When it comes to planning a family cruise, it may not be as much about the destination itself as it is about how you’re going to get there. Choosing the right family-friendly cruise ship and the perfect stateroom all within your budget are the keys to keeping everyone happy.
The best family cruises offer a well-rounded balance of exciting destinations and shore excursions, as well as fun, entertainment and the coolest kids’ clubs at sea. To get your family cruise vacation sailing in the right direction, here are our top tips for planning a family cruise.
1. Choose the Right Ship
While any ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet is perfect for a family vacation, ships in the Breakaway Class and Breakaway Plus Class are even better! Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Epic are among the best cruise ships for kids on the seas today! Why? Because they offer a fantastic balance of relaxation and family fun all-in-one.
Just imagine: 28 dining venues, a tri-level Sports Complex and an Aqua Park with towering waterslides, as well as entertainment galore including Broadway-style performances, comedy shows and a huge selection of bars and inviting lounges, plus Casinos at Sea®, and a chic spa offering at Mandara Spa with more than 50 specialty treatments. 50! Phew!
2. Compare Family Cruise Cabins
All Norwegian Cruise Line ships offer a great selection of staterooms for families. If you’re sticking to a budget, check out economical Inside staterooms, or upgrade to an Oceanview or a Balcony cabin. Or you could choose 2 adjacent staterooms or connecting staterooms, or even a Suite if you’re traveling with teens.
But, by far, the best choice for a family cruise cabin is a Family Mini-Suite or a spacious 2-Bedroom Family Suite in The Haven, especially if you’re planning a cruise for a family of 5. Both stateroom options are available with balconies, but the Haven Family Suite comes with 2 bathrooms, concierge, and 24/7 butler service, along with private lounge, pool and sundeck access. Plus you’ll be personally escorted on and off your ship with priority boarding and departures. Bonus!
3. Keep Your Cruise Vacation Budget Friendly
We all want to get the best value for our hard-earned vacation dollars, so let’s take a look at tips to keep your cruise vacation budget on track.
- Sign up with your email for the Inside Scoop, where you’ll get the hottest cruise deals and special offers
- Take advantage of last-minute sailings or book your family-friendly cruise as far as a year in advance to get some of the best savings overall
- Take even more advantage of Norwegian’s Free at Sea promotion where, depending on your sailing, you can choose offers including: Friends & Family Sail Free, where 3rd and 4th guests sail for free in your stateroom. And think about this: this makes it less expensive to take your kids on a cruise than it is to leave them at home with a babysitter!
- Instead of sailing during high season, consider being flexible with your dates and sailing during the less expensive shoulder season
- Instead of a 7-day or longer cruise, consider opting for a shorter 3- 4- or 5-day cruise to keep your vacation budget to a minimum
- Utilize onboard cost-saving amenities such as unlimited soda and Wi-Fi packages
4. Consider the Complimentary Onboard Youth Programs
All Norwegian Cruise Line ships include free youth programs for children ages 6 months up to 17 years. They’re age-appropriately designed activities where your kids can go on treasure hunts, be creative through song and dance, or even learn some circus skills.
And of course, there’s mini-golf. And climbing walls. And swimming pools. And bowling. And race tracks. No wonder Norwegian Cruise Line cruises for children are so popular! Your kids will never be bored on a cruise, in fact, here are 3 Things You’ll Never Hear Your Kids Says on a Caribbean Cruise.
And one last tip? To keep track of your kids on board the ship, download the Cruise Norwegian app (or the Cruise Norwegian app, if you're sailing aboard Norwegian Sky!) so you can easily communicate during your family cruise adventure.