A cruise holiday offers the perfect opportunity for families of all ages to travel together. Even if you have different interests, the array of onboard activities and shoreside options will keep every member of your family and friends occupied and happy!
Whilst most cruise lines offer children’s facilities, the age groups and facilities do vary. Please also bear in mind some ships are nominated as ADULTS ONLY or CHILD FREE and do not accept reservations for guests below 18 years of age.
The minimum age to travel by cruise ship is 6+months, however on trans-ocean cruises and longer itineraries or cruises with 3 consecutive sea days, many cruises lines increase the minimum age to 12+ months. To access cruise ship swimming pools, hot tubs and children’s club facilities, children must be nappy/diaper/pullup free and toilet trained.
In order to ensure your children have access to their age specific activities, some cruise lines limit the number of bookings with children available in each age group. If travelling with children (particularly during school holidays) early booking is strongly recommended.
Please also bear in mind that each cruise line has its own policy on cruising whilst pregnant. Please contact our Australian based cruise specialists to check your chosen cruise line and itinerary.
Azamara Club Cruises
Azamara Club Cruises welcomes guests of all ages, however does not offer any youth staff, facilities or children’s programme.
Carnival Cruise Lines:
Carnival pioneered the multi generation cruise holiday and prides itself on its youth program for 2-17 year olds. In addition to the free age specific activities below, Carnival offers additional cost activities including: Night Owls – supervised evening activities for children 6mth to 11yrs and Suess at Sea (on some ships) is home to Dr Seuss Bookville, Seuss-a-palooza Parade & the Green Eggs and Ham Character Breakfasts.
Camp Ocean – 2-11yrs
- The littlest little ones 2-5yrs – join the Penguin colony
- The little-biggers, 6-8yrs, are the way-cool Stingrays
- The big fish 9-11yrs are the Sharks
Circle C – 12-14yrs
Club 02 – 15-17yrs
Celebrity offers kids & teens services for guests from 3yrs to 17yrs every day between 9am and 10pm.
- Shipmates – 3-5yrs
- Cadets – 6-8yrs
- Ensigns – 9-11yrs
- xClub – 12-17yrs
- iTake – the video project for teens (on some ships)
In addition to the above included age specific activities Celebrity offers the below additional cost activities.
- Lunch Party: Port days only from 12PM-2PM.
- Dinner Party: Every evening from 5PM-7PM.
- Slumber Party: Every evening from 10PM-1AM, children ages 3-11 can Slumber or Party depending on needs and choices. Ends promptly at 1AM.
- In Stateroom Babysitting – for up to three children within the same family, Children must be 12+ months.
Children’s products and services are not available on Celebrity Xpedition®.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages
When deployed in Australia, the Astor accepts guests of all ages, however has no dedicated facilities or services for children.
All other ships are child free/adults only and accept reservations only for guests over 18yrs.
Crystal is considered by many as the only Luxury cruise option for discerning families.
Both ocean ships feature a fully supervised Junior Activities program for kids between the ages of 3 and 17 on Christmas/New Year voyages and nearly all summer sailings, each with dedicated play areas for both young kids and teens. Children are supervised during their activities with the Junior Activities Directors, and children with parents’ permission are free to come and go as they please. The Junior Activities program is not a babysitting service or day-care facility. Children under the age of the 3 must be supervised by a parent or guardian at all times. Hours of operation vary per sailing.
Fantasia (3-12 yrs) + Waves (13-17yrs)
Fantasia welcomes children ages 3-7 and 8-12, with games, crafts, popular Sony PlayStation® and Xbox 360TM kiosks and large-screen televisions, board games and personal computers with entertainment and education.A video arcade at Waves keeps teens ages 13-17 entertained as well. The Library offers a selection of children’s books and videos for in-room viewing; children can also see recently released films in The Hollywood Theatre.
Crystal European River Cruises and Yacht cruises are not suitable for children.
Many believe Cunard is not suitable for children, however look a little harder on-board and you will find fabulous children’s facilities onboard all Cunard Queens.
- The Play Zone – 2-7yrs (*Infants aged 6 between months and 2 years are welcome to participate in the Children’s programme with parental supervision.)
- The Kids Zone – 8-12yrs
- The Teen Zone – 13-17yrs
- Night Nursery – The Night Nursery is a quiet area created to enable an infant to sleep. It is open from 6.00pm to 11.00pm. This facility is available to children aged 6 months to 23 months and operates complimentary on a first come first served basis
Disney is of course home for the young and young at heart, with an array of activities for the whole family.
- Young Children between 6 months and 3yrs (On voyages of 10+ days 1 – 3yrs) can attend the nursery which has three distinct zones.
- An acclimation zone, designed to help youngsters adjust to their new environment
- A main play area featuring a 3D façade of the “small world” attraction, filled with hidden interactive delights
- A separate quiet room for naps
- Children 3 to 12yrs old can interact with Disney characters—and each other—as they explore multi-themed magical lands in the Disney Oceaneer Club & Lab.
- Tweens between 11-14yrs old hang out at Edge between 10am and 1am.
- Teens between 14-17yrs relax at Vibe
Whilst Disney does attract a large number of families, there are onboard spaces and venues reserved for guests over 18yrs.
Holland America Line
Holland America Line provide a wide variety of exciting youth and teen friendly activities and facilities for guests aged 3 to 17 (except the ms Prinsendam which has a limited programme for children 5-17yrs on select voyages only).
- Club HAL® KIDS – 3-7yrs
- Club HAL® Tweens – 8-12yrs (Plus National Park Service Jr. Ranger program in Alaska)
- The Loft for Teens 13-17yrs (The Loft is not available on ms Prinsendam)
- Holland America is the cruise line of choice for many in Alaska where they offer the popular National Park Service Jr. Ranger program.
In addition to the complimentary age specific activities, Holland America offer the below additional cost activities
- Culinary Arts Centre: Hands-on cooking classes for kids and teens offering basic cooking techniques, kitchen safety and recipe instruction. Workshops are offered for two age groups: ages 3-7, and ages 8-15.
- Club HAL’s After Hours – 3-12yrs on all ships (except ms Prinsendam) from 10:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
- Babysitting Services – Limited babysitting services are available through the Front Office for a small surcharge for children 5 years of age and under. This service is provided by staff on a volunteer basis, and may not always be available.
Children Travel FREE – occasionally promoted that on the Norwegian Costal Voyage, children (under 15 travelling in the same cabin as their parent/s) travel free. Ask us to check current promotions for you.
Expedition voyages to The Arctic, Greenland, and Antarctica are not suitable for children under 8yrs.
Kids Cruise FREE – You’ll be pleased to learn children under 13yrs cruise FREE when sharing one cabin with 2 paying adults on all MSC Cruises departures, paying only the required port charges. Please ask us to check all current promotions at the time of enquiry.
Complimentary daily activities are divided into four age specific groups with themed activities displayed daily in the onboard program.
- Baby Time: 1-3yrs – supervised by parent
- Mini Club: 3-6yrs
- Junior Club: 7-11yrs
- Young Club: 12-14yrs
- Teenager’s Club: 14-17yrs
- When parents are on a ship organised excursion ashore, the Mini Club and Juniors Club will remain open for children 3-12 years of age.
- Happy Dinners 3-11yrs – Children are served their own dinner from the kids menu while parents are enjoying opening courses, so they can dine together as a family. Then, when kids have finished at their usual speed (approximately 45 minutes) parents or entertainment staff take them promptly to the Happy Dinner Meeting Point, where our staff accompany them to the Mini & Junior’s Club.
- Fun Time Dinner 3-11yrs – Children aged 3-11 can have dinner with entertainment staff for 4 evenings per week. With MSC Fun Time Dinners, children dine in a separate, specially decorated area of the buffet restaurant with the entertainment team, and then have fun in the Mini and Junior Club while parents enjoy a leisurely dinner alone, picking up the kids when they’ve finished. The service is free of charge, limited places available, booking is requested onboard.
Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL)
Norwegian is the home of Freestyle cruising offers an array of included activities for the below age groups:
- Guppies – 6mth-2yrs*
- Turtles – 3-5yrs
- Seals – 6-9yrs
- Dolphins – 10-12yrs
- Entourage – 13-17yrs
Additional cost services include:
- Port Play – Want some alone time while in port? Then drop off your kids at Port Play.
- Late Night Fun Zone – Planning a romantic dinner for two? Then leave your kids at Late Night Fun Zone, which is open every night from 22:30-01:30.
P&O’s Australian based ships offer fun and education activities for four specific age groups. Please note that P&O’s departures during school holidays sell out of child allocations very quickly. We highly recommend you book early.
- Turtle Cove – 2-6yrs
- Shark Shack – 7-10yrs
- HQ – 11-14yrs
- HQ+ – 15-17yrs
Additional costs activities include
- Group child-minding is available in Turtle Cove and Shark Shack from 10:30pm to 1:00am
P&O (Worldwide / UK)
The premium P&O UK fleet are split into Family Friendly and Kids Free/Adults Only ships.
Kids Free – The Adults only ships are available exclusively to guests over 18yrs –Adonia, Arcadia & Oriana
Family Friendly – Enjoy cruises with all the family on the family-friendly members of the fleet:Aurora, Azura, Britannia, Oceana and Ventura. These ships were created with family enjoyment and comfort in mind – with large children’s areas and child-friendly pools and public areas (as well as areas reserved just for adults). Family friendly ships offer activities for the below age groups:
- Splashers – 2-4yrs
- Surfers – 5-8yrs
- Scuba’s 9-12yrs
- H20 13-17yrs
In addition, the Night Nursery, available on all family friendly ships for children aged between 6 months and 4 years of age, is open from 6pm to 2am nightly. Allocation is on a first come first served basis due to limited spaces available. The latest time children may be checked in to the Night Nursery is 11pm. This service is complimentary.
All Princess vessels, with the exception of the Ocean Princess and Pacific Princess, have dedicated Youth Centres and Teen Lounges. These two vessels offer youth programs when 20 or more children, ages 3-17, are traveling on a given voyage. Children under the age of 3 are welcome to visit the Youth Centre, if accompanied and supervised by a parent.
- Princess Pelicans (3-7yrs)
- Shockwaves (8-12yrs)
- Teen Lounges (13-17yrs)
Whilst cruising in Alaska, the National Park Service Junior Ranger Program teaches kids about glaciers, endangered wildlife and other animals native to the region. Park Rangers provide special presentations and activities for kids, giving them an opportunity to earn a Jr. Ranger badge.
Additional cost activities:
- Late Night Group Kidsitting – for children ages 3 to 12yrs is offered in the Youth Centres from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am (except on Ocean and Pacific Princess).
Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean is the home to some of the best family friendly activities including rock climbing walls, ice/roller skating and on some ships Surf Simulators, sky diving simulators and Dreamworks experiences. Call us to check the facilities on your chosen ship.
Complimentary children/teens activities.
- Royal Babies (6-18 months) interactive playgroup sessions with a parent or caregiver
- Royal Tots (18-36 months) interactive playgroup sessions with a parent or caregiver
- Aquanauts (3-5yrs)
- Explorers (6-8yrs)
- Voyagers (9-11yrs)
- Teens (12-14 & 15-17yrs)
Additional cost activities
- Babies 2 Go – pre-order Huggies® ready-to-go nappy bags, and Gerber® organic baby food to be delivered right to your stateroom when you arrive, and throughout your cruise
- If you fancy a bit of time to yourself, make use of our colourful Royal Babies & Tots Nursery. The littlest guests (aged 6-36 months) are cared for by trained professionals, while enjoying specially designed programs. Daytime and evening drop-off is offered at additional costs
- Late Hours – Kids and teens can enjoy activities into the late evening with extended hours in the Adventure Ocean and teen-only spaces. An hourly rate applies after 10 p.m.
Seabourn welcomes guests of all ages, however the Yachts of Seabourn do not attract many families as they do not not offer any youth staff, facilities or children’s programme.
Onboard Child Care Centres provide fun activities for the younger travellers. Facilities do vary from vessel to vessel. If your children are old enough to look after themselves, Star Cruises have plenty of activities to keep them occupied and entertained.
A baby-sitting service is also available for additional fee (subject to availability).
There are no recreational facilities for children aboard MINERVA and reservations for children are not recommended.