Cruising has changed over the years as cruise lines have realized the importance of kids and families cruising for their vacations. Being sure that the kids have a great time is important and can affect the cruise company’s bottom line. There are cruise lines that cater to family style cruising and have made significant advancements in the different programs that they provide for the kids.
Today, youth activities staff must meet educational requirements, pass thorough background checks and be trained in emergency procedures such as CPR. Most cruise lines will also recommend that the staff also known as kids counselors have had at least two years experience in caring for children. This lets parents know that they can feel comfortable that capable people are caring for their kids.
There are a maximum number of hours that can be booked for the time that infants and toddlers can spend in activities and with a counselor. The current amount of time for most cruise ships is 10-15 hours per child. The ratio of counselors to children ranges from 1:4 for infants to 1:6 for toddlers. The fee for this service is $6.00/hr for the 1st child and $5.00/hr for the second. Pagers are provided to the parent in case the nursery needs to contact them. Special needs children are welcome; just let the staff know in advance what your child needs.
Top Family Cruise Lines
Disney takes kids cruising very seriously with programs for kids from 3 months to 17 years. Programs offered by trained Disney counselors include the following:
- Flounder’s Reef and It’s a Small World Nurseries: 3 months – 3 years Babysitting services opened at certain times. You will need to check the Personal Navigator for hours. Reservations are required and can be made up to 105 days prior to cruise. Ten hours is the maximum stay per cruise. Activities include movies, crafts, story time, naps and more.
- Oceaneer’s Club: 3 -7 years. Activity center that provides both organized activities and free time for kids to have fun. Dress up as their favorite princess or story hero, kid-friendly computer lab, music stations, dance floor, a lounge and a stage are some of the activities offered. Lunch and dinner at the Club is provided so parents have some free time.
- Oceaneer Lab: An educational setting for kids of any age with workshops and laboratories for the kids to perform science experiments, learn history, art, and music or create arts and craft projects.
- Edge: Tweens have videogames, music, TV, illuminated dance floor and Internet access with a ship-wide social networking system.
- Stack and Vibe: Teens have a high-tech hangouts designed to give teens a place to hang out, meet new friends, and just kick back.
The other great kid friendly cruise line is Carnival. They have an array of activities and programs for kids. Camp Carnival provides scheduled activities for specific age groups from 2-5 years, 6-8 years, and 9-11 years such as talent shows, dance parties, board games, music movement activities and game consoles. Camp Carnival also provides babysitting services for a fee and must have reservations from 10pm to 3am.
The Circle is for 12 – 14 years with games, trivia, scavenger hunts, dance parties, pool parties, sports, and game consoles. Club O2 for 15 – 17 years is a place to hangout around the clock. This special space blends friends, music, entertainment, sports and style for a teen-themed cruising experience unlike any other. All activities are supervised including teen shore excursions.
As you can see from these top two cruise lines kids can cruise and have a great time. Family vacations that has special programs for one price is the way to go today. Always check with the cruise line to see what is offered prior to booking.