Taking a family vacation with multiple generations, from babies to grandparents, sounds nice on paper, but requires multiple moving parts. It can also be a challenge to decide where to go, stay and what to do. But you can make your life easier by choosing a cruise vacation where multigenerations can indulge in kids clubs or Broadway shows, enjoy instant entertainment and plenty of restaurant choices. If you’re not sure where to start, here are five cruises for multigenerational families.
Cruising with little kids requires a game plan to keep everyone happy. Unlimited food is one place to start, but most cruises have kids clubs with fun like pools, dance parties, summer camp-style programs and video games. Not all are created equally, but Carnival Cruises are popular options whether you have toddlers, tweens or teens. The Camp Ocean program for 2- to 11-year-olds has a cool marine-life vibe. Pirate Game Night, Marine Life Trivia and aquarium designing will keep the kids busy while grandparents enjoy a Broadway-style show and parents take a dip in an outdoor pool.
A Disney Cruise with Disney Fantasy is the kind of vacation that starts the second you walk onto the ship. Kids clubs for toddler through teen keep kids busy while grandparents and parents get away from the controlled chaos in adults-only areas. Disney cruises also feature live musical comedies and experiences like the AquaDuck water coaster tumbling guests into a pool with seaside views. There are also plenty of opportunities for cocktails and dancing in adult nightclubs and lounges for parents, along with a relaxing day at the spa while the kids are busy.
Not all cruises need to be designed with kids at the forefront. For something a little less traditional than big commercial cruises but without skimping adventure and fun, try Paul Gauguin’s South Seas Immersion. They’re known for award-winning stops through Tahiti, South Pacific and Fiji. The ships hold 332 guests with a crew-to-guest ratio of 1:15 and cruising comes with Polynesian performances, spa and excursions like snorkeling and beach stops at a private islet.
Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Sea teamed up with DreamWorks to design children programming and experiences like trademarked characters that materialize during family photo-ops. To keep kids busy during the day, a 29,000-square-foot Adventure Ocean splits kids into age-appropriate activities including arts and crafts and theater instruction. And while there are tween and teen areas and video gaming areas, Royal Caribbean also has an itinerary of volleyball, Nintendo competitions and karaoke for the 18- to 20-year old crowd.
Like other cruises on the list, the Norwegian Jewel features kids clubs called Splash Academy for Kids with cute names like Guppies for the diaper set to Dolphins who are ages 10 to 12. They also have an entourage area for teens with video games, art, music and a supervised dance club. Norwegian also features a Late Night Fun Zone so the grown-ups can take in a show or indulge in freestyle dining 10:30 p.m.–1:30 a.m.
Regardless of which cruise you choose, get on the same page about expectations. Everyone needs a little space to enjoy their family vacation, even if it’s on opposite ends of a cruise ship.