These days cruises are no longer just for the retired and wealthy, and top cruise lines are now providing affordable, family orientated cruises that can offer fun and enjoyable holidays for both children and adults.
Many cruise liners now provide excellent facilities for both young children and babies, with onboard nurseries, baby and toddler play groups, family size state rooms, cribs, child minding facilities and baby changing rooms. Ship stores also carry many baby lines including diapers, clothing and child friendly sun block and personal hygiene products.
Here is a pick of the best child and baby friendly cruises currently offered.
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival are well known for their family friendly attitude, and have some of the best children’s facilities available on Transatlantic, Caribbean, Australian and South America cruises. The minimum age to sail on most of the shorter cruises is 6 months, but on the longer cruises it can be 12 months, so make sure you check before you make any bookings. Carnival has a number of excellent facilities including pagers for parents so they can have peace of mind when leaving young children and babies in the care of child minders, nurseries and playgroups, and also a vast number of kids activities for all ages including finger painting, puppet shows and story time. Activity books are also available in the dining rooms to help keep your children occupied over dinner and there are several cartoon channels available on in-room televisions. You can hire baby single and double strollers for trips and excursions on shore, and cribs are provided free with state rooms. Baby food mashing services are not available so you will need to bring your own supply of pre-mashed baby food.
Cunard Line Cunard also have a good reputation for family friendly cruises, and the minimum for Transatlantic crossings is 6 months old, but the more exotic destinations is 1 year old, so again make sure you check this before you book. On the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Victoria there are full nanny services available for children of 1 year old and up, and there are also late night baby sitting services so that parents can enjoy a night out in one of the many fantastic dining rooms or entertainment lounges. There are also plenty of activities for children of all ages including pyjama parties, treasure hunts and face painting, and there is an onboard library with a well stocked children’s section. The Kings Court restaurant caters for babies and will mash food for you on request, but the Cunard line are not aimed heavily towards families as the Carnival line is, so you will not find a lot of baby supplies in the onboard stores and there are not as many activities on offer for young children as with some other cruise lines.
Disney Cruise Line Being Disney this cruise line is bound to be aimed at all things family, and the wonderful cruises provided have so much to offer children of all ages they will not want to leave the ship! Another bonus is that the minimum age to sail is just 12 weeks old, and the onboard nursery caters to children from this age through to 36 months, but places get filled up quickly so it is a good idea to book some nursery time online beforehand. There are so many activities for children they will be spoilt for choice, from making cookies and playing on the indoor pirates ship in the Oceaneer Club through to splashing about in the kids only Micky Pool.