Trending: Taking the Kids on a Cruise - My Family Travels

Is a family cruise on your vacation wish list? It turns out that the vast majority of people recently surveyed about vacations who have never been on a cruise — 94 percent — said they’d like to try cruising. The cruise trends survey of 1,000 Americans 18 and older was sponsored by Carnival Corporation.

Parents holding girls in life jackets on a boat.
This family is enjoying a boat excursion from Holland America’s ms Statendam around the island of Maui. Photo c. HAL.

It’s easy to see why. The 30 million people expected to cruise this year will tell you, for example, that you can visit new places.

Experienced cruisers also love that on cruises – Mom alert! — there’s no packing or unpacking and – Dad alert! – no navigating unfamiliar roads.

You can customize your vacation like never before, for example, with new MedallionClass vacations on a growing number of Princess Ships. New technology, complete with a wearable device, helps passengers get exactly what they want on board, from streaming entertainment, ordering drinks in place to finding the family!

Consult a travel agent who is a cruise expert to get you the best deal and de-stress the planning process. There are so many choices. The key is to choose the right cruise line, the right ship and the right itinerary for your family… within your budget.

Massage onboard Seabourn ship
Get away on a luxurious adult cruise with Seabourn and pamper yourselves while exploring the world. Photo c. Seabourn

Do you want a large ship with all the bells and whistles or a more intimate experience like Seabourn, which is designed for upscale travelers who prefer smaller ships with all suite staterooms? There won’t be many kids, if any, and the experience is all-inclusive with top shelf beverages and gourmet dining.

Are you seeking a memorable family experience like the 37.4 percent who said they most want to take a family vacation?

Cruise lines say you can have that memorable vacation — and bring the kids — as there are morning-till-night organized activities even on upscale lines like Princess and Holland America, which both cater to multigenerational families.

Princess Cays on Eleuthera
Pprincess Cruises features a private beach on Eleuthera where you can get away from it all. Photo c. Princess Cruises

Princess has programs in partnership with Animal Planet and special Discovery family tours. Holland America’s staff is professionally trained to work with kids who have special challenges. Their programming is designed to teach kids as well as entertain them so parents and grandparents can learn something new, too.

Carnival Cruise Line carries 800,000 kids a year, more than any other, and offers organized programming for kids starting at age 2. These include a new “Zumbini” music and dance program for the littlest kids and Seuss at Sea family activities, as well as teen-pleasing hang-out spaces and programs, including special spa treatments.  (Check out FTF’s 2019 Family Cruise Guide for more cruise trends and to see what family and supervised kids’ activities are offered by different cruise lines.)

Happy cruise passenger in Bahamas
A Carnival Sunrise guest on Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas. Photo by Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line

If you’ve got foodies in your group (and 45 percent of the women surveyed report that food and wine are important on vacation), cruises are the place to indulge.

Enjoy a gourmet Guy Fiori burger (Carnival) or savor premium wines and spirts at no extra cost (Seabourn). Foodies will love Holland America’s onboard cooking demonstrations and the chance to immerse themselves in the local tastes and cuisine of the region they’re sailing.

Eat all the pizza and burgers you want or stay on a diet with huge salad-laden buffets. The choice is yours.

Cruise lines cater to any dietary restriction, too, and at the same time offer an opportunity for kids to try new foods, as there is no charge for a second meal if they didn’t like their first pick.

Performers in gothic costumes doing music revue on ship.
Carnival Sunrise singers/dancers perform “Soulbound” in the ship’s Liquid Lounge. Photo by Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line

Also expect nights and days at sea packed with entertainment from Broadway-style shows to cabarets to comedy, casinos to discos — depending on which cruise you choose.

Safe money and time by cruising from a port near home. On the East Coast, for example, Carnival’s Sunrise (now sailing after a $200 million renovation) will be cruising from New York City all summer.

On the West Coast, Princess has six ships sailing from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle or Vancouver to Alaska. In celebration of their 50th Year in Alaska, Princess is featuring new experiences and sailings starting at less than $700.

Holland America has been in Alaska even longer and has got land-sea itineraries that include immersive experiences in Denali National Park and even the Yukon. (There are plenty of deals still available!)

Princess Cruises in Glacier Bay National Park
Princess and Holland America explore Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park. Photo c. Princess

If, like a third of those surveyed, your family wants to go to the Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line has departures from several Florida ports plus Baltimore, Charleston and New Orleans, with three- and four-day routes at less than $200 a person. Holland America will have 20 cruises and three ships to choose from starting in October, all heading to the beautiful Mexican Riviera beaches with rates starting at $699.

That there are so many affordable options may be a surprise to the 41 percent of those surveyed who report price would keep them from cruising.

You know better. See you on board!

Eileen Ogintz is the creator of, the Kid’s Guide Series to major American cities and parks and an avid cruiser. This post was sponsored by

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