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Children's Programs
Adventure OceanWith children, cruising is the best affordable deal on the travel menu.  The parents can enjoy time to themselves, while the kids enjoy the time of their lives! 

Norwegian Cruise Line Kids CrewThe key to a successful cruise is   to choose the ship that meets your family's needs.  Look for one with a guaranteed kids' program that matches your child's age. It should be in full operation for the ship and the sailing you've booked. Don't board a ship if the brochure states that the children's program only operates with a minimum number of kids.

Holland America's  Club HAL 

Have Fun @ Camp CarnivalChildren are welcome on most ships, but facilities vary.  Youth and Teen Centers (supervised only when 15 or more children are traveling) are usually fully supervised by a fun-loving staff.  On most ships you'll find everything from arts & crafts corners, games tables, movies and splash pools, to Teen Centers with ping pong tables, juke boxes and all the latest video games.  Some ships even offer a toddlers' play area and theater, a doll's house, a castle, a splash pool, computers, and ice-cream kiosk. And for teens, special places which are guaranteed to give them the time of their lives.  Some ships will offer group babysitting/supervised activities from 9:00 am.- 5:00 p.m. when in port for $4.00 per child per hour.  From 10:00 p.m.- 1:00 a.m. there may be a $4.00 per child per hour group babysitting charge.

Disney's Castaway Club


Children ages 2-12

Teens ages 13 to 17

  • Arts & crafts
  • Pool games
  • Scavenger hunts
  • Hall of Fame tournaments
  • Deck parties
  • Bridge tours
  • Afternoon ice cream
  • Videos and cartoons
  • Galley tours
  • Back stage tour
  • Slumber parties
  • Birthday parties
  • Special  TV Programs
  • Bop till you drop teen-only disco
  • The Dating Game
  • Shipboard Olympics
  • Murder mystery game
  • Theme parties
  • Karaoke & lip sync shows
  • Casino night
  • P.T.C. pizza party
  • Movie fest
  • activities specially designed to teach them about the oceans and marine life.
  • Family Cruising Tips

    • First sitting mealtime is recommended for families who want to dine together so that children may fully participate in the evening youth activities.
    • If parents would like to dine alone at second sitting, children can dine in the 24-hour alternative dining restaurant.
    • Many of the shore excursions have been planned with family cruisers in mind.
    • Discounted rates for children and "family friendly" activities are available to make the most of your time in port.
    • Don't miss the orientation and registration meeting on the first night of your cruise. You'll meet the Youth Activities Coordinators and learn more about the exciting shipboard programs.
    • Center staff cannot administer medication, change diapers or feed bottles to children.
    • Group babysitting services are available in port between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., and at night between 10:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. in the children's centers at an hourly rate per child.
    • Kids feeling under the weather? Members of the staff will make them feel special by stopping by their stateroom with games and activities to keep them busy.
    • Families generally pick first seating for meals, since second seating is late (8:30 pm). 
    • The longer the cruise (10 days and up), the older the passengers, and the least likely you are to find many kids (most families can't afford the cost, or can't leave home for longer periods.)
    • A 7-day trip may be best; 3 and 4 day cruises often get a more "party hard-y" crowd. 
    • Baby sitting is often provided by staff at night at an hourly rate. 
    • Many ships now offer pizza, hamburgers and hotdogs along with standard lunch buffets.
    • Check the size and location of the stateroom 
    • Some ships have cabins that can sleep five; some ships have adjoining cabins 
    • Certain lines allow a teen to have a separate cabin 
    • Try a short cruise, the first time out 
    • Check the medical services available 
    • Some ships bar women in the third trimester of pregnancy! 
    • Check what documentation for kids is required (ID,guardianship, etc.) 
    • Don't forget to budget for gratuities. (Ask about the common practice for your ship.) 
    • A final word: as with any trip with kids, you never know when a case of chicken pox will alter your best-laid plans! Check cancellation fees, and fees to change dates; cancellation insurance may be worth the price.
    • Check for deals; sometimes kids can sail for free! 
    Cruise lines are getting better with their kid programs, however they still seem to have them only in session when there is a holiday or during the summer vacation months.  Your best bet is to stick to a cruise line who offers the year round program because they employ people who are already certified in child care, not a college student on a summer break. 

    © 1998-2010  Candy Brock