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Best Cruise Ships for Families: Ranked

icon of the seas

When you’re looking for cruises for you and your family, you’ll want to know you’re choosing a ship that has something for all ages. And whilst cost may be a large factor in your ultimate decision, the variety of amenities that the ship itself has is another major factor to consider.

You want to ensure that both your kids and you have something onboard to keep you entertained; whether that be a kids club, an exciting activity that appeals to the whole family or a spa for the adults to relax in whilst the kids are being kept entertained at the club.

According to the CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) – ”Cruise holidays appeal to those looking for multi-generational travel options. Today 73% of cruise travellers are sailing with family members that represent at least two generations”.

So what are the best cruises for kids and adults? We’ve rounded up a top 3 list of the best cruise ships for families, based on the variety of amenities, family-friendly accommodation and dining options available.

1. Icon of the Seas

icon of the seas

It’s probably no surprise that this mega cruise ship is kickstarting this list. Set to be the largest in the world, Icon of the Seas is the newest in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, setting sail in 2024.

A colossus of the waves, among the many family-friendly attractions available onboard are Adventure Ocean, an award-winning kids club and youth programme, Category 6 – the biggest waterpark at sea, the Royal Escape Room, and of course, the Flowrider surf simulator (a family-favourite onboard Royal Caribbean), in addition to dining options that will satisfy even the pickiest palates!

Dining options that will appeal to both kids and adults include Pier 7 (for light bites), El Loco Fresh (Mexican fare) and Surfside Bites & Eatery (for burgers, hot dogs and more).

Family-friendly accommodation on Icon of the Seas includes the Surfside Family View Interior cabins, the Family Infinite Ocean View Balcony cabins and the Ultimate Family Townhouse.

2. Disney Dream

Disney Dream

Image Credit: Disney copyright – © 2024 Disney. All Rights Reserved. Ships’ Registry: The Bahamas.

Disney Cruise Line’s inclusion on this list is not surprising, as no other cruise line in the world is as well-known for being a family favourite as Disney. Number two in the ranking, whether your family chooses to spend their time swimming in Donald’s Pool, meeting their favourite Disney/Pixar characters, or taking on the thrilling AquaDuck waterslide, on Disney Dream you’ll have a blast.

In terms of cuisine, there’s the interactive Animator’s Palate offering an immersive dining experience, Flo’s Cafe for a quick bite to eat and Vanellope’s Sweets & Treats. Family-friendly accommodation on Disney Dream includes the Guarantee Oceanview cabins, Deluxe Family Oceanview cabins and the Concierge Royal Suite with Veranda.

3 . MSC Virtuosa

MSC Virtuosa

MSC Virtuosa – Photo credit Bernard Biger/Chantiers de l’Atlantique

And finally, we have the second largest ship on this list, MSC Virtuosa; which can hold up to 6,300 passengers. Fun family-friendly activities onboard include an F1 simulator, a two-lane bowling alley and a 4D movie theatre.

Top restaurants for families onboard include Hola! Tacos & Cantina, the Marketplace Buffet and Jean-Philippe Crepes & Gelato. And when it comes to cabins/suites, the Deluxe Ocean View Fantastica cabins, the Deluxe Balcony Fantastica cabins and the Yacht Club Duplex Suite are ideal.

So, there you go. There’s the top three best cruise ships for families, based on onboard activities, restaurants and accommodation. Other cruise ships that are great for families that didn’t make the list are Carnival Celebration, P&O Arvia and Anthem of the Seas, all with their own extraordinary amenities, dining options and cabins/suites. But no matter what family-friendly cruise ship or itinerary you opt for, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable time filled with happy memories that will last forever.

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