Cruising provides a fun, stress-free and safe environment for families, and when it’s time for bed Jeannine Williamson takes a look at some of the cabins designed with kids and parents in mind.
Wonder of the Seas
What? The Ultimate Family Suite is two-storey wonderland complete with a “Royal Genie” to create personalised experiences.
Why? Royal Caribbean took family accommodation to soaring new heights on Symphony of the Seas, Spectrum of the Seas, and now the world’s largest cruise ship Wonder of the Seas. Sleeping up to eight, the jaw-dropping suite decorated in eye-popping neon colours has a slide between floors, piano stairs, gaming table, giant TV, Lego wall and table tennis on the balcony. Novel kid-centric features in the 1,134-square-foot play palace include a small porthole that youngsters can crawl through to reach their bedroom.
Book it: Royal Caribbean’s seven-night Mediterranean Cruise from Barcelona to Barcelona, £24,212, departing September 25.
What? Live the suite life with free child places and perks for adults on MSC’s new flagship.
Why? Children under 18 sharing the same cabin as their parents travel free year-round on MSC, which is a great excuse to splash out and upgrade to a suite. A Junior Suite with the Aurea Experience provides comfort and space including a 172-square-foot balcony. All the family can enjoy 24-hour room service delivered free of charge and perks for parents include a special drinks package offer at time of booking, discounts in the spa and at speciality restaurants and free time dining.
Book it: MSC’s seven-night Caribbean cruise from Miami to Miami, £1,958, departing August 6.
What? Complete with a toy box for young sailors, these family cabins are a first for river cruising.
Why? Recently launched A-ROSA SENA has created waves in the river cruise world as the first-ever river vessel built specifically for families and multi-generational groups. The 12 family 301-square-foot family cabins are situated next to the children’s club and can sleep up to five in a double bed, two bunk beds – with fun peephole curtains – and a sofa bed. Each one has a play area and there’s a toy box in every cabin with age-appropriate toys.
Book it: A-ROSA’s seven-night Rhine Discovery Amsterdam and Rotterdam cruise from Cologne to Antwerp, £5,234, departing April 1, 2023.
What? Family Harbor suites offer exclusive lounge access and dining perks Family Harbor
Why? A host of benefits come with Carnival’s Family Harbor suites, which are also available on Carnival Celebration, Horizon, Mardi Gras and Panorama. The bright nautical decor creates a welcoming atmosphere and suites are located near the Family Harbor Lounge, open for breakfast, snacks throughout the day and activities including video games and family movies. Youngsters eat free in most speciality restaurants and parents get some well-deserved time out with a complimentary Night Owls babysitting service on an evening of their choice.
Book it: Carnival’s six-night Caribbean Cruise from Galveston to Galveston, $5,047 (£4,115), departing December 31.
What? The Sky Suite features the largest balcony at sea and is Princess Cruises’ first stateroom to sleep up to five.
Why? Families can spread out in the pair of two-bedroom two-bathroom on the newest addition to the Princess fleet, Sky Princess. Also available on Enchanted Princess and Discovery Princess, they have an expansive 1,000-square-foot continuous balcony with a 270-degree panorama over the sea and pool deck. Offering the best seat in the house for movies under the stars, youngsters can pick out their favourite film to be screened on one night – a perk for Sky Suite passengers.
Book it: Princess Cruises’ six-night Scandinavia cruise from Southampton to Southampton, £3,316, departing August 13.
What? Children can get close to all the action in NCL’s family inside cabin that’s an affordable option.
Why? When there’s round-the-clock entertainment for adults and children who are out and about for most of the day, an inside cabin is a great value-for-money option. The family interior cabins on Norwegian Getaway can be found on deck 12, 13 and 14 and are ideally placed to reach the Splash Academy kids’ club on deck 13. They have two lower beds that can also convert to a queen-size double and two pull-down beds for youngsters.
Book it: NCL’s six-night Caribbean: Great Stirrup Cay & Dominican Republic cruise from Port Canaveral to Port Canaveral, £2,192, departing October 22.
*Prices shown for a family of four