If you're planning to take a fun-filled family cruise for your next vacation- Great choice! The great news is that there are a huge number of ships, destinations and types of cruises that are all family friendly. With such a wide variety of choices, how can you confidently determine which is the right choice for your family?
First tip: Work with an experienced travel agent!
It doesn't cost...it PAYS to work with an experienced travel agent. The advertised prices you find online already include travel agent commission. If you book the trip yourself, the cruise line pockets the difference while you do all the work. In addition, some agencies, like Vacationkids receive exclusive cruise line offers throughout the year that you won't find advertised online. We can even babysit your reservations and apply the savings of any last minute sales that may apply. Plus your agent is there to answer all your questions, offer insider tips, suggestions and help for all your travel needs.
Most parents are familiar with the family friendly mass market cruise ships. Disney cruise line, of course, is an eternal family favorite. Just because it's family friendly doesn't make Disney a mass market or contemporary cruise line. Disney is considered a "premium" line. Parents are often surprised to realize many premium and even luxury cruise lines welcome families.
In addition to family ocean cruises, there are also family river cruises. River cruises do not offer as many organized children's clubs and activities on board but are ideal for families who want to conveniently explore many different destinations in one trip. Speaking of exploring, there are also family friendly expeditions. These cruises are perfect for adventurous families who want to discover idyllic destinations like Alaska, the Galapagos Islands and Antarctica.
To help you zero in and decide on the right cruise line, we've developed the chart below to help you break it all down. The prices listed are starting prices for the lowest priced cabin selection. Bear in mind prices during popular family vacation times and how far in advance you book your reservations can increase from 30-70%.
There is a quick glance overview of the type of family features are offered in each of these broad categories of family cruise lines. Please remember not all ships, even those in the same cruise line, are created equal. Some cruise lines have age requirements or are best suited for older children. All cruise lines charge by the number of passengers sharing the same cabin and not by age. While this is a great benefit for families with teens and adult children, infants will need to pay according to the specific cruise line rates. Larger ships will have more stateroom choices making sleeping arrangements easier, especially for larger families. Smaller ships may only allow 2-3 passenger per cabin and many do not offer features like cabins that connect with a door.
There's a LOT to consider here simply because there are so many different family friendly cruise choices out there. Remember, once you've decided on the cruise type or line that best suits your family's vacation style, your agent can help you select the right sailing and the right cabin.