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The Ultimate Guide to Cruising with Kids

A cruise holiday is the perfect way to explore new and exciting places. But what happens when children come into the picture?

There’s a huge range of cruise lines that offer a wide range of activities and services perfect for your kids. On a cruise, there’s activities and food choices for everyone and your children are sure to be kept entertained. The key is to simply do your research and plan, plan plan!

Follow our top tips for enjoying a smooth sailing with your little ones.

Choose a cruise line that caters for children

The first step to cruising with kids is to go for a cruise line that caters for children.

Some of the best cruise lines for kids include:

Today a huge range of cruise lines positively cater for children and young adults, so make sure you do your research. When selecting the best child-friendly cruise for you, ensure that the cruise is a good match to your children’s’ age and interests and that it offers appropriate services for children.

Book a shorter cruise

Although your dream may be 3-weeks leisurely cruising around Hawaii, it may be better to play it safe if you’ve got the kids in tow, especially if this is their first cruise experience.

Instead it may be better to opt for a shorter cruise to test the waters. At Viva Cruise, we offer cruises of under 5 days which are better suited for a child’s first cruise. You may then find that they love it and opt for a longer cruise on your next holiday, or when they’re a little older.

Kids’ clubs

Cruise lines with kids’ clubs are great for everyone. Children love them; they get to make new friends and play all day, and the parents love them too; there’s nothing better than having some peace and quiet and getting the chance to relax on your holiday…

Kids’ clubs provide your children with days filled with fun. The activities put on for your kids can keep them engaged and entertained for hours on end, whether its sporting activities, arts and crafts or pool games.

As well as kids’ clubs, many cruise ships also offer childcare and nursery care options. This is great to take advantage of if you want a couple of hours of time out for a romantic dinner or to have a couple’s massage onboard.

The splash zone

When picking your cruise line, you may want to consider the pool and water park options they have on offer.

Pools and water parks provide hours of fun for all the family and are a great way to keep your kids entertained whilst aboard the ship.

Consider babies and toddlers

Although on a whole cruise lines can suitably cater for your children, remember babies and toddlers may be slightly more restrictive to your cruise experience.

First of all, the minimum age to sail on most cruise ships is 6 months. Some cruises may even have minimum age restrictions of 12 months so be sure to check these out if you have a young baby in tow.

Additionally, many kids’ clubs may have age restrictions too, with activities and programmes for children aged over 3 years old only.

However, do not be deterred! Some cruises offer play areas and playgroup sessions aimed at babies and toddlers, including Royal Caribbean. This cruise line even has a Late Night Party Zone! Therefore, when booking your cruise getaway, it’s important to do your research to find a cruise best suited for our youngest audience, and consider any added costs for extra services for babies and toddlers.

Kid-friendly food

The majority of cruise lines are easily able to cater for children; your kids are sure to find something they’ll like to eat. Some of the larger ships tend to have a kid’s menu with our childhood favourites: pizza, pasta and chicken nuggets. Buffets are also common amongst cruise ships, providing a huge variety of food to suit all ages.

Kid-friendly food is plentiful on most cruise lines so food should not be a problem. However, if your child has any dietary restrictions or if you need guidance on the food options available, be sure to contact your chosen cruise line in advance and speak to the staff on board so they can help to accommodate for your child’s needs.


Remember to pack efficiently for your children. Items such as sun cream and sunhats are important if you’re going to a sunny destination, whilst warm layers, hats, scarves and gloves are essential if you’re heading somewhere cold. Packing your children’s swimwear is also necessary to make the most of the ship’s pool and water park options, as well as books, colouring, toys and games to keep them entertained throughout the cruise.

Plan an onshore activity

To keep your kids entertained during your cruise, it’s a great idea to mix things up and have an onshore activity planned.

This gives your kids a change of scenery and guarantees a day of fun for all the family. If you have young children, it may be best to start with smaller excursions such as a beach trip, giving them the chance to play in the sea and sand. As your children get older, you can branch out to more adventurous excursions such as snorkelling, surfing and cycling.

Whatever age your children are, make sure you plan an activity that will appeal to and interest them.

Planning a cruise with your kids in tow? Keep in mind these top tips and check out our wide range of cruise destinations to start planning your cruise holiday. 


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