Top 10 Best New Summer Cruises for Kids
Chart a course for adventure on a family cruise this summer. Here's what's new that kids and families will love.
Photo By: Uncruise Adventures
Photo By: Princess Cruises
Photo By: Royal Caribbean International
Photo By: Carnival Cruise Line
Photo By: Barge Lady Cruises
Photo By: MSC Cruises
Photo By: Norwegian Cruise Line
Photo By: Disney Cruise Line
Photo By: Carnival Cruise Line
Photo By: Disney Cruise Line
UnCruise Adventures: S.S. Legacy
UnCruise Adventures, known for small ship adventure cruises, has long been a family-friendly cruise option, but now they're upping the ante. This summer, two Alaska sails will feature a youth adventurist to serve as your guide to dramatic glaciers and curious native wildlife onboard the 90-passenger S.S. Legacy. These special seven-night family sails depart July 5 and August 9, starting and ending in Juneau. Guide Erin Kirkland, author of Alaska on the Go: Exploring the 49th State with Children, will lead scavenger hunts, foraging activities, kayaking relays and forest ecology games.
Princess Cruises: Caribbean Princess
Your kids are in for a whale of a good time when you book a sail on the newly refurbished 3,140-passenger Caribbean Princess. The ship will re-emerge from drydock in Fort Lauderdale in June with a brand-new kid-friendly water attraction. The Reef Family Splash Zone features an interactive water playground, a splash pool and a water-spraying whale. The area also includes an upgrade to the existing pool area. Check the kids into Camp Discovery for arts, crafts and an outdoor area one deck below. There little ones can explore a new destination-themed water table that educates on world landmarks.
Royal Caribbean: Navigator of the Seas
The long-awaited $250 million expansion of Royal Caribbean's private island, Perfect Day at CoCo Cay, is complete at last and open for business. The overhaul includes the largest wave pool in the Caribbean, a 1,600-foot zip line, a helium balloon ride and 13 water slides, including 135-foot-tall Devil's Peak, the tallest water slide in North America. Eleven ships make a stop at the private island, including newly revamped Navigator of the Seas. This 3,386-passenger ship that sails from Miami boasts the line's first aqua coaster, the longest water slide at sea and a headfirst mat racer water slide.
Carnival Cruise Line: Carnival Sunrise
The newly refurbed Carnival Sunrise set sail in May following a massive $200 million renovation. The 2,984-passenger ship will initially originate cruises to Bermuda, New England and the Caribbean from New York before settling in to Fort Lauderdale in October. Kids will love the new water park and splash zone, mini golf and a ropes course, as well as new children's programming, like Camp Ocean. The ship also includes a wider variety of dining options and a candy lover's dream called Cherry on Top. How sweet.
Barge Lady Cruises: Barge Luciole
There are massive cruise ships that take hours to board and then there are small ships, barges in fact, that take no time at all to get going. While luxury barge cruises are not new, they have recently begun to make waves with families. Just right for a multi-gen vacation, set sail for Northern Burgundy in France on the 12-passenger Barge Luciole. This family adventure cruise includes a dedicated crew and curated experiences. Onboard chefs cater to the palates of children (and adults), while excursions range from swimming and go-karting to visits to chateaus and villages. Relax on the deck or settle in at the newly refurbished saloon, which serves as the barge's social hub and onboard bistro. Floor-to-ceiling picture windows allow for breathtaking panoramas as you gently cruise the scenic waterways.
MSC Cruises: MSC Bellissima
The newest ship in the MSC Cruises fleet, MSC Bellissima, entered service this spring and has the capacity to sail with a whopping 5,596 passengers. The ship will sail the Western Mediterranean, making stops in historic ports like Barcelona, Marseille and Genoa. Kids will love the new Family Explorers Club, which immerses children and families in tailored excursions that expose them to culture and history by way of detective missions. The ship features a Grand Canyon-themed water park with three twisting slides, as well as two new Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows, which debuted on the ship in March.
Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian Joy
The newly refit Norwegian Joy joined the U.S. fleet of mega ships in May following a $50 million renovation to this 3,804-passenger cruise ship. This summer, she'll sail two seven-night round-trip itineraries to Alaska from Seattle, making stops in Ketchikan, Juneau and Victoria. Kids and families will love the new two-level go-kart speedway (where guests can reach speeds of up to 30 M.P.H.), laser tag arena, water park and five-hole mini golf course. The complimentary Splash Academy lets kids ages 3 to 12 make crafts and play sports. For the first time at sea, guests can also tap their toes and sing along to Footloose the Musical.
Disney Cruise Line: Disney Magic
This summer, the 2,700-passenger Disney Magic charts a new course, sailing to seven new ports in Europe, including Gothenburg, Sweden and Cartagena, Spain. The line has also added a new round-trip sail from Rome onboard the charming Disney Magic, making stops in Italy, France and Spain. Kids and families will be wowed by three Broadway-style shows, as well as a Toy Story-themed play area. Select sails include Marvel Day at Sea as the films and characters take over the ship. Of course, kids will want to splash around at Goofy's Pool, take on the AquaDunk water slide and be awed by the fireworks at sea.
Carnival Cruise Line: Carnival Horizon
The Carnival Horizon sails with nearly 4,000 passengers and an ocean's worth of activities to keep up the fun for the length of the cruise. Sailing from its home port in Miami to tropical ports across the Caribbean, there's a lot to love about Carnival Horizon, particularly for fans of Dr. Seuss. Kids will love Dr. Seuss WaterWorks, a Seuss-themed water park on the top deck with water slides and a tipping top-hat, as well as a Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast and Dr. Seuss Bookville, which includes all the colorful Seuss books for children to read.
Disney Cruise Line: Disney Fantasy
The popular Disney Fantasy will continue to sail seven-night cruises to the Caribbean from Port Canaveral. This summer, those eager to cruise onboard the 2,500-passenger Disney Fantasy have more flexibility thanks to special three-, six-, eight- and 11-night itineraries. These new sails all include a stop at Disney' s private island, Castaway Cay, as well as stops at multiple other tropical ports of call. On the ship, look for Star Wars Day at Sea, an exhilarating water coaster, AquaDuck and a live musical, Aladdin. Of course, Mickey and Minnie will be there too regardless of how many or how few days you choose to sail.