Great Stirrup Cay and Harvest Caye
- Princess Cruises - Princess Cay
- MSC Cruises - Ocean Cay
Family Friendly Cruises
When we listed the private islands, we gave you a big clue as to which cruise lines are the most family friendly. Not all family friendly cruise companies are created equally. We've done a comparison for you which will also help you understand pricing. For example while many folks argue that Disney is the most kid friendly ship on the seven seas, it is also considered a premium cruise line like Princess, Holland America and Celebrity. This means cruise fares can be up to three times more expensive than the contemporary cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival and MSC which all offer incredible family experiences without mouse ears that are easier on the budget.
In addition to the specific cruise lines themselves, each ship offers different features of interest for families. Older ships may have less bells, whistles and water parks. Also longer itineraries may have less kids onboard and more retirees who don't need to worry about work or school schedules.
How Much Do Family Caribbean Cruises Cost?
A family cruise vacation to the Caribbean can be fairly all inclusive depending upon the cruise you choose. Your cruise price should include your choice of accommodations, all your meals & snacks, shipboard activities, complimentary kids clubs, port charges and taxes. Expect to pay an additional $13-$15 per person per day in gratuities. Guest can either pay this in advance or it's charged to the credit card you use to register at embarkation (fancy word for check in) at the end of your cruise. This amount is divided between all of the crew who serve, care and pamper your family while you're on board. Some family friendly cruise lines are now including drink packages for alcohol and soda.
When it comes to affordability, family Caribbean cruises with everything they include start at a cost of approximately $75 per person, per night. When you consider everything that is included often families can find a decent plain old hotel room for a comparable price. A couple of tips to keep in mind are longer sailings cost a bit less and are a better value than shorter 3-4 days cruises if your family can afford the time away from work or school. Second, cruise lines deploy their best ships and crews on longer sailings.
There will be additional expenses as part of your family cruise package to the Caribbean that you'll need to budget and expect. We mentioned driving to the pier in which you'll need to consider parking. Depending upon distances and preferences, some families may need or prefer to fly to port. In either case, we HIGHLY recommend arriving in your port city at least one day prior to departure because who needs stress on vacation and cruise ships wait for no one. When your cruise ship docks in these exotic ports you'll want to plan activities and adventures to enjoy each location. Most ports offer dozens of tours or shore excursions to choose from.
If this is your family's first time cruising, it may be your first time visiting foreign countries. You may have questions on documentation for your children and obtaining passports. Most health insurance doesn't cover you in foreign countries so you'll need to be prepared with travel insurance.
So if you're new to cruising, it's your family's first vacation to the Caribbean or the information if the tips you learned in this video were things you didn't know before then chances are you will benefit from working with an experienced cruise travel agent that specializes in family travel. Something else you may not know is that Vacationkids often gets deals and perks you won't find if you book online yourself or call the cruise lines. So set up a call with one of the family cruise experts on your team and make that Caribbean cruise dream a reality for your family.