Cruise lines are doing their best to entice families to head out to sea. Rock climbing, ice skating, surfing, mini golf, bumper cars, sports courts, water slides and splash grounds are just a handful of amenities that you can expect to find on a cruise ship. And, if these cool features aren’t convincing you to don your sea legs, consider the culinary courses, scavenger hunts, midnight buffets, dance parties or wine tastings. It’s a fact – a cruise vacation offers something for every family member. And, the amazing food and gorgeous ports of call are only the beginning.

Kids run this show

It’s not hard for a six-year-old to find something fun to do on a cruise ship. For the young, and young at heart, Disney Cruise Line’s fantastic amenities will make you wonder if you’ve pulled up to the Magic Kingdom. Whether playing in the Oceaneer Club – complete with a replica of Andy’s Room from Toy Story; getting autographs at a character breakfast; enjoying a Disney-themed, Broadway-style performance; or taking part in a pirate party while viewing a fireworks show at sea, Disney’s four ships have it all for families with little ones in tow.

While there’s no denying that Disney knows family vacations, other cruise lines have upped their games and are giving Disney a run for its money. No matter the cruise line, kids are covered with first-rate clubs and daily activities and programs, such as the Jr.CHEF@Sea Program on Princess Cruises. For $25, kids can don their finest aprons and toques (provided) and learn how to decorate a cake with the help of the ship’s pastry chef.

Tweens, teens and everything in between

And let’s not forget about the big kids in your stateroom who may not be into character meals and pajama parties. Teen and tween clubs – that often proudly boast a “NO PARENTS ALLOWED” rule – give older children a cool hangout, and they, too, plan games and activities designed to both entertain and encourage socializing. For instance, Celebrity Cruises’ Millennium Class comprises four ships and welcomes kids with newly upgraded facilities that bring high-tech touches to days at sea. Between theme parties and gaming tournaments at the XBOX stations in the XClub, you may have to schedule some time to hang out with your teen during your stay.

Tip: A cruise vacation is a perfect way for only children or families with children with large age differences to meet friends and enjoy age-appropriate activities.  

For the whole family

While keeping the kids entertained is one sure way to ensure a family vacation is a success, cruise vacations don’t forget about the parents’ needs. Fitness classes, golf simulators, spa treatments, surfing lessons, art auctions, night clubs and coffee shops … cruise lines know it’s important to ensure the ones financing the vacation are satisfied, too!

Oh, and all of this only touches on onboard activities. Don’t forget that these cruise ships are your transportation to some exciting destinations. Ready to set sail?

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