10 Great Ships for Family Spring Break Cruises
Looking for a cruise that’s as great for parents as it is for kids? We’ve got your ships right here.
Disney Magic, Western Caribbean
Courtesy Disney Cruise Line
Five-night cruise from Miami: On select sailings in February, March, and April, Disney’s original ship will be offering their “Marvel Day at Sea,” with costume parades, superhero drawing lessons, video games, and a comic book library. The day culminates in a deck party with fireworks for everyone and, later, a “Guardians of the Galaxy” dance party for grown-ups. Prep for your trip with Walt Disney’s most inspiring quotes.
Carnival Vista, Eastern or Southern Caribbean
courtesy Carnival Cruise Line
Seven nights from Miami: Carnival’s latest, Carnival Horizon, launches in April in the Mediterranean, but if your spring break is earlier—or you don’t want to go that far—consider Carnival Vista. The first ship in its class debuted the RedFreg brewpub, the Seafood Shack (where you can pick out the catch of the day and have it sent to the dining room later prepared any way you like), the colonial style Havana Suites (with a private palapa-topped pool), and the SkyRide, a bicycle suspended over the pool deck. Plus, it also has the decadent hand-grown burgers at Guy’s Burger Joint and scrumptious tacos and burritos at BlueIguana Cantina. Make sure you take advantage of these cruise-booking dos and don’ts from travel experts.
Norwegian Escape, Western Caribbean
Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line
Six nights from Miami: Sadly, Norwegian’s newest vessel, Norwegian Bliss—with its go-karts and laser tag arena—doesn’t launch until May in Seattle, so consider this family-friendly ship out of Miami. Onboard, you’ll find a John Hughes tribute dinner theater show as well as a stage show of Broadway’s homage to Duke Ellington, “After Midnight.” And the restaurants onboard include the fusion hit Food Republic (home to pastrami-sauerkraut dumplings, Buffalo-style rock shrimp tempura, and bulgogi tacos) and a tapas bar by Philly-based celebrity chef and Food Network “Iron Chef,” Jose Garces. During the day, families can spend time by the pool, at the water park, or miniature golfing on deck.
Disney Fantasy, Eastern or Western Caribbean
Courtesy Disney Cruise Line
Seven nights from Port Canaveral, FL: The newest of Disney Cruise Line’s ships launched in 2011, and it hosts the “Star Wars Day at Sea.” For fans of Darth Vadar, Luke, and Leia, there’s just nothing else like it: Picture a Star Wars-themed stage show, Jedi training classes, photo ops with stormtroopers, and screenings of the films, too. Here are 17 travel hacks to make your cruise easier.
Symphony of the Seas, Western Mediterranean
Courtesy Royal Caribbean International
Seven nights from Barcelona: Royal Caribbean’s newest launches at the end of March with some pretty great features: a full-scale production of “Hairspray,” an indoor laser tag arena, a waterpark, three high-speed slides, an ice skating rink, a surfing simulator and a rock-climbing wall.
MSC Seaside, Eastern Caribbean
Courtesy MSC Cruises
Seven nights from Miami: This new ship was designed to celebrate the outdoors, with a boardwalk, beach condo-style suites, four water slides, and a bowling alley. We’re especially looking forward to the Asian fusion restaurant by Roy Yamaguchi. Better still: It’s also a ship with technological advancements, such as facial recognition programs that allow you to board quickly without waiting in long lines. Make sure illness doesn’t interfere with your cruise with these 11 tricks.
Holland America Koningsdam, Eastern Caribbean
via Holland American Koningsdam
Seven nights from Fort Lauderdale, FL: This ship has more varied routes than the others, with itineraries that may not fit families with kids in school. But, if you luck into your spring break overlapping with this week-long sailing, you’ll find that this ship serves parents and kids alike with great live music in B.B. King’s Blues Club, a fabulous pool-side pizzeria and deli (with great New York-style bagels in the morning), and the much-touted Dive-In burger spot.
Regal Princess, Eastern and Western Caribbean
Courtesy Princess Cruises
Six nights out of Fort Lauderdale, FL: Princess Cruises’ newest is also the first in the company to get the much-touted “Ocean Medallion” program, which uses technology to personalize your cruise. In addition, this ship has plenty of other amenities that make it a great choice, from a pop-up seafood restaurant to a massive movie screen on the pool deck, where movies are shown in the evening with warm blankets and fresh popcorn. Don’t miss these 28 secrets cruise lines don’t want you to know.
Anthem of the Seas, Bahamas
Seven nights out of Cape Liberty, NJ: This class of ship introduced a ton of “firsts” for cruising—from bumper cars to skydiving simulators—and it’s a great choice for families, especially those with active older children. (Roller skating parties, anyone?) We also love to dining choices, which range from a playful molecular gastronomy restaurant to a gastropub and a great soup-and-salad spot.
National Geographic Endeavor II, Galapagos
via national geographic endeavor II
Nine nights from Guayaquil, Ecuador: This new 96-passenger sails the islands of the Galapagos year-round, giving families an opportunity to hike, kayak, snorkel, stand-up paddleboard, and sail around on glass-bottom Zodiacs as they search for rare birds and animals, including the blue-footed boobie, turtles, and whales. Last year, the line launched the new National Geographic Explorers program for kids, with naturalists trained to educate children as well as their parents. Check out these tips for staying active on your cruise.