Cruising with kids

Cruising is becoming more and more popular with Australian families. And when you consider all the bells and whistles that ships include to tempt young cruisers, it’s not hard to see why. Adam Bishop has done the leg work so you can focus on selling: here are all the kid-friendly features of ships visiting Australia in 2018/19 season.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Ship — Norwegian Jewel

Norwegian Jewel is equipped with a wide range of entertainment for children of all ages.

The Splash Academy is a dedicated area for kids aged from six months to 12 years, with children divided into age-based activity groups to enjoy active games and arts and crafts.

Parents can also take advantage of group babysitting services for those aged three to 12, or the specialised “nursery at sea” service for the little ones aged six months to two-years-old.

Teenagers are taken care of with a variety of amenities catering to the whims of 13 to 18-year-olds. These entertainment offerings are all contained within Entourage, which combines a hangout lounge, as well as dance, game and party zone. Activities range from shooting hoops and dancing under the stars at the White Hot Party.

Royal Caribbean International

Ships — Ovation of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas

All of Royal Caribbean International’s ships that visit Australia feature the Adventure Ocean program onboard including a range of interactive, educational and fun activities for babies right through to teenage passengers. The broad categories for RCI’s kids’ clubs include:

  • Royal Babies (6-18 months) — Interactive classes with activities developed by early childhood experts.
  • Royal Tots (18-36 months) — Playground sessions furnished with activities and toys.
  • Aquanauts (three to five years) — A chance for kids to brush up on their science skills and play around with fun junior experiments.
  • Explorers (six to eight years) — Kids can enjoy themed parties, star in Adventure Theatre and create adventure art projects.
  • Voyagers (nine to 11 years) — Flexing the competitive muscle of kids through sports tournaments, video game showdowns and talent shows.
  • Teen (12-17 years) — Teenagers on board can hang out in a range of “teen-only” spaces hosted by teen focused staff with activities such as teen discos, karaoke parties, open mic nights, and toga parties.

Holland America Line

Ships — Noordam and Amsterdam

While HAL doesn’t offer any specific amenities for children under the age of three (except for babysitting services), the cruise line does have plenty on offer for kids between three and 17 years-old. The kids’ program (Club HAL) is split up in to three main categories:

  • Kid Programs (three to six years) — Activities include painting, story time sing-alongs and treasure hunts. Theme parties are also thrown on such as “Dino-Might Night”.
  • Tweens Program (seven to 12 years) — Plenty of competitive play is on display here with ice cream eating contests and gaming tournaments held. For more educational experiences, BBC programming tailored specifically for kids is also available.
  • Teens Program (13-17) — Teenagers are well catered for with activities including mocktail making classes, trivia contests, jewellery design and hard-fought grudge matches between staff and teens playing volleyball.

Princess Cruises

Ships — Sun Princess, Majestic Princess, Golden Princess, Diamond Princess and Sea Princess

Princess Cruises differentiates itself in the market by placing a greater emphasis on the “edu-tainment” value of its kids’ facilities.

The cruise line boasts three major spaces on its ships for kids to enjoy:

  • The Treehouse (three to seven years) — This space is chock-full of hands-on activities that are set to the fun backdrop of a whimsical forest-themed play centre.
  • The Lodge (eight to 12 years) — A curated space inspired by the great outdoors that caters to the more active interests of kids including sporting activities and nooks and crannies to explore.
  • The Beach House (teens) — Engaging educational activities are on offer in The Beach House with fun animal games and Myth-Buster challenges. However more mainstream teenager activities are also available with ship-wide scavenger hunts, computer game tournaments, and hip-hop dance classes.

Carnival Cruise Line

Ships — Carnival Legend and Carnival Spirit

Children who are fans of the Dr. Seuss books will find themselves in literary heaven as Carnival’s partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises means ships are loaded with character parades and interactive stories. The kids’ clubs are divided into two major categories:

  • Camp Ocean (two to 11) — Younger children (two to five years) can join Carnival’s Penguin colony and have fun with some sea-themed activities such as Musical Icebergs and Ocean Bingo. Kids who are a little bit bigger (six to eight years), can enjoy a few more creative pursuits such as designing their own aquarium. The “big fish” (nine to 11 years) have the option of either playing some Marine Life Trivia or getting the lead out and playing some volleyball on deck.
  • Teenage entertainment is broken up into two age brackets, Circle C (12-14 years) offer younger teens activities like dance parties, games and watching outdoor movies. Teens hanging out at Club 02 (15-17 years) join a karaoke jam session or relax at a pool party.

Cruise Line — P&O Cruises

Ships — Pacific, Eden, Explorer, Aria and Dawn

P&O Cruises has four age-specific kids’ clubs available on board its ships:

  • Turtle Cove (two to six years) — The youngest passengers on board P&O’s ships can enjoy a range of toys and games in this fun space such as playing with Duplo and taking part in theme night and talent shows.
  • Shark Shack (seven to 10 years) — The area the company describes as “big bites of fun”, this club is home to scavenger hunts, jewellery making, dance lessons, and many fun LEGO activities.
  • HQ (11-14 years) — The ultimate chill zone features movie sessions, filmmaking lessons, and playing in their very own rock band.
  • HQ+ (15-17 years) — Leaving their younger siblings behind are the late teens who get to hang out at HQ+. This zone is supervised by youth staff who coordinate activities such as Stop Motion Pro high quality movie-making.