Best cruises for families

Cash in on some quality family time on these family-friendly cruise lines.

Multi-generational holidays are the new family reunions. They’re an ideal way to catch up, unwind and explore with loved ones without having to worry about taking care of accommodation, food and transportation between ports.

Whether you’re a family of 3 or a party of 20, these cruise lines are the specialists when it comes to organizing family cruises that check all the boxes for young and old. All you need to do is choose the destination.

Disney Cruise

Disney has secured its spot as a magical brand the whole family can enjoy and its cruises are no different.

There’s a little bit of magic in store for every member of your crew when you board a Disney cruise ship. Adults have the freedom to escape to their own heavenly oases on board, while little ones can play in supervised youth groups or in the activity playground.

  • Activities for the whole family. Broadway-style live shows, Walt Disney theatre, karaoke, trivia, music and deck dance parties, family-friendly port activities and kids’ pools.
  • Family cabins. Disney’s liners have deluxe family staterooms that are ideal for up to five guests. For larger families, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy have over 500 connecting cabins.
  • Family discounts. Discounted rates for children sharing a cabin with parents.
Go to Disney Cruise Line via Cruise Direct website

Norwegian cruise line

Norwegian has a reputation for providing some of the best entertainment at sea for young and old.

Featuring Broadway-style musicals, areas for various sports and pools complete with waterslides and deckchairs, Norwegian’s activities aim to bring families together on board. If you’re looking for the best European cruise for families, this line is it.

  • Activities for the whole family. Broadway musicals, mini golf, bowling, circus and magician shows, water parks, rope courses and rock climbing walls.
  • Family cabins. Connecting staterooms are available for multi-generational parties. Family staterooms are best for families of four.
  • Family discounts. On most sailings, Norwegian offers discounts for the third to the eighth guest in one party.
Go to Norwegian Cruise Line via Cruise Direct website

Carnival Cruise

Not all families are made the same, so Carnival gives you and your clan plenty of options to play it your way.

With basketball courts, a fast and steep water slide for kids, a casino and an adults-only retreat for parents, there’s a reason why Carnival is referred to as the “fun” cruise line. It currently offers more than 200 family-friendly activities.

  • Activities for the whole family. Dr. Seuss-themed entertainment, water slides, mini golf, swimming pools, basketball and dive-in movies.
  • Family cabins. Family staterooms can accommodate up to four. Interconnecting rooms are available.
  • Family discounts. Discounts for third and fourth guests in the same room.
Go to Carnival Cruise Line via Cruise Direct website

Costa cruises

With over 2,000 onshore adventures, Costa Cruises offers vacations to some of the most exotic locations worldwide.

With hundreds of onshore and onboard adventures, customize your Costa Cruises trip to suit your entire family. To spice up your cruise, each Costa ship has a unique theme – choose from Old Hollywood or 17th century Italian styles to food- or pirate-themed ships and much more.

  • Activities for the whole family. Casino, giant on-deck TV, swimming pools, grand prix simulator, babysitting service, spa and a fitness centre.
  • Family cabins. Generous family cabins can accommodate up to four people.
  • Family discounts. Discounts for third and fourth passengers in the same cabin.
Go to Costa Cruises via Cruise Direct website

Royal Caribbean cruise line

Royal Caribbean is one of the best-rated cruise liners in the world and consistently creates vacations the whole family can enjoy.

It’s constantly rated the best by offering a blend of one-of-a-kind children’s, family and adult activities both on board and onshore. These unique experiences include a skydiving and a surfing simulator. Royal Caribbean also offers group discounts and customizable options.

  • Activities for the whole family. Roller-skating rink, bumper cars, circus school, surf simulator, mini golf, exclusive DreamWorks shows and parades.
  • Family cabins. Generous family and two-bedroom cabins can accommodate up to eight people.
  • Family discounts. Discounts for third and fourth passengers in the same cabin.
Go to Royal Caribbean via Cruise Direct website

Best cruises for families of 4

  • Costa Cruises. Generous family cabins can accommodate up to four people, with special discounts for third and fourth guests.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line. Book two double suites to accommodate you and your kids, and double the fun with interconnecting rooms.
  • Carnival Cruise Line. Family rooms are made for up to four people, and you can take advantage of family discounts.
  • Celebrity Cruises. You can book a family veranda room, which can accommodate two adults and two children in separate bedrooms.

Best cruises for families of 5

  • Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean offers family rooms that can fit up to six people, with two twin beds, a pullout sofa and double bunk beds.
  • Disney Cruise Line via Cruise Direct. Family rooms can accommodate up to five people, so you can enjoy the magic of Disney without having to pay for an extra suite.
  • Cunard. This cruise line doesn’t have any five-person rooms, but you can combine a triple and a double room for the best value.
  • Carnival Cruise Line. Most rooms are made for families of four but oceanview staterooms can fit families of five.

Family cruise cabins compared

Family room types Maximum occupancy per room Are interconnecting rooms available?
Disney Cruise Line Deluxe family staterooms 5 Yes
Norwegian Cruise Line Family staterooms 4 Yes
Carnival Cruise Line Family staterooms 4 Yes
Costa Cruises Family cabins 4 Yes
Royal Caribbean Family and two-bedroom cabins 8 Yes

Importance of cruise travel insurance for families

Bringing the whole crew along on a trip isn’t cheap and takes a lot of planning to make it happen.

If anything doesn’t go quite according to that plan, it’s assuring to know that you can get cruise travel insurance that’s specifically designed for sailing. Compared to regular travel insurance, cruise plans can include added benefits like missed shore excursions if there’s bad weather in a port, lost or damaged formalwear if something happens to your bag along the journey and cabin confinement compensation if your family comes down with a contagious stomach bug.

Latest cruise deals:

Uniworld Uniworld

Up to 10% off early bookings

Valid for travel on select 2020 dates booked until 31 October 2019 on worldwide cruises across Central Europe, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Russia, Asia, Egypt, India and more. T&Cs apply.

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Cruise Direct Cruise Direct

Caribbean cruise from $100

Valid for travel on select dates. Sample fare is for 5-night cruise from Norwegian Cruise Line. T&Cs apply.

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Western Caribbean cruises from $43 per night

Valid for travel on select dates in 2019 - 2020. Destinations include Orlando, Costa Maya, Mexico and more. Sample fare is for Norwegian Cruise Line. T&Cs apply.

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TourRadar TourRadar

Up to 30% off Antarctica cruises

Valid or travel on select dates in 2019 - 2020. Destinations include Falkland Islands, Ushuaia, Chile and more. T&Cs apply.

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Intrepid Travel Intrepid Travel

Up to 30% off Asia, Europe, and South America cruises

Valid for select 2019 travel dates. Destinations include Thailand, Malaysia, Greece, Turkey, Galapagos Island and more. T&Cs apply.

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Bahamas cruises from $53 per night

Valid for travel on select dates in 2019 - 2020. Destinations include New Orleans, Nassau, Bahamas and more. Sample fare is for Royal Caribbean International Cruise. T&Cs apply.

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Cruise Direct Cruise Direct

Up to 77% off Eastern Caribbean cruise

Valid for travel on select dates in 2019 - 2020. Destinations include Miami, Amber Cove, Dominican Republic and more. T&Cs apply.

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Let's Ferry Let's Ferry

20% off Blue Star Ferries trips

Valid for economy class tickets for Cyclades routes until 31 October 209. T&Cs apply.

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Expedia Expedia

Caribbean cruises from $391 per person

Sample price is for a 4-night sailing with Carnival. Available on select 2019 dates.

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Expedia Expedia

Up to $100 onboard credit with Norwegian Cruises

Available on select 2019 dates. Includes free dining and drinks package, WiFi use and more. T&Cs apply.

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Popular Cruises coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
10 Oct 2019 Up to 10% off early bookings ********
4 Oct 2019 Caribbean cruise from $100 ********
3 Oct 2019 Western Caribbean cruises from $43 per night ********
2 Oct 2019 Up to 30% off Antarctica cruises ********
17 Sep 2019 Up to 30% off Asia, Europe, and South America cruises ********
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