Top 5 Best Cruise Lines for Kids: A Comprehensive Guide for Families

A family vacation should be a magical and memorable experience for all. With this guide to the top 5 best cruise lines for kids, you’ll discover a world of excitement, adventure, and enchantment on the high seas. We’ll explore the family-friendly entertainment, amenities, and dining options each cruise line has to offer, showcasing activities and offerings designed specifically for kids. We also discuss destinations and the value of each cruise line, as well as how to book the perfect family-friendly cruise. Get ready to set sail and create lasting memories with our ultimate guide to the best cruise lines for kids, ensuring you find the perfect fit for your family’s needs.

Don’t miss the chance to embark on a dream cruise with The Vacationeer, your trusted cruise vacation expert! If you need assistance or have questions, their experienced team is ready to help at no cost. With excellent reviews and a wealth of knowledge, they will help you find the best cruise line for kids within your budget. Contact The Vacationeer today for a no-obligation quote, and let them guide you to an unforgettable family cruise experience.

1. Disney Cruise Line

Image © Disney

Set sail on a magical family adventure with Disney Cruise Line, ranked as the best cruise line for kids. Our top pick for families offers a memorable and unique experience for children of all ages. With a fleet of five cruise shipsDisney Dream, Disney Fantasy, Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, and the newest addition, Disney Wish – Disney Cruise Line provides an unparalleled magical atmosphere that is truly unmatched in the industry.

Youth Clubs and Entertainment:

Disney Cruise Line’s Youth Clubs provide an outstanding vacation experience for families, catering to children of all ages through a variety of engaging clubs.

DCL Oceaneer Club

One of the many onboard adventures for younger travelers at Disney Cruise Line’s Oceaneer Club | Image © Disney

Here’s a quick overview of the Youth Clubs available:

  • Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab: Tailored for kids aged 3-10, these spaces boast themed play areas, games, and supervised activities to spark young imaginations.
  • Edge: Designed for tweens aged 11-14, this club offers a cozy lounge with flat-screen monitors for entertainment and relaxation.
  • Vibe: Catering to teenagers aged 14-17, Vibe is a stylish lounge equipped with video games, music, and movies to keep them engaged and entertained.
  • The Hideaway: Exclusive to the Disney Wish, this club presents a dance floor, an LED screen, a drink bar, and nostalgic Disney murals, making it the perfect spot for Gen Z guests to socialize, unwind, listen to music, and enjoy karaoke.

There’s also a nursery service called “It’s a Small World” for younger children (6 months to 3 years of age), available for an extra cost.

DCL it's a small world nursery

There’s lots for little ones to explore at Disney Cruise Line’s it’s a small world nursery | Image © Disney

Youth Clubs are a great way for children to make new friends while their parents can relax and participate in adult activities. With exciting and age-appropriate activities, they’re ideal for children, tweens, and teens looking for a fun-filled vacation.

In addition to these Youth Clubs, Disney Cruise Line offers sports and recreation activities that cater to different age groups. Each ship features Disney-themed shows, character meet-and-greets, and Disney movies throughout the day and evening, ensuring a captivating experience for the whole family.


Disney Cruise Line, renowned for offering the best cruise experiences for kids and families, provides a wide range of stateroom options to cater to various preferences and budgets. Onboard their magnificent ships, you’ll find an assortment of staterooms, including the standard Inside Staterooms, Oceanview Staterooms with picturesque portholes, and Verandah Staterooms, which boast private balconies for breathtaking ocean views. Additionally, the luxurious Concierge-level suites provide unparalleled amenities and personalized services, ensuring an unforgettable cruising experience.

A large porthole window looking onto the ocean from a Disney cruise stateroom

Image © Disney

Each stateroom is thoughtfully designed with families in mind, featuring whimsical Disney-themed décor, ample storage space, and family-friendly amenities. Combining comfort and entertainment, Disney Cruise Line’s staterooms provide the perfect haven for families seeking magical adventures at sea.

All ships have multiple pools, including one specifically designed for kids with a Mickey Mouse-shaped splash zone. Thrilling water coasters, like the AquaDuck and AquaDunk, provide exhilarating fun for older kids and adults.


A wide variety of dining options on Disney cruise ships are available for families, including rotational dining at themed restaurants, casual buffets, and quick service options. Character meals are even offered at some venues. Kids’ menus are available at all restaurants, and most dietary needs can be accommodated, ensuring a convenient and enjoyable dining experience.

Disney Cruise Line excels at addressing the needs of picky eaters and children with allergies. Their ever-changing kids’ menus and willingness to accommodate specific requests help make mealtimes less stressful. Staff members adeptly handle allergies by working closely with chefs to meet all dietary requirements, and the chef is available for personal consultations if needed. The same staff follows you to each restaurant, streamlining the dining experience.

The atmosphere aboard Disney Cruise Line is perfect for kids, with lively and engaging environments at each dining venue. Dining on Disney Cruise Line is enjoyable for everyone, regardless of age or taste preference. Despite the crowded and noisy dining rooms, children thrive in these lively settings, allowing parents to relax and enjoy their meals.

Departures and Destinations:

Disney Cruise Line offers excellent itineraries to suit all families, with convenient departures from various parts of the US, including Port Canaveral, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, San Diego, Galveston, New York, and New Orleans. Some sail to Alaska and Hawaii, while others embark on European Disney cruise adventures. Cruise-goers can also look forward to Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, and the upcoming Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point, set to open in 2024, providing even more exciting destinations for families to explore.

Disney Cruise Line offers a magical and unforgettable experience for kids and families alike, with itineraries spanning the globe. Their ships transport guests to stunning destinations such as the Bahamas, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, and Europe. The Bahamian and Caribbean cruises, with their shorter durations, are especially popular for those seeking a tropical getaway. Meanwhile, Alaskan cruises showcase breathtaking natural scenery, and European cruises provide a taste of diverse cultures and history. No matter the destination, Disney Cruise Line ensures a memorable vacation that caters to the needs and interests of every family member, solidifying its reputation as the best cruise line for kids.

Value and Savings:

Nearly everything is included in the price of a Disney cruise, making it a great value and a convenient choice for families. There are also plenty of ways to save money, ensuring your dream Disney vacation is within reach.

With Disney Cruise Line, families can experience enchanting entertainment, fantastic amenities, and delightful dining options while exploring a variety of destinations. Set sail for a truly magical family vacation that will create cherished memories for years to come.

Discover Why Disney Cruise Line Is the Best Cruise Line for Kids

Discover the magic of Disney at sea by reaching out to The Vacationeer today. Their expert Disney travel agents are ready to answer your questions, offer valuable advice, and assist you in choosing the perfect itinerary at the best price.

Plus, when you book your Disney Cruise Line vacation with them, you can receive up to $1000 in Disney onboard credit, giving you extra spending money for those things not included in the standard cruise package. With their planning services being entirely free, you have nothing to lose!

For more information, reach out to The Vacationeer and learn about their generous onboard credit.

2. Royal Caribbean International

A nighttime view of Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas cruise ship, with multicolored lights glowing throughout the ship

Image © Royal Caribbean International

Ranked as the runner-up on our list of Best Cruise Lines for Kids, Royal Caribbean International guarantees a memorable cruise experience for families. This popular choice among family travelers provides a wide array of activities and amenities designed to keep children engaged throughout their voyage. Boasting an impressive fleet of 27 ships, each vessel features unique attractions tailored to different age groups, ensuring an enjoyable voyage for everyone on board.

Youth Clubs and Entertainment:

The Adventure Ocean program offers a variety of supervised activities for kids aged 3-17. With age-appropriate clubs and play spaces, children can engage in crafts, games, and science experiments, keeping their minds stimulated and their spirits high. Teens have their own space, as well as a dedicated spa for treatments designed specifically for them.

Royal Caribbean ships are packed with thrilling activities like rock climbing walls, ice-skating rinks, escape rooms, and even bumper cars, offering excitement for kids and adults. The ships also showcase fantastic water attractions, such as the Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea. With a range of engaging entertainment, kids’ clubs, and countless activities, Royal Caribbean provides an exhilarating experience for children, older kids, and parents alike.


Royal Caribbean features four stateroom categories, including family-friendly options to cater to various preferences. Interior rooms offer budget-friendly choices, some with virtual balconies, while Outside staterooms provide a window or porthole. Balcony staterooms include a personal veranda, and Suites/Deluxe accommodations deliver the ultimate luxury.

Family-friendly accommodations range from spacious suites to interior staterooms, with connecting rooms for larger families and additional sleeping spaces for children on many ships. Royal Caribbean ships also dazzle guests with their impressive pools and water features, including thrilling waterslides, splash zones, and flowriders, providing endless fun and excitement for the whole family.


Dining with kids on Royal Caribbean is a breeze, thanks to a wide variety of options designed to cater to even the pickiest eaters. Kids’ menus are available from the main dining room, casual buffets, and specialty restaurants, and most dietary restrictions can be accommodated.

A young child excitedly peeks over the counter of a buffet to view a plate of food

Image © Royal Caribbean International

The popular Johnny Rockets restaurant serves classic American fare that kids love, while the Windjammer restaurant serves simple, customizable dishes. Kid-friendly favorites can be found at The Dog House and Sorrento’s Pizzeria, while in El Loco Fresh, you can order a customized meal in a relaxed setting. Royal Caribbean’s menu offers so many delicious options that mealtime is a delightful experience for kids (and everyone else).

Departures and Destinations:

Royal Caribbean offers an extensive array of destinations and departures, ensuring families can find the perfect cruise experience tailored to their interests. Much like Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean sails to popular locations such as the Caribbean, Bahamas, Alaska, Mediterranean, and European destinations, as well as more exotic locales like Hawaii, Greece, Mexico, and Asia.

Convenient departure ports are available across the United States, including Miami, Galveston, New York, Baltimore, Orlando, and Los Angeles, as well as international ports like Barcelona, Rome, and Singapore. With a diverse selection of itineraries and easily accessible departure points, Royal Caribbean makes it simple for families to embark on unforgettable adventures.

Value and Savings:

Royal Caribbean stands out as one of the best cruise lines for kids, offering exceptional value and savings to families with kids. With various family-friendly activities, entertainment, and dining options included in the cruise fare, Royal Caribbean offers guests an all-inclusive experience at an affordable price.

Discover Why Royal Caribbean Is One of the Best Cruise Lines for Kids

Although The Vacationeer‘s onboard credit is typically exclusive to Disney Cruise Line, your Vacationeer is still very well-equipped to assist with Royal Caribbean cruises and find you the most suitable package at unbeatable prices. Their team can answer your questions, help you select an itinerary, and coordinate all your travel needs. As a member of the Travel Leaders Network, The Vacationeer has access to exclusive discounted rates not available to the public, potentially securing an outstanding deal for your family-friendly adventure.

The Vacationeer‘s services are completely free, so consider reaching out for a no-obligation price quote today. Their expertise ensures your Royal Caribbean vacation is both enjoyable and budget-friendly.

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3. Norwegian Cruise Line

The Norwegian Prima in port

Image © Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings

Experience the freedom and flexibility of cruising with Norwegian Cruise Line, a top choice for families looking to enjoy a relaxed, fun-filled vacation. With a fleet of 17 ships, Norwegian Cruise Line offers a wide range of amenities and activities tailored to families, creating a personalized and unforgettable experience for all ages.

Youth Clubs and Entertainment:

The Splash Academy and Entourage youth programs cater to kids aged 3-17, providing age-appropriate activities and dedicated spaces for them to enjoy. Younger kids can participate in arts and crafts, games, and treasure hunts, while teenagers can socialize and unwind in their exclusive lounge. The ships also feature a variety of family-friendly activities, including mini-golf, ropes courses, sports courts, and thrilling water slides, ensuring endless fun for all.


Norwegian Cruise Line offers a diverse selection of family-friendly accommodations, from budget-friendly Inside and Oceanview staterooms to luxurious Suites and Penthouses. Larger family suites are available for up to 8 guests. With numerous options, families can find the perfect balance of comfort and value.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Aqua Park thrills kids with towering waterslides, swimming pools, splash parks, and hot tubs, featuring adrenaline-pumping attractions like the Free Fall on Breakaway Class ships and the 200-foot Epic Plunge, as well as the lively Kids’ Aqua Park for endless fun and excitement at the top deck.


Norwegian’s Freestyle Dining allows families the flexibility to choose when and where they want to eat, with a variety of restaurants and dining options available. Main dining rooms, buffets, and specialty restaurants offer kids’ menus and can accommodate most dietary restrictions. With options ranging from casual eateries to fine dining, there’s something to suit every taste and preference, providing an enjoyable dining experience for the whole family.

Departures and Destinations:

Norwegian Cruise Line offers a diverse range of destinations, including the Caribbean, Bahamas, Alaska, Mediterranean, and Europe, as well as more distant destinations like Hawaii, South America, and Asia. With a variety of itineraries and departure ports across the United States and internationally, families can embark on a memorable journey tailored to their interests and preferences.

Value and Savings:

Norwegian Cruise Line is well-known for its value, offering an all-inclusive experience at an affordable price. The cruise fare includes a variety of family-friendly activities, entertainment, and dining options, making it an excellent choice for families seeking a budget-friendly vacation. Additionally, Norwegian often runs promotions and offers, such as their “Free at Sea” program, which provides extra perks and savings to guests.

Experience the Best of Family Cruising with Norwegian Cruise Line

To embark on an unforgettable family vacation with Norwegian Cruise Line, contact The Vacationeer for expert advice and assistance. Their team can help you choose the perfect itinerary, find the best deals, and make all necessary travel arrangements. With their guidance, you can be confident that your Norwegian Cruise Line vacation will be enjoyable and cost-effective, creating lasting memories for your entire family.

4. Carnival Cruise Line

A nighttime view of the Carnival Mardi Gras cruise ship, with multicolored lights reflecting on the water

Image © Carnival Corporation

Known as the “Fun Ships,” Carnival Cruise Line is a top choice for families seeking an action-packed, budget-friendly vacation at sea. With a fleet of 24 ships, Carnival Cruise Line offers a wide range of activities and amenities designed to cater to families and create an unforgettable experience for guests of all ages.

Youth Clubs and Entertainment:

Carnival Cruise Line’s Youth Program caters to children and teens aged six months to 17 years, offering engaging, age-appropriate activities and entertainment. The Camp Ocean program is divided into specific age groups:

  • Penguins for ages 2-5
  • Stingrays for ages 6-8
  • Sharks for ages 9-11
  • Circle “C” for ages 12-14
  • Club O2 for ages 15-17.

These year-round, fleet-wide programs provide daily activities, supervised free play, and Night Owls services for children under 12.


Carnival Cruise Line offers a variety of family-friendly stateroom options, including Interior, Ocean View, Balcony, Suite, and specialty rooms like Family Harbor.

These accommodations provide comfort and convenience for families with kids, featuring cozy linens, ample storage, and in-room entertainment. Dedicated stateroom attendants ensure a comfortable stay, making it easy for families to feel at home while on their cruise adventure.

Carnival Cruise Line also entices guests with its captivating pools and water features, such as exhilarating waterslides, splash parks, and relaxing hot tubs, ensuring enjoyment for passengers of all ages.


Carnival Cruise Line provides a range of dining options to suit every taste and preference. From main dining rooms and casual buffets to specialty restaurants, kids’ menus are available, and most dietary restrictions can be accommodated. Popular eateries include Guy’s Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, and Seafood Shack, offering delicious and satisfying options for the entire family.

Departures and Destinations:

Carnival Cruise Line’s variety of destinations caters to a wide range of interests and preferences, making it one of the best cruise lines for families with kids. Destinations include the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico, Europe, Alaska, Hawaii, and beyond, with itineraries ranging from tropical getaways to adventurous explorations.

With numerous departure ports across the United States and internationally, families can embark on an unforgettable journey tailored to their desires, creating cherished memories together while exploring the world.

Value and Savings:

Carnival Cruise Line is well-known for its value, offering an all-inclusive experience at an affordable price. It’s a great choice for families seeking a budget-friendly vacation due to the variety of family-friendly activities, entertainment, and dining options available. Additionally, Carnival often runs promotions and offers, providing extra perks and savings to guests.

Experience the Fun of Carnival Cruise Line

For expert advice and assistance in planning a memorable family vacation with Carnival Cruise Line, contact The Vacationeer. Their team can assist you in selecting the right itinerary, finding the best deals, and making all necessary travel arrangements. With their guidance, you can be confident that your Carnival Cruise Line vacation will be enjoyable and cost-effective.

5. MSC Cruises

Aerial view of the MSC Euribia sailing in open water

Image © MSC Cruises S.A.

Discover a world of elegance, sophistication, and fun with MSC Cruises, an excellent choice for families seeking a blend of European charm and modern amenities. Boasting a fleet of 23 ships, MSC Cruises provides a variety of activities and amenities designed to meet the needs of active families. By catering to children, tweens, teens, and parents alike, MSC Cruises has established a stellar reputation as a family-oriented cruise line.

Youth Clubs and Entertainment:

With a perfect blend of family excursions, delectable dining, and captivating activities, MSC Cruises provides an ideal family vacation experience. The dedicated kids clubs are a highlight for families, as MSC Cruises offers five unique clubs catering to children aged 0-17:

  • Baby Club (0-3)
  • Mini Club (3-6)
  • Junior Club (7-11)
  • Young Club (12-14)
  • Teen Club (15-17)

Each club offers activities tailored to the interests of each age group, allowing families to customize their onboard experience. These dedicated spaces provide opportunities for children to engage in arts and crafts, games, themed parties, sports, and more, all overseen by trained, multilingual staff certified in child safeguarding to ensure a safe and enjoyable environment. It is a great opportunity for parents to enjoy some alone time while their children are having fun.


MSC Cruises offers a variety of family-friendly accommodations to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all. From spacious connecting staterooms to luxurious suites, there are options to suit every family’s needs.

For an elevated experience, the exclusive MSC Yacht Club provides high-end luxury with private venues and dedicated 24-hour butler service, ensuring a relaxing stay for parents. Children will enjoy interactive LCD TVs, and the entire family can indulge in the complimentary mini-bars and goodnight chocolates by Venchi.

Additionally, MSC Cruises ships are equipped with family-friendly amenities, including waterslides, swimming pools, 4D cinemas, and sports courts, guaranteeing non-stop entertainment for everyone.


MSC Cruises takes special care in creating enjoyable dining experiences for their younger guests, offering a diverse range of children’s dining options. Featuring both Mediterranean and international cuisine, kids have their own dedicated menus filled with delicious and nutritious meals. The cruise line also offers entertaining dining experiences, such as Happy Dinners and Fun Time Dinners, ensuring that mealtimes are engaging and enjoyable for the entire family.

In addition to the standard dining options, MSC Cruises also provides specialty restaurant options for children, accommodating special dietary needs to ensure that every young guest has a satisfying and delightful dining experience on board.

Departures and Destinations:

MSC Cruises offers a diverse range of destinations, including the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Northern Europe, South America, Asia, and even World Cruises. Families can embark on a memorable journey tailored to their interests and preferences with various itineraries and departure ports across the United States, Europe, and internationally.

Value and Savings:

MSC Cruises is known for its value, offering an all-inclusive experience at an affordable price. The cruise fare includes a variety of entertainment, dining options, and family-friendly activities, ideal for families on a budget. Additionally, MSC often runs promotions and offers, providing extra perks and savings to guests.

Experience the Elegance of MSC Cruises

Embark on a memorable family vacation with MSC Cruises by enlisting the expertise of The Vacationeer. Their knowledgeable team will assist you in crafting the perfect itinerary, securing the most competitive deals, and managing all essential travel arrangements. With their guidance, you can ensure a delightful and budget-friendly MSC Cruises experience, creating cherished memories for your whole family.

In Conclusion: Best Cruise Line for Kids

Choosing the right cruise line for your family can make a huge difference in your vacation experience. As outlined above, Disney Cruise Line is the best cruise line for kids, providing unparalleled magic and enchantment.

Royal Caribbean follows closely with its impressive array of activities and entertainment options for the entire family. Both cruise lines prioritize creating unforgettable experiences by catering to families with children through distinctive activities, amenities, and dining options.

Rounding out the top 5, Norwegian, Carnival, and MSC Cruises are all worthy of your consideration.

Ultimately, the decision will come down to your desired destination, personal preferences, and budget. It’s advisable to consult with an experienced travel agent who can help you compare your options and pricing, ensuring you make the best choice for your family’s unique needs and expectations.

Check out our Disney Cruise vs. Royal Caribbean Cruise, Disney Cruise vs. Carnival Cruise, Disney Cruise vs. Princess Cruise, and Disney Cruise vs. Norwegian Cruise pages to see how these cruise lines compare.

Book Your Family-Friendly Cruise Line Vacation

For expert guidance in planning your next family cruise, turn to The Vacationeer. Their team can help you choose the perfect itinerary, find the best deals, and handle all travel arrangements. Plus, when booking a Disney cruise with The Vacationeer, you can receive up to $1000 in onboard credit, essentially providing free money for extra expenses during your cruise. This amazing offer exemplifies The Vacationeer‘s commitment to making your family cruise vacation enjoyable, memorable, and cost-effective.

With their expertise and personalized touch, The Vacationeer can assist you in finding the perfect cruise experience for your family, whether you prefer the magic of Disney Cruise Line on your first cruise, the endless activities offered by Royal Caribbean, or another of the top five cruise lines listed above.

You’ll have one dedicated Vacationeer to help you handle your trip from start to finish, ensuring a hassle-free experience without the confusion of dealing with multiple agents. Trust their team to guide you through the process and create a cherished family cruise vacation.

Best of all, The Vacationeer‘s services are completely free. So why wait? Contact The Vacationeer now for a no-obligation quote and discover the best cruise line for kids!