Cruising is at an all-time high, with many cruise companies offering awesome deals for family cruises. Consequently, choosing the best cruise ship for your next family vacation becomes overwhelming.
If you plan your next vacation to the Caribbean, you can narrow down your cruise ship options by setting a budget and understanding the different cruise lines in the region.
To make it even easier for you, here are 8 of the best Caribbean cruises for families.
Disney Cruise is a well-known family cruise for anyone looking for premium cruising services. It offers a kid-friendly atmosphere, whimsical amenities, and spacious rooms. It’s the best cruise line for adults who wish to reconnect with their childhood fantasies when sailing.
The cruise line ensures maximum customer satisfaction. In this case, they provide one crew member for every three passengers, regardless of the ship size. In addition, the cruise line offers adults-only pools, restaurants, traditional Italian food, and lounges.
Disney Cruise Family-Friendly Features
Disney Cruise Line offers the opportunity to experience the Disney magic on an ocean voyage and tropical beaches. Some family-friendly features to enjoy on your Caribbean vacation with Disney Cruises include:
- Luxurious staterooms- Disney Cruises offer spacious accommodations that feature storage space and separate bathrooms that allow your family to get ready at once. Depending on your budget, you can choose a stateroom with a private verandah.
- Pools and water fun- your kids get an opportunity to enjoy quality time on the wild water coaster AquaDuck.
- Disney rotational dining- the cruise has a dedicated wait staff that learns and serves your preferred taste. In addition, they offer a bountiful buffet where you can get a casual meal and an innovative dining experience at the Animator’s Palate show.
- Tropical beaches- during your trip to the Caribbean Islands, you get a chance to visit Disney’s Private Island Castaway Cay, which is exclusive for Disney Cruise Line Guests. Here, you get access to a large family beach, splash stations, secluded adults-only beach, and lagoons. The tour includes beach chairs, umbrellas, and a buffet.
- Enjoy the magic of Disney- immediately you set your foot on the cruise ship, you become a part of a story that only Disney can create. Here, you’ll enjoy spectacular entertainment that includes quality shows that bring Disney storytelling to life.
Benefits of Using Disney Cruise
- The cabins are spacious.
- Non-alcoholic drinks and beverages and onboard entertainment are included in the cruise fare.
- Florida residents receive special rates.
- Disney Cruise has minimal onboard adult activities.
- Alcoholic drinks are not included in the cruise fare.
- Shore excursions incur additional charges.
If you’re looking for a family cruise ship to the Caribbean which offers a festive atmosphere and versatile entertainment options, Carnival Cruise is your best bet. Their trips range from two to 16 days, with at least one crew member for every three passengers.
Carnival Cruise Line offers plenty of fun onboard activities for both adults and kids. Once onboard, get ready to enjoy waterslides, casinos, sports courts, comedy acts, piano bars, and nightclubs.
In addition, they offer guests a variety of cuisines served in three-course meals. You can choose to enjoy your meals in the main dining room, the Lido deck buffet, or specialty restaurants. The latter serves everything from sushi to traditional Italian dishes.
Carnival Cruise Family-Friendly Features
Some of the features that make Carnival Cruise one of the best Caribbean cruises for families include:
- Waterworks- when using the Carnival Cruise Line, you don’t have to wait until you get off-board to enjoy water-based action. The cruise line includes an onboard water park that features rides that suit kids and fun-loving parents. In addition, there’s a PowerDrencher where you can enjoy family soaking and a Speedway Splash for the teens.
- Mini golf- if any member of your family is a golfing enthusiast, the cruise line has a mini-golf where you can enjoy a round or two. So what makes this onboard golfing experience exceptional? It comes with sea breezes, ocean views, and extra features such as a windmill and treasure chest.
- Dr. Seuss activities- Carnival Cruise offers Seuss at Sea, entertaining and engaging to members of all ages. For instance, the kids can participate in the magical and interactive Seuss-a-palooza storytime, where their favorite stories come to life.
- Camp Ocean- this activity allows kids to delve into marine life with ocean-themed settings and supervised activities. The activities divide according to age groups. For example, kids aged two to five interact with the penguins, six to eight with the stingrays, while nine to eleven interact with the sharks.
Benefits of Using Carnival Cruise
- Offers a variety of dining options
- They have an extensive selection of onboard activities
- They have numerous ships and itineraries to choose from
- Shore excursions attract extra fees
- You need to pay more for Wi-Fi services
- Larger cruise ships may feel too crowded
Celebrity Cruise Line is for anyone looking for an upscale design and innovative cuisine. With this cruise line, you have the freedom to choose a smaller cruise ship that accommodates 48 passengers only. Alternatively, you can board a large cruise ship that houses over 2,900 passengers. Both ship sizes offer exceptional customer service, with each boat carrying at least one crew member for every two passengers.
Celebrity Cruise Family-Friendly Features
This cruise line plies waters all over the globe and offers numerous onboard activities to passengers of all ages. Some of its family-friendly features include:
- Kids programs- Celebrity cruise ships offer numerous kids programs that are supervised by experienced staff. The activities are tailored for specific ages, including toddler time, Fun Factory, and X Club. They also get to enjoy movies, games, and sports, among other activities.
- Camp at sea- during your voyage, Celebrity Cruise offers exciting, entertaining, inspiring, and engaging activities to all family members. In addition, they introduce you to the culture, history, and flavors of all the Caribbean Islands you visit.
- Autism-friendly ships- with Celebrity Cruises, you no longer have to avoid going on a voyage because you have an autistic child. This cruise line has Autism Friendly Certification that allows them to have kids with autism onboard.
Benefits of Using of Celebrity Cruise
- You get access to exclusive events and rewards when you enroll in the cruise line’s reward program.
- They have cost-saving packages for specialty restaurants
- They have a wide range of activities for kids and teens
- Cruise fare doesn’t include shore excursions
- If you need an unlimited supply of soft and alcoholic drinks, you must purchase a beverage package.
Royal Caribbean Cruise
Royal Caribbean is one of the best cruise choices when planning a family vacation and looking for a cruise that caters to different ages and preferences. Each of their ships is packed with palette-pleasing dining options, a wide range of activities for all ages, and entertainment.
With Royal Caribbean, you get an opportunity to explore different cultures while sunbathing and dipping your toes in turquoise waters. With their stress-free flexibility, you’re already into an incredible family vacation to the Caribbean.
Features Making Royal Caribbean One of the Best Caribbean Cruises for Families
Royal Caribbean ships depart from ports all over the country and numerous international airports. Their itineraries range from two to 19 nights. During these voyages, you get to enjoy a wide range of family-friendly features, which include:
- Onboard thrills- the cruise line offers a wide range of onboard activities that make your trip unforgettable even before reaching your destination. Most of these activities are easy to plan and are designed with your family’s interest in mind. In addition, each of these activities is tended by staff, allowing you total focus on these life-changing moments. Some of these outstanding activities include; rock climbing, roller skating, ice skating on ice rinks, bumper cars, and circus.
- Sight of beautiful shores- sailing to brand new places and the thrill of viewing new lands from a stunning perspective is an experience like no other. A voyage to the western or easter Caribbean gives you a glimpse of magnificent and ancient ports such as Puerto Rico and El Morro in San Juan. The Royal Caribbean Cruise stops over at these Islands to allow you to dive headfirst to some of the most family-friendly adventures. Here you can enjoy Jeep adventuring through the pines in the Bahamas or warm water diving in Belize. And if you are a family of reggae fanatics, you can listen to reggae beats in Jamaica when climbing Mt.Zion.
- A taste of the delicious sea and land cuisine- Royal Caribbean cruise is a haven for the gourmet of all ages. While onboard, you can taste food from world-renowned restaurants where you can savor family-pleasers and traditional homemade dishes. And when you reach your destination, get an opportunity to enjoy the cuisine of the place.
Benefits of Royal Caribbean Cruise
- They have numerous ships and plenty of destinations to choose from
- Offer a variety of onboard dining options
- Have a wide range of onboard activities suitable for all ages
- The cruise rates don’t cover all amenities
- You need to pay extra for some beverages
If you are looking for a personalized and family-friendly voyage, Princess Cruises is your best option. The cruise line has a fleet of 18 midsize and large boats that depart various US ports to multiple destinations, including the Caribbean. In addition, it offers enriching onboard activities and has at least one crew member for every two or three passengers.
Princess Cruises Family-Friendly Features
The cruise line ships are technology-based, a feature that minimizes physical contact. In addition, Princess Cruises offer a wide range of services that make your family sea voyage memorable. These include:
- Voyage to the stars- with the Princess Cruise voyage, each member of your family can find a place among the stars. The cruise line has top-deck stargazing to view the planets, stars, and galaxies in real-time. In addition, they offer stateroom content, Camp Discovery activities, and Discovery at Sea, which experts guide.
- Animal planets- the cruise line allows local animals onboard where you get to meet and greet animals such as Parrots in the Piazza.
- Live theatre- the Princess exclusive offers Broadway-caliber stage shows from Steven Schwartz. The shows from this award-winning composer bring everyone together. In addition, the cruise provides The Voice of the Ocean, whereby each person on the cruise gets an opportunity to participate.
- Family dining options- while on your voyage to the Caribbean, the Princess Cruises allows you to have family dinners. Take the opportunity to try traditional foods from different parts of the world. In addition, the cruise has a special kids menu and provides your dietary preferences upon request.
Benefits of Princess Cruises
- Offers a variety of culinary options
- Has a Me tool that allows you to plan travel plans together as a
- The cruise is wheelchair accessible
- Shore excursions incur extra cost
- Cruise rates don’t cover some onboard amenities
Holland America Line
If you are an affluent family and wish to voyage to the Caribbean, the Holland America Line is your best choice. Their ships leave the US cities to their destinations and can take anywhere from one to 128 days. During your time on the cruise, you get to enjoy plenty of activities ranging from mixology workshops, digital photography, and cooking demonstrations.
They have a ship buffet, Lido Market, which offers plenty of dishes in an easy-to-navigate setting. In addition, their food is of top quality and each family member is guaranteed to get something they like. The cruise’s public spaces are clean, inviting, and functional, ensuring your comfortable stay throughout the voyage.
Holland America Line Family-Friendly Features
In addition to their well-established reputation, Holland America Line offers several family-friendly features. These include:
- Club HAL- Holland America Line has a kid’s club which runs on a pre-planned schedule. During club time, the kids get to enjoy a lot of games and attention from the staff. The club involves kids (3-17), with the facility being divided into colorful rooms to hold different groups. Kids (3-6) go into pirate treasure hunts, crafting with their hands and minds, storytelling, and not-so-late night parties. From age 7 to 12, they enroll in Xbox tournaments, video games, scavenger hunts, and disco parties. Finally, teenagers (13 -17) get their fair share of activities, including hip hop classes, mocktail making classes, one vs one scavenger hunts, and nightclub parties.
- Onboard activities and entertainment- the cruise ship includes outdoor and indoor pools where you can have fun in the water. They also offer other activities, including basketball, BINGO, shuffleboard, and cooking classes.
- Stateroom- the cruise line offers spacious rooms with private verandahs and separate rooms for the kids. In addition, they have ample storage space and a bathtub that will meet your family’s expectations.
Benefits of Holland America Line
- Give priority to kids and teen programs.
- They have small guest capacities, which make the cruise feel spacious
- Their prices are higher than the Royal Caribbean and the Carnival cruises
- Wi-Fi will cost you extra
- They have limited onboard activities compared to bigger cruises
Norwegian Cruise Line
The Norwegian Cruise Line has a long reputation for being one of the best Caribbean cruises for families and active adults. The cruise line combines action and high-energy activities with top-quality entertainment. In addition, it’s known as the cruise line that brought an end to the rigid dining schedules and dress codes.
Norwegian Cruise Line Family-Friendly Features
The cruise line allows its passengers to dine in their specialty restaurants or the main dining hall. In addition, they have large suites to fit your family comfortably. In addition, the cruise’s other family-friendly features include:
- Entertainment- the cruise ships have plenty of production shows and events hosted by highly trained and talented performers. Every night on the cruise, you enjoy stand-up comedy, which is fun, fresh, and brings you laughter every night. In addition, they have lively dancers for anyone who doesn’t enjoy sit-down entertainment.
- Onboard activities- the cruise ship has an array of onboard activities arranged with each family member in mind. These include award-winning casinos, state-of-the-art fitness centers, epic water parks, and shore excursions. If you take your Caribbean voyage using the newest ship in the fleet, you get an opportunity to access a virtual reality wonderland at Galaxy Pavillion. The kids get a full program of activities, all of which are divided into age groups. These include Splash Academy, Guppies Program, and Entourage centers for the youths to make friends and have an enjoyable time during the cruise.
Benefits of Norwegian Cruise Line
- They have a variety of onboard restaurants
- They don’t have a fixed dress code
- The dining venues and theatres have long lines at some times
- The cruise rates don’t include some of the onboard activities
MSC Cruise Line
This cruise line sets itself apart from the competitors with its refined onboard activities. The cruise line ships carry between 1984 to 6300 passengers with at least one crew member for every three members. In addition, the cruise line has a reputation of having a sophisticated ambiance and a variety of globally inspired cuisines.
MSC Cruise Line Family-Friendly Features
In addition to taking you to exotic beaches and ports in the Caribbean, the MSC cruise line has other family-friendly features that make it one of the best Caribbean cruises for families. These include:
- Water parks- MSC cruises have Aqua Park with water slides and splash zones where the kids can spend their days. In addition, they have onboard pools where you can have a great time as a family.
- Kids clubs- the cruise line has unique programs and services to cater to kids of all ages. Kids of different ages can engage in supervised activities to spend the entire or half the day.
- Outdoor and indoor fun- no matter how many days your voyage is, the cruise line ensures you enjoy every bit of it with its numerous indoor and outdoor activities. They have sports activities which include; basketball, table tennis, bowling, and mini-golf, among others. And if your family is not up for water fun or sports, the cruise line has a video game arcade, formula one car stimulators, and 4D cinema.
- Family cabins and dining- The cruise line offers family cabins and dining to help you bond as a family. The cabins costs are per room and not per person. The main restaurants in the fleets have a delicacy even for the pickiest eaters. They offer buffets with a kid’s corner, with some including menus for the infants.
Benefits of MSC Cruise Line
- Offers free sails to kids aged 11 years and below
- It’s appealing to European and US travelers
- Shore excursions incur extra cost
- The cruise fare doesn’t include soft and alcoholic drinks
Popular Ports of Call on Caribbean Family Cruises
Now that you know some of the best Caribbean cruises and the features each offers, you may be wondering where family Caribbean cruises go. Well, here is a list of popular ports of call on Caribbean family cruises:
Western Caribbean Cruises
At this destination, your family will have a great time in popular ports, including:
- Key West Florida
- Dominican Republic
- Grand Cayman
- Jamaica, and
- Various stops in Mexico
Eastern Caribbean Cruises
During this family cruise, you will visit places such as:
- Puerto Rico
- Grand Turk
- St. Thomas
- Grand Cayman
- Nassau in the Bahamas
Although located in the North Atlantic, making it a British territory, the region is in most Caribbean family cruises. A visit to the area gives you access to pink sand beaches, tea parties, and historic forts.
Southern Caribbean/ Exotic Sailing
If you want a less tourist vacation but more adventure and exploration, you should get an itinerary to the Southern Caribbean. In this family cruise, you will visit places such as:
- Grand Cayman
- Costa Rica
- St. Lucia
Hopefully, this guide helps you choose the best Caribbean cruise for your family and the best destination, depending on your preferences.
More about our TFVG Author
Karly is a The Family Vacation Guide guest travel contributor.