Close Banner
more savings

Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 credit to spend on


The Top 5 Best Cruise Lines for Families

by Mommy Frog on January 15, 2024

Best Cruise Lines for Families - Pinterest ImageReady to set sail with your family for the ultimate adventure on the high seas? Planning a family cruise vacation can feel like a mammoth task with so many factors to consider. If you're anything like Leap and I, you want to make sure there's something for everyone in the family, creating memories to last a lifetime. We've dived deep into the sea of cruise options and came up with our top five picks for the best cruise lines for families. We're here to make your decision-making a little less daunting, so you can focus on the excitement that awaits without feeling overwhelmed.

Why Take a Cruise with Your Family?

Today, we're spilling the beans on the best cruise lines for families. But before we talk about our top favorites, you may be wondering what makes a cruise vacation a good choice for families as compared to other vacation options. Well, hold my hat and sunglasses, you've asked just the right frog!

Cruises offer a frogtastic vacation option for families due to their all-inclusive nature, endless onboard activities and the opportunity to explore multiple destinations all in one trip. Here's the deal:

  • All-Inclusive Amenities: Cruises often include a wide array of amenities in the overall package, such as dining, entertainment and various family-friendly activities. This makes budgeting simpler for families, as many costs are covered upfront.
  • Family-Friendly Activities: Cruise lines go the extra mile to cater to families with an abundance of age-appropriate activities. From kids' clubs and splash zones for the tadpoles to adventurous excursions and entertainment for teens and adults, there's something for everyone.
  • Convenience and Accessibility: Cruises provide a convenient way for families to travel without the hassle of constantly packing and unpacking. With a floating hotel — if you will, families can explore different destinations without the need for multiple accommodations.
  • Variety of Destinations: Families can choose from a wide range of itineraries, allowing them to visit multiple destinations in a single trip. Whether it's the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe or other exciting locations, cruises offer a variety of experiences.
  • Safety and Security: Cruise ships prioritize safety, making them a secure environment for families. With trained staff, emergency protocols and well-maintained facilities, parents can have peace of mind during their vacation.

Royal Caribbean Cruise - family pool area

  • Quality Family Time: Cruises are the perfect place for families to spend quality time together. Whether it's enjoying a meal, participating in onboard activities or exploring a new port, there's plenty of opportunity for creating lasting memories.
  • Flexibility: Cruises cater to families with different schedules and tastes. Whether you prefer a short weekend getaway or an extended vacation, there are always cruise options to fit different timeframes and budgets.

And while we're talking about the best cruise lines for families, it wouldn't be a froggy post if we didn't share how you can save on your next trip. Ready to sail the seas with Mickey Mouse? Book a Disney Cruise with us to snag our exclusive Disney Cruise Line savings with no booking fees!

Considering Royal Caribbean? Kids 12 and under sail free on specific sailings, plus combine with the Buy One Guest, Get a Second Guest 60% off (with an extra 30% off for third or fourth guests) for select cruises. Hurry, both Royal Caribbean offers are available until May 1, 2024!

The Top 5 Cruise Lines for Families

Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Stateroom - Disney Wish Pool Deck

For our virtual cruise line tour, our first port of call is none other than Disney Cruise Line. These magical voyages always "wow" us with the immersive theming, pixie-dusted ambiance and exceptional service synonymous with Disney. Each of the five (soon-to-be-seven!) ships unfolds like a page from a fairy tale.

For the tadpoles, Disney Cruise Line excels with dynamic youth clubs catering to children ages 6 months to 17 years. Organized by age group, these clubs offer engaging, age-appropriate activities tailored to each stage of childhood. From the cozy "it's a small world" nursery! for babies and toddlers to the vibrant Disney's Oceaneer Club and Lab for children ages 3 to 10, and the cool hangout space Vibe for tweens, even teens have their dedicated spot at Edge.

Beyond the age-specific activities, each Disney ship boasts an abundance of family entertainment. Multiple pools, thrilling waterslides and splash pads await. Nights can be spent watching Broadway-style shows or first-run movies in the cinemas. The ships also feature various bars, lounges, state-of-the-art fitness and spa facilities and the unfrogettable experience of fireworks at sea.

And let's not froget the dining experiences — hands down the best part of any Disney cruise! Disney's rotational dining, a unique concept perfect for the whole family, takes you through three differently-themed dining rooms during your cruise. From frosty adventures to encounters with superheroes, dining aboard a Disney ship is a journey all to itself.

Royal Caribbean

When it comes to a cruise that's all about family fun, look no further than Royal Caribbean. Each ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet is a treasure trove of tantalizing dining options, amazing entertainment and family-friendly activities — and the best part? Most of these goodies are included in your cruise package!

With over 26 ships spread across six different classes, finding the perfect trip is a breeze. Whether you're planning a spontaneous weekend getaway or dreaming of a lavish 7-night Caribbean cruise with a stop at Perfect Day at Cococay — Royal Caribbean's private island in the Bahamas — the options are endless. Popular destinations include Barbados, Puerto Rico, Alaska and the Mexican Riviera.

Royal Caribbean Cruise - H20 Zone

Now, let's talk about the ships. The good news is, you can't go wrong with any in the fleet! Our frog favorites are in the Oasis class, including the Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas — these vessels are practically floating megaresorts! And, there's a new star in the fleet — the Icon of the Seas! She made her debut on Jan. 27, 2024! This beauty holds the new record for the largest cruise ship in the world and is the first in the new Icon class. Get ready for a hoppin' good time!

When you step aboard the Oasis-class vessels, you'll find both excitement and luxury. These extraordinary ships redefine the cruise experience, featuring three distinct main pool areas, a vibrant kiddie splash zone, exhilarating surfing simulators, a miniature golf course, a basketball court and even a zip line for the adventurous souls. Throughout these royal vessels, you'll be pleased to find an abundance of lounges, bars, restaurants and shops. As if that weren't enough, some of the ships even house indoor ice skating rinks. Wow!

Norweigan Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line offers a family-friendly cruise experience with a focus on flexibility, diverse dining, innovative ships and entertainment for all ages. It's an excellent choice for families looking for a relaxed yet exciting vacation at sea.

You can say goodbye to rigid schedules with their "Freestyle Cruising" concept. Enjoy the freedom to dine whenever and wherever you please, with plenty of dining options ranging from casual eateries to specialty restaurants. And here's a giant perk: kids ages 12 and under eat for free at specialty restaurants!

Norwegian Cruise Line takes a lot of pride in its entertainment options. While sailing, you can experience Broadway-style shows, live music, themed parties and engaging activities that keep the whole family entertained. The Norwegian Bliss even features a two-level electric-car race track and laser tag.

In addition, families can choose from a variety of accommodations, including spacious family suites and connecting rooms. Of course, exploring exciting destinations such as the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska and is easy with their range of itineraries. The flexibility to select from various ports and cruise lengths is a huge bonus here too!

Experience delightful inclusive youth programs for kids and teens, providing a treat for the tadpoles. Meanwhile, parent frogs can relax and indulge in downtime with adult-only areas, fitness facilities and spa amenities.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line stands out as a popular choice for families seeking a budget-friendly vacation. On any ship, you'll discover the lively, energetic and fun-filled vibe that defines a Carnival Cruise.

At the heart of Carnival is its "Fun Ship" philosophy. The ships are brightly colored, there's the playful decor and you'll feel the overall sense of celebration. Aboard, your family can enjoy many different types of entertainment options, from family-friendly comedy shows to live performances, there's a new adventure around every corner.

Best Cruise Lines for Families - family on three with Carnival funnel

Catering specifically to children, Carnival has extensive kids' programs; Camp Ocean, Camp O2 and Circle "C." These programs have fun and engaging age-appropriate activities and supervision, and a partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises adds even more novelty. Who wouldn't want to meet the Cat in the Hat?

Many Carnival ships feature elaborate water parks. For families in search of aquatic adventures, you'll be pleased to find slides, splash zones and multiple family-friendly pools. Additional amenities include mini-golf, craft studios and rope courses. Thrill-seekers are in for a treat on Carnival Celebration, Carnival Jubilee or Mardi Gras, where they can experience BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster!

Carnival ensures large families or groups can stay together with family-friendly staterooms, suites and connecting rooms. And when hunger strikes, a variety of dining options, including family-friendly restaurants and casual dining venues, with flexible dining times are available on each ship. For nightly entertainment, the outdoor Seaside Theater on many Carnival ships allows families to enjoy movies, concerts and entertainment under the stars. So dreamy!

MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises is like no other! And have you seen its ships? A quick Google search will send you down the MSC rabbit hole. Modern, stylish and elegant — the ships are a feast for the eyes. Not only are the ships beautiful, but some of the newer ships are equipped with smart technology. MSC for Me is cutting-edge technology at your fingertips. The program includes wristbands, a handy app and interactive screens that allow for a seamless way to stay connected to everything going on throughout the ship. And the best part is that it's free to use!

If you're craving an upscale and luxurious experience, the MSC Yacht Club is the way to go. It's a VIP experience onboard that includes exclusive access, top-notch services and a touch of elegance for those seeking a bit of pampering.

Best Cruise Lines for Families - girls snorkeling

Global adventures await with MSC Cruises. Its itineraries take you to diverse destinations worldwide. Each journey is unique, allowing you to explore new cultures and soak in breathtaking landscapes. But what makes MSC stand out even more? Its commitment to the planet. MSC is all about eco-friendly practices, and making strides in sustainability. If you're into responsible and green travel, like us frogs — MSC is the way to go.

Entertainment onboard its ships is next-level with partnerships with Cirque du Soleil. In addition, many of the ships include a 4D cinema, F1 Simulator, aqua parks, arcades and mini bowling. The MSC Preziosa is the home to Vertigo, the longest single-rider waterslide at sea. MSC is super family-friendly, with engaging kids' programs, playtime with LEGO toys and interactions with Doremi and family — the ships' character mascots.

In addition, the dining aboard every MSC is a party for your taste buds! MSC Cruises brings a world of flavors to your plate. Celebrity chef collaborations and a global menu ensure that your culinary experience is as exciting as your travels. Got picky eaters? No need to worry! The buffet is open 20 hours a day and offers a wide variety of food, so mealtimes are a stress-free zone.

Bonus: Celebrity Cruises

We know we promised you our top five favorites, but here's an excellent bonus option. Celebrity Cruises also deserves a spot on this list — the perfect blend of bougie and family-friendly vibes for your next getaway. Celebrity Cruises have both luxury and a welcoming family atmosphere.

When it comes to keeping the kiddos entertained, Celebrity knows the ropes. Enter the Celebrity X-Club — a buzzing spot for teens featuring video games, sports and cool social hangouts. For the younger ones, Shipmates (ages 3-5), Cadets (ages 6-9) and Captains (ages 10-12) are loaded with activities that'll keep the tadpoles smiling. Equally exciting is the special partnership with the Frost Museum of Science in Miami, where the tadpoles can participate in STEAM activities.

What about the ships? If you're cruising with the whole fam, cast your eyes on the Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Equinox or Celebrity Reflection. There are just so many things to see and do. And when it's time to cool off, you'll definitely want to head to the pools. The main pool areas are perfect for family splashes with ocean views as the focal point.

Now, the best part (at least for us) — the food! Dining on Celebrity Cruises never disappoints. The main dining rooms serve up global dishes, and if you're feeling a bit fancy, hit up exclusive joints such as "Le Petit Chef" for a dining experience that's practically a show in itself.

Family quarters? Covered. The game-changer for us is the Family Veranda Staterooms. These spacious rooms have extra space and berth beds (bunk beds) for the kiddos. It will instantly become your home away from home at sea.

Royal Caribbean Cruise - Rock Wall

And there you have it, our top picks for the best cruise lines for families! If this post was helpful, be sure to save this post to your favorites and drop us a comment below. What do you consider the best cruise lines for families? Don't froget to book your cruise with your favorite frogs here at Undercover Tourist to snag the best deal on your next trip.

Related: Our Top 10 Tips for Your First Disney Cruise

Related: Choosing the Right Disney Stateroom for Your Family

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
View Comments

Leave a comment

Search blog articles

About Undercover Tourist

Undercover Tourist is the leading supplier of online discount tickets to Orlando, Florida-area attractions, including Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Orlando Resort™, SeaWorld® Orlando, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort and more.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Get the inside scoop on theme park news, planning tips, concert and sports announcements, special offers and much more!

Park Plans

Our step-by-step guides will save you up to 4 hours a day.