There’s nothing more exciting than planning the perfect family vacation. Finding a destination that everyone’s happy with and activities that everyone can enjoy is exciting but can be tedious. That’s what makes cruises so attractive!
Everything you could ever want in a vacation is at your fingertips, and there’s something for everyone. With so many prominent cruise lines out there, finding one that is kid-friendly is essential. Norwegian Cruise Line is very kid-friendly! They’ve even been voted the Best Family Vacation by Travel Weekly.
Before you book, take a look at a handful of the activities and programs that are offered to kids under 18.
- Splash Academy
- Family Shore Excursions
- Onboard Family Activities
- Kid-Friendly Food Options
- Your Kid Can Meet Other Kids
- Norwegian Cruise Lines is Great for Kids
Onboard Norwegian Cruise Line ships are what they refer to as the Splash Academy. These are mostly complementary programs offered to sailors 17 years old and younger. The youth staff on board splits the kids up by age group to ensure each group is participating in age-appropriate activities.
Programs for Six Months to Three Years and Younger
Even the youngest sailors have programs where they can enjoy a variety of activities. Affectionately known as Guppies on board, this age ground is for children as young as six months old to three years old.
There are two parts to the Guppies program. One is where at least one parent or guardian must be present. You can participate in sensory play, music and movement activities, and more with your little one.
Only on the Norwegian Escape, you’ll find the Guppy Nursery. This is a fee-based service where qualified staff will take care of your baby or toddler while you’re off at dinner, a show, or elsewhere on the ship. You don’t need to be present for this service, and you can pick up your child when you’re ready to turn in for the night.
Programs for Three Years to 12 Years Old
Children aged three to five years old are part of the Turtle age group. These children can be dropped off at the Splash Academy and play throughout the day.
They have plenty of developmental activities to not only entertain but educate your children. They’ll also do arts and crafts, storytelling, participate in parades and circus school.
Six to nine-year-olds are known as seals when on board. Their programs are always monitored. This is the same with children younger than them and requires a parent to sign them in and out.
The seals get to learn all about circus life, including juggling, plate spinning, and more. They can also paint, play sports, engage in team-building exercises, play video games, and there are several theme nights throughout the duration of the cruise.
Next up are the dolphins, which are for kids ten to 12 years old. Your children in this age group will participate in many of the same activities that the six to nine-year-olds get to do. They have more engaging nights, and they even get to take over the teen club one night which is always popular.
Programs for 13-Year-Olds to 17-Year-Olds
For your teenagers, Norwegian Cruise Lines offers their Entourage program. This specific area is for teens only and has plenty of video games, movies, music, art, and a safe and cool place for them to hang out and make new friends their age.
There’s even a teen club where they can dance and sing the night away. This area of the ship is used as a hangout spot. This means that not every activity will be supervised by in-person staff.
Some events are, but they’re all being monitored via surveillance cameras even when staff isn’t physically present. Teenagers love the freedom to come and go as they please, but as a parent, you can rest assured they’re safe at the same time.
Late Night /Port Play
For your children under 13 years old, the late-night and port play options are something you may want to take advantage of at least once. If there’s an onshore excursion you and your partner want to do that’s not kid-friendly, you can arrange to have your kid with youth staff on board while you explore.
You can arrange for your kids to be with youth staff for those late-night dance parties or date nights. There are fees associated with these services, but you can find out more about that onboard or on the website.
Family Shore Excursions
There are plenty of activities for your kids to participate in without you. That being said, it wouldn’t be a family vacation without spending some time together. If you’re looking for things to do as a family, you’re in luck.
Whether you’re docked in The Bahamas, Hawaii, any port on the Mediterranean, or anywhere else Norwegian Cruise Lines travels to; there are always family excursions you can do together.
One of the most popular excursions for families with older children is snorkeling. You can book these excursions on board before you arrive or decide the day of what you’re in the mood for. Even lying on the beach for a day can be a wonderful way to spend time with the entire family.
For the more adventurous families, you can go ziplining, swim with dolphins, or whale watching when in Alaska in some ports of call.
Onboard Family Activities
Even if you and your kids enjoy spending time doing your own thing on the cruise, there will be times when making memories as a family takes priority. When you’re cruising with Norwegian Cruise Lines, you’ll find that there are dozens of family-friendly activities on board.
One of the top activities families love to do together is spend time at the pool. The kids can swim and play while you watch from your chair, or you can take a dip in the water with them.
Besides laying poolside, you’ll find other activities you and the whole family can participate in throughout the day. There are often movies being shown in the theater as well as some family-friendly shows almost every evening.
Other fun activities include trivia, bingo, scavenger hunts, and more. On specific Norwegian Cruise Line ships, you can play laser tag and experience virtual reality. Some ships have mini-golf, bungee trampolines, sports decks, and other ways to spend time with the whole family.
Kid-Friendly Food Options
One of the biggest concerns when planning a family vacation with kids is worrying about what they’ll eat. It’s no secret that some kids tend to be picky eaters. When cruising with Norwegian Cruise Lines, you’ll have plenty of kid-friendly food options while onboard.
The biggest hit for kids is the 24/7 buffet. The buffets have everything you could want, from salads, chicken nuggets, French fries, soups, and anything a kid could imagine wanting. Whether they’re inside the buffet area or poolside, the soft-serve ice cream machines are always a hit with the kids, and adults too.
Dining in the main dining room for dinner is popular for most cruisers. It gives the family an opportunity to be waited on and served upscale cuisine. The menu in the dining room tends to be a little less kid-friendly at first glance, but they’re fully prepared with a kid-friendly menu that they’ll give you when they see there are children at the table.
If you want to give your kids a little break from the buffet or dining room, you can order room service 24 hours a day while onboard. The best part about ordering room service is that the room is casual and much like what you’d find at the buffet. Your kids will love eating chicken tenders, a cheeseburger, or a hotdog while lying in bed in their cabin.
Your Kid Can Meet Other Kids
Having your kids split their time on the cruise between spending time doing family activities and in the youth program can give them an experience they’ll never forget.
When your children are off playing in the kid’s programs, it gives them an opportunity to meet other kids their age and make friends. Meeting new children in the youth program can encourage your shy child to open up and meet new people they otherwise wouldn’t have met.
Whether they leave the cruise with a new best friend for life or not, they’ll always remember having the time of their life and the other kids they met while on their family vacation.
Norwegian Cruise Lines is Great for Kids
If you’ve been dying to take your family on a cruise around Australia, Alaska, Iceland, The Bahamas, or anywhere Norwegian Cruise Lines sails to, there’s no need for you to keep putting it off. Norwegian Cruise Lines is more than prepared to have everyone, even the youngest travelers, experience the best family vacation of their lives.
Cruising with Norwegian Cruise Lines gives you and your family opportunities for onboard and on-shore excursions. There’s even plenty of youth activities that your kids can participate in when you all want to do different things.
Now that you know Norwegian Cruise Lines is kid-friendly, there’s no reason to keep putting off booking your dream family vacation. You won’t regret sailing with Norwegian Cruise Lines next time you take a family vacation.
More about our TFVG Author
A seasoned traveller, Dad, and avid sports tourist, James foundered The Family Vacation Guide to share his expert vacation experiences- especially when it comes to being a travelling family man.
Featured in Travel articles such as Travel + Leisure, TripSavvy and SFGate, you know you're reading some of the best vacation tips online.