As summer 2021 kicks into full swing, one thing on everyone’s minds: after a year of lockdowns and limited travel, when can I book my next holiday? This is especially true of families who are restricted to taking trips during school holidays. It can often be difficult to navigate the cruise options on offer for families, particularly when there is so much choice with incredible onboard activities and facilities catered towards kids. This is our list of the top 6 no-fly cruise lines for kids.

Royal Caribbean

Filled with onboard thrills and exciting cruise destinations, Royal Caribbean boast the “boldest ships at sea”. These award-winning ships are crammed with great facilities to keep kids entertained and provide them with unforgettable experiences. Sailing from Southampton, Anthem of the Seas (the only ship currently sailing from the UK) offers destinations such as the British Isles, Greek Isles, the Mediterranean, Cyprus, the Fjords and the Canaries. But the big question is: what do they have for kids? The answer? Lots!

From the RipCord by iFly (a sky diving simulator) to bumper cars and trapeze school, this ship has something for everyone, even teenagers with their teen only space to hang out and meet new people. Royal Caribbean offer Adventure Ocean, their specially tailored kids programme that runs till 10pm for kids aged 3-11 with Aquanauts for 3–5-year-olds, Explorers for 6–8-year-olds and Voyagers for 9–11-year-olds. These provide fun filled activities to keep the kids entertained with other children their own age. This coincides with the H20 Zone dedicated to families and features a wave pool, splash zone and lazy river pool. For those with older children, there are three main pools to enjoy. Moreover, Anthem of the Seas boasts 18 dining venues offering great choice, even for those fussy eaters. Her ultimate family suite, complete with private game room and in suite slide, provides the perfect venue for some private family time.

P&O Cruises

A British favourite, P&O never fails to disappoint and the same can be said about its family friendly cruises. Sailing from Southampton, her family friendly ships Azura, Britannia, Iona and Ventura offer destinations such as Amsterdam, the Mediterranean and the Baltic. Whilst offering these incredible destinations, she also boasts onboard fun for all the family, especially kids.

Built in 2015, Britannia offers the biggest and best facilities for children. These include their tailored kids programme the Reef Clubs with Splashers for those aged 2-4, Surfers for 3-8-year-olds, Scubas for those aged 9-12 and H20 for 13–17-year-olds. The Reef Clubs offer fun filled activities designed to cater to their specific age groups including the teens only deck and the enclosed splash zone intended for kids of all ages. Out with the kids club, Britannia also provides dazzling shows in the Headliners theatre including the family orientated show “Once Upon a Time”. There are also a vast number of great outdoor facilities tailored for families and kids including 2 main pools, a shallow paddling pool (for younger passengers), a plunge pool and sports courts. For those interested, there are even family classes at the Cookery Club.

Princess Cruises

Perhaps the most family inclusive cruise line on our list, Princess Cruises offer a cruise experience like no other. Sailing from Dover and Southampton, Princess’ fleet of five (sailing from the UK) offer destinations such as the Caribbean, Europe and the Canary Islands. The entire fleet is family friendly highlighting that when it comes to sailing with Princess with kids, the choices are endless.

Each ship offers a fantastic kids programme tailored specially with the Treehouse for kids aged 3-7, the Lodge for those aged 8-12 and the Beach House for 13-17-year-olds. There is even Club 1820, a secret society for 18-20-year-olds. Each kids club operates till 10pm and provides fun filled activities to keep the kids entertained including talent shows, themed nights and arts and crafts. For teens, the Beach House host parties, such as “Rock the Boat” Party and competitions such as video game tournaments, providing the teens the opportunity to hang out and meet new people. Princess Cruises also has a vast array of onboard entertainment for the whole family including “Voice of the Ocean”, “High Seas Heist” and “Rhythm of the Caribbean Night”, all of which offer an incredible experience. One unique attraction of Princess Cruises is that is hosts dinner exclusively for kids, giving them the chance to dine with their friends and without their parents but still supervised. Princess Cruises also offers great on deck facilities such as sports courts, pools and dance classes.

MSC Cruises

With 300 years at sea and more than 200 exciting destinations, the largest cruise line in Europe, MSC offers the “sea at its most”, teasing treasures that lay off the beaten path for a truly unique experience. This “sea at its most” focus even extends to the attractions for kids offering the “sea at its most playful”. Resuming in 2022 and sailing from Southampton, MSC Magnifica offers destinations such as Northern Europe, Amsterdam, Fjords, Baltic and the Mediterranean. MSC Virtuosa is currently offering UK sailings, she is a larger ship than MSC Magnifica and features even more fun and games onboard.

As a cruise line with a renowned reputation for knowing how to create the best at sea experiences for kids, MSC has loads on offer to keep the kids entertained. Specially tailored to children, the kids clubs provide hours of fun spent in sports tournaments, the video games room and on the waterslides. There is even a zip-line and Formula 1 simulator. Unique to MSC is the Lego Experience which happens once per cruise which consists of an entire day filled with Lego activities. MSC also offers “family excursions” at a rhythm that suits families courtesy of the family explorer guide.

Carnival

A cruise line like no other, choosing to sail with Carnival Cruises means choosing fun whilst maintaining a laidback atmosphere. This focus on fun means that Carnival Cruises is a cruise line that can truly provide something for all the family. Sailing from Dover, Carnival’s two family friendly no fly cruise options, Pride and Celebration, tease destinations such as Europe, Miami, UK, St Petersburg, Helsinki and Iceland. These iconic ships are packed with great facilities providing endless fun for kids.

Camp Ocean for 2-11-year-olds provides fun filled programmes to keep the kids entertained including arts and crafts, movies, video games and dancing. For teens, Club O2 offers the chance to hang out listening to music, playing sports and video games with a less structured programme, giving teens a bit more freedom. Alongside the kids programmes, Carnival boasts great onboard activities such as drive in movies, Zumbini and waterworks, the iconic onboard water park. For a fee, Carnival ships also offer Build a Bear Workshop at sea, Cherry on Top Candy Store, video arcade and Imax.

Disney Cruise Line

Sailing from Liverpool, Southampton, Newcastle and London Tilbury, Disney Cruises promises “magic at sea”. Catered for kids and families, Disney Cruises strives to make dreams come true in a way that only Disney can.

The only ship currently offering voyages sailing from UK ports is Disney Magic. These staycations around the UK tease a truly magical experience for kids. Filled with imaginative kids’ activities and fun family entertainment, Disney cruises provide endless fun for kids. The Disney’s Oceaneer Club immerses kids in a world of fantasy, storytelling and larger-than life playgrounds. Edge aimed at Tweens offers exclusive places to hang out with video games, computers and other high- tech equipment to keep them entertained. A teens only place, Vibe provides teens with a space to hang out, listen to music, play games and watch TV. The kids programme is tailored to each age range and offers great activities to keep kids entertained, but that’s not all there is on offer. For an extra charge, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique allows kids the opportunity to become a princess, knight or sea captain, the perfect accompaniment to Royal Court Royal Tea (also for an extra charge) provides kids the opportunity to have tea with their favourite characters. Disney Magic also boasts hours of water themed fun with Aqua Lab (a water playground), Goofy’s Pool (a freshwater pool) and AquaDunk (a three stories water slide). Disney Cruises also boast some of the best shows at sea for kids including Walt Disney Theatre, Frozen: A Musical Spectacular, Pirate Night and Marvel Day at Sea. Whatever you’re looking for, Disney Cruises has something for kids of all ages, providing a fun filled, unique experience at sea.

There is so much on offer for kids to have an unforgettable experience at sea. The only difficulty is which one of these fun filled options do you chose with all of them offering so much. Our list is a combination of ships sailing now and what vessels and itineraries would be offered in pre-Covid times. We’ve written it this way to give you a wider choice and to see what we hope will be normal again from 2022.

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