Thursday, October 31, 2013
Best Cruises for Kids: A Smart, Small List
When it comes to the best cruises for kids, few cruise lines can match the level of excellence provided by Princess, Norwegian, Disney or Royal Caribbean. This article will briefly explore innovative perks and novel features of some of the best cruise lines for kids, and look at how each cruise line makes cruising with kids such a pleasure.So without further ado, let's get right to our short, sweet list of the best cruises for kids.Princess CruisesPrincess Cruises may be the most ideal option for trips involving children of different age groups, or multi-generational families. Few cruise lines are as versatile as Princess-you can seek out any experience you want aboard a Princess cruise, and be assured that the kids are having just as good a time as you are.Princess has several bustling kids' clubs that are sure to keep the youngsters engaged in exciting activities. The line's Crown series of ships, along with the recently upgraded Grand Princess, are among the best cruise ships for kids. The line offers a diverse range of age-based activities and its ships are loaded with innovative perks.Princess is one of the best cruises for kids, and perhaps even more so if you add toddlers, teenagers and grandparents in to the mix. The cruises have to offer something for everyone, and this is what makes this line such a huge hit for multigenerational families. You get to sample the traditional along with the modern, and experience the best of both worlds.To give an example of the diverse nature of onboard and shore activities, you can attend a formal art auction, play bingo, indulge in high-tech spa treatments and even go to an authentic wine tasting. Vacationers traveling in large parties may consider Princess the best cruise line for kids and adults alike, and with good reason.Norwegian Cruise LinesNorwegian Cruise Lines may offer what is arguably one of the best cruises for kids, particularly for the hard-to-please teen demographic. The Norwegian Epic is considered one of the best cruise ships for kids, and is chockfull of great features to keep kids 13 and over engaged for the entire trip.Apart from the great cabins and plush decorations, teens will love the rock climbing walls and one of the most intense water slides on any cruise ship. Another teen-friendly feature is Entourage-a teen only (13 to 17) enclave that lets teens do what they do best. It's a great place to hang out, with large flatscreen TVs, plush couches, contemporary furniture, and teen-friendly games and entertainment such as foosball and air hockey. And it all adds up to one of the best cruises for kids.Onboard dining options are another plus. The ship has an excellent buffet laid out by the Garden Cafe, and the best part is that it's open most of the time. The free O'Sheehans Pub (we're not sure if that's a wordplay on 'ocean') and round-the-clock pizza delivery are also great for nighttime cravings. A trip where the adults enjoy themselves as much as the children? That's the hallmark of some of the best cruises for kids.Disney Cruise LineDisney has successfully taken the concept of family cruising, splashed it with the typical (read whimsical) Disney charm, and taken it to the next level.Disney's most beautiful and elegant ships include the Disney Magic, the Disney Wonder and the newly-added Disney Dream. The line has some of the best cruise ships for kids, and delivers an enchanting onboard experience your kids will remember for a long, long time.There are so many things that make Disney one of the best cruise lines for kids. The ships' cabins are well-furnished, and clearly designed with the needs of kids in mind. The line sports a unique split-bath layout that's perfect for families with children-one bathroom features a sink and tub-shower and the other has a sink and a toilet. In addition, families can dine at different themed restaurants in a rotational dining system, and the theatrical performances on evenings are as close to Broadway as any cruise line. It's not hard to see why Disney cruises are considered one of the best cruises for kids.And just because it's a Disney trip does not mean parents are not looked after. If anything, parents may have even more fun than the kids. There are beautiful and well-equipped adults' pools, boutique eateries and other upmarket dining options, and beautiful spas to keep the adults happily engaged. The line also offers several uber-sophisticated shore excursions for adults; on a Mediterranean cruise, adults can rent classic cars from the 60s in the sublimely beautiful Villafranche, or take daylong cooking classes and have an authentic Tuscan wine-tasting experience.Royal CaribbeanRoyal Caribbean's cruises are among the most fun-filled for kids and families. The line's Voyager, Oasis and Freedom series have some of the best cruise ships for kids, and offer loads of exciting activities for young and old alike.Royal Caribbean consistently ranks as one of the best kids' cruises, mainly due to the diverse onboard experiences available. Children are grouped according to age and encouraged to partake in age-appropriate activities. Whereas many other cruise lines group children in larger age brackets, Royal's groups are smaller, meaning that kids get to hang out with other similar-aged kids and take part in activities that are tailored specifically to their age group.Royal Caribbean's onboard features are completely attuned to family needs, and this is what allows the line to offer one of the best cruises for kids. The line's suites are family-friendly, and with connecting rooms, offer a great accommodation option for families with kids. You don't have to cramp your style in a small cabin with drop-down beds. And for dining, you can either go with the pre-set dining system as with many other cruise lines, or opt for the more flexible restaurant-style dining.