Cruising Kids

Photo is courtesy of NCL Being a kid is all about having fun. Coincidentally, so is a vacation. But kids and parents rarely agree on what is fun.

To parents, fancy dinners, late night shows and reading by the pool are fun. Kids have more fun playing games, doing scavenger hunts and going down waterslides. The good news is that all of these activities occur on a cruise, making a cruise the vacation of choice for today's families.

Under the supervision of the youth staff, kids can play video games, eat pizza and play in a ball pit, while parents relax and have a fabulous five course meal. It is a parent's and kid's dream come true!

Here's a look into each cruise line's youth programs:

Camp Carnival Logo

On a Carnival "Fun Ship" one low price covers just about everything including their award winning Youth Programs: Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines Camp Carnival� for children 2-11, Circle "C" for kids age 12-14 and Club 02 for teens 15-17. Camp Carnival� is further divided into 3 smaller groups Toddlers for little cruisers 2-5 years of age, Juniors for kids 6-8 and Intermediates for those 9-11. You don't have to worry about all the expenses which add up when traveling with children.

Carnival's Youth Programs include specially designed activities for each age group, evening babysitting (for a nominal fee), specially trained staff, youth playrooms including computers, children's menu and a waterslide and kids wading pool. Another big plus, from 10 p.m. - 3 a.m. every night Carnival offers great babysitting services! During the cruise, your kids will have tons of fun exploring their Carnival "Fun Ship", enjoying all kinds of games, parties, talent shows and other fun - all under the friendly supervision of the cruise line's specially trained staff. This is a family vacation they will never forget!

Disney Cruise Line logo is a trademark of Disney

There is nothing like the Magic and Wonder of a Disney Cruise Line vacation. Adults find excitement and indulgence. Children have the time of their lives. Families unite and everyone makes memories to last a lifetime. There is something special for everyone who boards Disney's grand ships. The ships were designed with separate areas and themed activities for all age groups so everyone has their own kind of magical experience. The best part is when they all meet up again at the end of the day, they're renewed and relaxed with lots of adventures to share!

Guided by Disney Counselors, age-specific activities guaranteed to transport young minds to the edge of their imagination. As an added convenience, parents are given pagers so families are always in touch.

Youth programs are available on a Disney Cruise starting a the age of just 3 months. Small children ages 3 months to 3 years receive hands-on care at the onboard Nursery�Flounder's Reef on the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder, as well as It's a Small World Nursery on the Disney Dream. Age appropriate activities are available for kids of all ages. Disney Oceaneer Lab and Oceaneer Club host several different age groups (with the groups ranging from 3-11 years in age) with appropriate activities for kids in each age group.

Older kids prefer a less structured program and that's offered in some spaces they can call their own onboard. Edge is an entertainment space just for tweens age 11�13 on Disney Dream, where kids can play video games, enjoy music, TV or even surf the internet. Teens have their own spot called Aloft (on Disney Photo courtesy of Disney Cruise Lines Wonder and Disney Magic � Vibe on Disney Dream), where they can watch TV, listen to music, play video games or just hang out. While there is free time to let teens do what they want, there are also scheduled activities designed to help the teens to get to know each other and to have a good time. Disney has done an outstanding job of making their littlest vacationers want to return to their ships over and over again.

Of course Disney has designed their ships with family travel in mind. In fact, more than 15,000 square feet of space is dedicated to children's programs. Staterooms are larger than average and have a unique layout that is particularly family friendly. And with ingenious design and a wide variety of activities aboard Disney vessels, there's truly something for everyone. Spas are open to adults, pool facilities for families and play areas open to children. Disney also has fantastic entertainment that includes special production shows that can only be seen aboard a Disney vessel. It's a great mix of multigenerational activities that's uniquely Disney!

NCL's Kid's Crew� is a program of things to do, places to go and kids to meet. It's like recess, only longer.

You can enjoy a massage while they're on a treasure hunt. Play roulette while they're camping out or head for the Chocoholic Buffet� while they're having a pillow fight at a pajama party. Every minute they spend in Kid's Crew� is carefully supervised by a staff of youth counselors from leading universities and organizations. There are four specific age groups in NCL's Kid's Crew � Juniors (age 2-5), First Mates (age 6-9), Navigators (age 10 � 12) and Teens (age 13-17). NCL offers Freestyle Fun with age appropriate activities that include circuses, crafts, parades, sports, games, scavenger hunts, video games, stories and parties. Campouts with flashlights and tents and cooking classes where they can make pizza or pancakes with funny faces. There's T-shirt painting, face painting and poolside root beer floats. Treasure hunts and sand castle competitions on our private island. And even shore excursions designed just for families. Of course we promise we'll give them plenty of time to spend with you, too.

Royal Caribbean Adventure Ocean Program logo

With Royal Caribbean's Adventure Ocean� program, the family vacation concept will never be the same again. If you're a kid, then the Adventure Ocean Youth Program is just for you. Adventure Ocean is a specially designed complimentary program for infants age 6-36 months (must be accompanied by a parent) kids from 3 to 11 and teens from 12 to 17. Age groups for the kids program include 3-5, 6-8, 9-11, 12-14 and 14 to 17. Photo courtesy Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Royal Caribbean ships have great facilities for kids that include separate areas for each age group and a professional staff of youth counselors to make sure there are always fun things to do.

Using what's known as "Edu-tainment", Adventure Ocean blends educational activities, daily itineraries, ports of call, games, individual and team sports, art, performance and a general good time into a unique onboard experience for children, teens and parents. With Adventure Ocean, there are activities for the whole family, plus parents get a bit of free time to themselves. Even on a vacation for the whole family, Royal Caribbean understands that Mom and Dad sometimes need their own time together. Adventure Ocean will stimulate your kids by day and further entertain them by night with their Late Night Party Zone. Now, parents can relax during lunchtime with Adventure Ocean's new Lunch and Play program which provides Adventure Ocean kids with lunch, movies, cartoons and free-play time between noon and 2 p.m. Have younger children and want them cared for in your cabin? The Sitters at Sea program offers professional individualized childcare in your stateroom at a nominal charge (this is arranged onboard via the Pursers Desk 24 hours in advance). With Adventure Ocean, kids get some time together to have all kinds of fun. That fun includes special meals, a TV station with programming dedicated to kids and lots of great play areas. Royal Caribbean cruises are designed to bring families closer together and for EVERYONE to have the time of their life!

The goal of the family vacation is simple: find that elusive experience that allows both parents and children to enjoy their favorite activities as well as spend quality time together. Love Boat Kids is Princess' program for children ages three to 17 years. The Fun Zone accommodates kids 3-7 (Princess Pelicans) and kids 8-12 (Shockwaves) and the Remix Teen Center is perfect for the 13-17 year olds. Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises While youth facilities vary by vessel, children are welcomed with a myriad of games and activities on all Princess ships including arts and crafts, pool games, scavenger hunts, deck parties, bridge and galley tours, afternoon ice cream, videos and cartoons. Teens can enjoy dancing in their own private disco, video games, and giant screen TV's, in addition to murder mystery games, theme parties, shipboard Olympics, karaoke and lip sync shows, hip hop dance classes, pizza parties and movie fests which are supervised by a dedicated staff of youth activity professionals.

The kids program also enables young cruisers to participate in a special environmental program called "Save Our Seas", created by the California Coastal Commission. Throughout the cruise, children will enjoy activities designed to teach them about the oceans and marine life. On Alaska sailings, the National Park Service teaches kids about glaciers, endangered wildlife & other animals native to the region, allowing kids the opportunity to earn their Junior Ranger badge.

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