Family cruises: our edit of the best cruise lines for kids

These child-friendly lines tick all the boxes for a family cruise holiday

Star Clippers

Family cruise activities on Star Clippers

A week sailing around the Greek Islands on a Tall Ship Cruise with Star Clippers is ideal for a family cruise. Activities including sea kayaking, quiz nights and climbing the rigging to the crow’s nest ensure there’s never a dull moment.

Youngsters can also keep their eyes peeled for any passing school of dolphins.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Family cruise facilities including mini golf on Norwegian Cruise Line


It’ll be a battle getting little ones onto dry land after experiencing the onboard entertainment offered by Norwegian Cruise Line. Child-friendly facilities include aqua racer slides, mini golf, an onboard speedway and virtual reality playground.

The line’s Haven Suites are great for families wanting a bit of peace amid the big-ship bustle; they even include a butler service and an exclusive pool.

Come evening (10:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m) children can have supervised play in the Late Night Fun Zone for a small charge. Children can enjoy ball pits, climbing bridges and more, while mum and dad get some much needed alone time.

MSC Cruises

Family cruise facilities on an MSC ship

MSC Cruises offers a number of kids clubs for children of varying ages, including teens, to stave off boredom. There’s also a host of onboard facilities that children will love, including elaborate waterworlds, video game rooms and bowling alleys. (Note that facilities vary from ship to ship.)

Meanwhile, the Yacht Club package (available on select ships) gives access to private areas including a restaurant, pool and deck, so adults can relax in peace while teens roam free.


Family cruise on a Hurtigruten ship

Hurtigruten‘s free Young Explorers’ Programme offers on-board activities centred on topics such as nature, climate and culture. Open to children aged 6-12, the programme is available on many of the company’s ships, including the new MS Roald Amundsen.

Featuring innovative sustainable technology, the hybrid vessel has an on-board Science Centre and infinity pool – just some of the amazing facilities children can enjoy.

Holland America

Holland America Line’s youth activities programme, Club HAL, is available on all of its ships (with the exclusion of MS Maasdam). It offers a fully supervised entertainment programme for children aged three to 17. Activities include scavenger hunts, challenging team games, sports, arts and crafts and more.

Nieuw Statendam and Koningsdam ships also feature dedicated family staterooms. These come complete with beds for five guests, extra closet space and two bathrooms.

P&O Cruises Family cruise with P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises cater for children aged two to 17 with their extensive children’s club options. Activities vary from ship-to-ship but can include computer games, soft play and lots of books, movies and toys to enjoy.

Family-friendly cruise ships include the Ventura – complete with a spectacular two-deck theatre – and the Britannia, where children aged 16+ can join in with family cooking classes.

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