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Best Cruises for Kids

23 Aug 2018
Matt Hochberg

Going on a cruise with kids means finding the right cruise ship for your family that offers plenty to keep children entertained, engaged and having a great time.  It also means not compromising on the adult experience as well.  

Cruising with kids is a great family vacation option, and Royal Caribbean offers some wonderful choices for kids, parents, aunts, grandparents, cousins and anyone else who joins in the fun.

When it comes to picking the best cruise for kids, Royal Caribbean's newest and recently refurbished ships tend to be the best choices.  Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ships offer the most dedicated space to kids programming, as well as the most onboard activities that kids (and their parents) will enjoy.  This includes rock climbing walls, ice skating, water slides and more.

If you have ever seen a Royal Caribbean television commercial, then you likely know that these cruise ships are designed to wow its customers, and that includes kids.  At the heart of the Royal Caribbean cruise experience for kids is Adventure Ocean.  Adventure Ocean is a supervised programming option that all kids that are 3 - 17 years old may participate in.  There is no additional charge for Adventure Ocean (unless you leave them for late night sessions), and it offers things to do in a camp style environment throughout the day.  Royal Caribbean breaks up Adventure Ocean by ages to ensure the programming is age appropriate and will hold their interest.  Younger kids may do more activities that incorporate music, crafts, creative arts and dinosaurs, where older kids get to enjoy scavenger hunts, video game competitions, talent shows and science experiments.

There is even more fun on Royal Caribbean ships for kids in the form of onboard activities.  Royal Caribbean offers a ton for kids to do on its ships, from family-friendly aerial, ice, stage and aqua entertainment, to racing water slides and even spa programs for the youngsters.  Kids can splash at one of the aqua parks and fire the water cannons, dodge geysers and avoid (or maybe aim for) getting drenched by the giant bucket of water.  

Royal Caribbean is well-known for the incredible adventures offered on its ships.  There is the Ultimate Abyss—the tallest slide at sea (available on select ships); FlowRider surf simulator; SeaPlex indoor venue that offers roller skating, basketball, bumper cars, bites and music from a floating DJ booth suspended overhead; or try one of our other can’t-miss onboard activities like laser tag and ice skating.

If all of this sounds wonderful, here are our picks for the best cruises for kids when it comes to sailing on Royal Caribbean.

Best cruises for kids of all ages

Ships: Symphony of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas

The newest Royal Caribbean ships offer the latest and greatest from Royal Caribbean, and they also dedicate the most space towards kids programming.  These ships are filled to the brim with the coolest new things onboard, such as water slides, laser tag, escape room, zip line, Broadway shows, just to name a few.

We believe the Oasis Class ships are an ideal choice for families of all ages for the sheer amount of things to do onboard that cater to guests of all ages. It is incredible to see how much fun Royal Caribbean has packed into these ships, with numerous pools, ice skating rink, zip line, dual FlowRider surf simulators and water slides on Harmony and Symphony.

Looking for more? How about escape room games, a boardwalk carousel, rock climbing wall, DreamWorks characters (excluding Symphony) and video arcades.

Equally impressive in their own way are the Quantum Class ships.  While Oasis Class ships garner a lot of the attention, Anthem of the Seas or Ovation of the Seas both offer some fabulous things to do that are not replicated elsewhere in the fleet.  Your kids will likely never want to leave the SeaPlex, which is an indoor entertainment center.  Bumper cars, XBox gaming, circus school, basketball, dodge ball, ping pong and roller skating are just a few of what is offered in here and it is a huge hit with kids.  Then there is the North Star observational pod that takes you 300 feet above sea level, Ripcord by iFly sky diving simulator, FlowRider surf simulator and a lot more.

Best value cruises for kids

Ships: Liberty of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Independence of the Seas

While we love Royal Caribbean's newer ships, those ships also come with a premium price tag, and going on a family vacation does not mean you have to spend a lot to have a great time.  Royal Caribbean has spent millions of dollars upgrading and enhancing its existing fleet, and the fruits of its labor make for great cruises for kids that will leave extra money in the vacation budget. This means some really fun cruise ships that offer a great bang for the buck.

Independence of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas both recently completed multi-million dollar refurbishments in 2018 and they are aimed precisely at the family cruising market.  Mariner of the Seas offers short sailings (3 and 4 night getaway cruises) with some new offerings that are taking the cruising industry by storm. Independence of the Seas offers slightly longer sailings, and alternates between North America and Europe. 

Both Independence and Mariner are the first ships to offer the virtual reality bungee trampoline experience, known as Sky Pad.  They also offer a pair of three-story-high racer water slides, glow-in-the-dark laser tag, FlowRider and escape room challenge.

If you are looking for a longer sailing, Liberty of the Seas does seven-night cruises and has her own array of fun activities onboard.  She is the only ship to offer the Tidal Wave slide, which is a boomerang style slide, along with a pair of really fun racer water slides.  Liberty is also home to Splashaway Bay, an aqua park featuring an interactive kid’s play area with water cannons, geysers and much more. 

Liberty of the Seas and Independence of the Seas offer Broadway shows as well, with Saturday Night Fever on Liberty and Grease on Independence.  All ships have an adults-only Solarium pool area, lots of great dining and evening entertainment.

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