Royal Caribbean cruise vacations are packed with high-energy activities and entertainment for all passengers, regardless of age, making this cruise line a favorite with active families. The line’s spacious cabins and large choice in kids programming work for multigenerational cruise vacations. Parents interested in the shows, gambling, spa and sports aboard these megaships can take advantage of staff and facilities, most included with your fare.
The array of sports for the fit (rock walls, basketball courts, skating rinks, jogging track, zip line, FlowRider surf pools) especially appeal to teens, as well as younger couples and groups of friends. (There was a large Harley-Davidson motorcycle-riding group on our cruise.) In short, whether you’re a serial cruiser or a never-ever, Royal Caribbean has you covered.
Supervised Baby & Kids Programming Aboard Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean offers six onboard youth and teen programs organized by age as part of Adventure Ocean. Each is led by staff with a minimum of a university degree in education or recreation plus 3 to 5 years of qualified experience workng with children this age. Each group operates at sea and on port days. The programs are:
- Babies & Toddlers (6 months-36 months) Many Royal Caribbean ships offer the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery for children too young for the Adventure Ocean Program. The nursery is supervised by trained staff who engage babies and toddlers with age-appropriate learning and fun activities. The nursery fee is $8/hr. In-room private babysitting is available for $19/hour for up to 3 kids, for ages 12 months and up. Reservations are recommended as there is limited space in the nursery. Also, confirm before booking that your ship offers the nursery program.
Keep in mind that the nursery has limited space, so you will want to go there on your first day to reserve times.
- Aquanauts (3-5 years) Young children can participate in science experiments, story time and other activities with a focus on skill development.
- Explorers (6-8 years) RCI gives kids hands-on entertainment and learning activities with Adventure Science, arts, and theater programs. There are also dance and ice cream parties.
- Voyagers (9-11 years) Older children can spend the day jumping in on sports, rehearsing for talent shows, scavenger hunts and video game tournaments.
- Teens (12-17) programs are less structured, geared towards “almost adults” and are under supervision of the Adventure Ocean staff. Special facilities include barbecues, sports events, karaoke, pool parties, rock-climbing, theme parties, and nightclub parties at their own Disco. YSpa caters exclusively to teens with a full menu of pampering treatments.
Facilities include a lifeguard-monitored splash pool and water park with waterfalls, geysers, and a FlowRider surfing simulator called H2O Zone, a fully-equipped arcade, and Adventure Ocean’s by the ages and Teen-only rooms. The special facilities are free to use during the day, but fees apply after 10pm. Also look for zip lines, mini-golf, and pool scuba diving (select cruises), plus several “firsts” at sea – a skysimulator, RipCord by iFLY; North Star, a capsule offering 360-degree views and the “Highest Viewing Deck on a Cruise Ship” by the Guinness Book of World Records; and SeaPlex with bumper cars, a roller skating rink and much more. On shore days, children’s activities are ongoing.
Harmony, Liberty and Majesty of the Seas also feature kids aquapark Splashaway Bay and The Perfect Storm waterslides can be found on Harmony and Liberty. The DreamWorks Experience features parades, themed activities and character breakfasts with DreamWorks Animation’s popular feature-film characters, including Po of “Kung Fu Panda;” Shrek, Fiona and Puss In Boots of “Shrek;” plus Alex and the Penguins, and King Julien from “Madagascar.” For entertainment lovers, on select cruises there are Broadway style performances of Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Mamma Mia!, Cats and We Will Rock You, an ice-skating spectacular, and AquaTheater dive shows, as well as live jazz.
The new My Family Time Dining Program allows parents who have enrolled in the early seating to dine leisurely. Children are served quickly, then a counselor from Adventure Ocean escorts them to the playroom for the rest of the evening.
Family-Friendly Entertainment on Royal Caribbean Ships
Royal Caribbean International is the official cruise line partner of Dreamworks Animation SKG, making for plenty of photo opportunities with the likes of Puss N Boots, Kung Foo Panda, and Shrek during character dining, shows, and 3D movies — included in cruise pricing. We know the character breakfasts (see the video above), even though they require an early wake-up, are worth the effort.
For the adventurous: rock-climbing, surf-simulators, an on-board carousel, zip line, and ice-skating rink will get the blood flowing and adrenaline pumping. Keep in mind that use of these facilities is included in rates, giving your kids a chance to try something new at little risk.
By day, families love visiting one of the two Royal Caribbean private islands: Coco Key in the Bahamas and Labadee in Haiti. In the evenings, original stage productions including musicals, unusual ImaginOcean black-light puppet shows, ice shows, and aerial acts provide wholesome entertainment for the entire family.
Other fun activities for a fee include a Cupcake Decorating workshop, the Pets at Sea boutique where families can stuff their own pet toys,
Royal Caribbean Ships Keep Grown Ups Busy
Royal Caribbean promises fun, relaxation, and entertainment for adults with its Vitality Spa, fitness centers, casinos, and nightclubs.
My Time Dining is Royal Caribbean’s version of flexible dining, offering passengers the option to make a reservation between 6pm and 9:30pm. Included in your fare is access to the main dining room and several casual options including Sorrentos Pizza, the varied buffets, Windjammer Cafe and a pool deck soft-serve ice cream station. The larger RCI ships have several small cafes and take out places in a central Atrium area. At each restaurant, the waiters are attentive to any food allergies or special dining needs.
Traditional dining is available in the more formal Main Dining room, which offers two nightly seatings for guests and a friendly wait staff to cater to your kids’ food needs.
For date nights, there are several specialty dining options available at varying surcharges at restaurants serving Italian, Japanese, Brazilian, and New American Bistro cuisine. Royal Caribbean recommends that adults make reservations well in advance to guarantee seating.
RC News for 2018
- Symphony of the Seas (launching April, 2018), an Oasis-class ship will be the 25th in the fleet and the largest cruise ship in the world. She will sail the Mediterranean with stops in Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Provence, Florence, Rome and Naples.
- Royal Caribbean’s PortMiami will open a new cruise terminal by the end of the year, and it will be the home of Symphony of the Seas as well as Allure of the Seas.
- 7-night cruises on Vision of the Seas to the Bahamas and the Yucatan Peninsula will be available from New Orleans, Louisiana which has been closed for the past three years.
- Technological innovations which include a smartphone app and an easier check-in procedure continues across the fleet.
For more details and booking information visit Royal Caribbean International.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.