Let’s take a look at the

best Family cruise

I love taking cruise vacations! It is the only time Moms really get a break. On a cruise someone else will cook, clean, entertain, and plan activities. Plus you can take a cruise close to home or visit Europe, Australia, Africa, and even Antarctica! There is a ship and itinerary for every taste and budget! Many cruiselines offer kids sale free and other promotions to make it the perfect way to relax, make memories, and see a new place for an affordable price.



Cruise Lines


Cruise Ships


Cruise Ports

girl on a cruise with beautiful scenery around her
It couldn’t be easier to plan a cruiseship vacation!

How to Plan a Cruise


Pick a Cruiseline

There are lots of choices for every budget, season of life, and preference. Keep reading to learn more!


Pick a Ship

Once you pick a cruiseline you need to pick a ship. Trust me, the ship makes a HUGE difference! The older ships are less expensive, but lack in some desirable amenities.


Pick an Itinerary

While some people sail on the newest ships purely for the fun of cruising, most people want to go see something on their vacation. You can cruise to every continent on Earth and see some amazing historic site, wonders of the world, and beautiful destinations. Let’s take a peak at some!

Are you on the fence about a cruise?

Why Take a Cruise Vacation

Here are over 20 reasons you will love a cruise vacation!

  • Easy to Budget as one price includes hotel, food, entertainment, and transportation
  • Unpack once and see multiple destinations
  • Onboard entertainment – broadway style shows, comedy, magicians nightly
  • Delicious dining options for every taste
  • Cruise staff led activities like origami, trivia, contests, scavenger hunts, game shows
  • Relax by the pool
  • Meet new people
  • Kids club for parents to have have some alone time
  • Seminars and workshops (health, convervations, animals, and more)
  • Spa treatments and saloon service available nearby
  • Exercise onboard walking or at the fitness center
  • Shopping opportunities onboard and at each port
  • Activities like shuffle board, basketball, chess, ping pong, etc.
  • Unique vistas only visible from a ship
  • Deals make them a great value
  • Room steward to tidy, clean, and make your bed every day
  • Live music
  • Shore excursious available to easily explore new places
  • Stunning ocean views every day
  • See sunset and sunrise every day
  • Birthday and anniversary celebrations onboard
  • Someone refills your drink at dinner!
Disney Wish Atrium

best cruise lines for families

There are lots of options when it comes to cruising. While it may be slightly narrowed down by your budget and itinerary, most of the major cruiselines offer deals and similar destinations. The first 4 ships listed below are in my order of preference for families; each has some unique entertainment and are geared as a family cruise. The next 3 are really targeted at adults from 50s on up.

Pros: Disney is hard to beat when it comes to family cruises. They offer unbeatable service, cleanliness, fabulous cuisine, characters, family-friendly shows, exciting itineraries, water coaster, mini-golf, onboard scavenger hunts, and entertainment fit for the mouse himself! As if the constantly available drawing classes, trivia, coloring, dance parties, and character meet-and-greet weren’t enough – they have movies running continuously on the funnel vision, in the onboard movie theatres, and on demand (free) in your stateroom. Their spacious staterooms offer 1.5 baths. From broadway style shows with amazing special effects to pirates in the caribbean deck parties, family games shows to rotational dining, kids club open more than 12 hours continuously, and don’t forget the only cruiseline that offers fireworks at sea! No casino or onboard smoking!

Cons: Disney is one of, if not the most expensive cruiseline, that is hard for families on a budget. Disney currently has 5 ships, with several close to launching, so they can demand top dollar. That also means they cannot travel to some of the most interesting destinations, at least not continuously. The ships are mid-size, which is a pro in my book, but it does mean they don’t offer some of the more wow onboard activities.

Royal Carribean is undoubtedly a giant in the cruising world, and that isn’t just because they have the world’s largets cruiseship (which they do!) The cruise line dreams BIG. Expect rock climbing walls, bumper cars, ziplines, huge water slides, surfing, aerial water shows, live band for shows, ice skating shows, broadway productions, live trees and a carousel in the Central Park neighborhood, mini-golf, and more dining options. With 28+ ships in their fleet they have more exciting destinations and availability. As such, they more reliably offer better discounts!

Cons: The food is not as good as Disney’s, although you can pay extra for speciality restaurants. The service was good, but didn’t have unique restaurant themes and servers that do magic tricks for the kids. The older ships show their age and have way fewer entertainment options. Overall the variety of things to do onboard during the day was way less. The movies are pay per view in your stateroom and you won’t find continously running funnelvision movies. The kids area is okay, but doesn’t hold a candle to the immersive, continuously running Disney one with their fabulous staff. To me, the larger ships are fun (once), but I miss the quiet intimacy of the smaller ships. The casino and onboard smoking areas alwasy seem to be in the way.

Although we sailed with carnival multiple times when we were younger, we actually sailed with them on our honeymoon, we found they were too much of a party ship. The entertainment was more Vegas than Broadway and when we started having kids we opted for other options. I have a cruise scheduled to give it a fair shake since a lot has changed!

We recently sailed on Norweigan and and I have lots to share about the unique free style dining, food, and itineraries – they have some of the most exotic and imaginative itineraries out there (like tons in Africa). The experience will vary depending on the stateroom you select and features of your ship. But we have some things to get you planning and deciding what is the best cruise line for your vacation.

Cons: Unless you are in a suite, the food is not as good as the other lines. Plus the free style dining made it hard to eat unless we had planned ahead and made reservations. So make reservations before you leave home! Shows were more vegas than Broadway making it less family friendly.

Pros: Incredible itineraries! Scoped ice cream is free on some ships. The best and most variety of almost non-stop live music we’ve seen on any ship – string quartet, trumpet, sacaphone, guitar, piano, and more!

Princess tends to cater to a slightly older base of customers. We still found good food, great service, nice shows, child care, and pools. They didn’t have a lot of entertainment, no over-the-top WOW factor, and just not a lot of families. I did appreciate their staterooms were a little larger than average with a unique walk-in closet which was perfect for putting a crib if you are traveling with a little one.

We sailed once with Holland America on an Alaskan voyage. They had good food, nice evening shows, a good crew, and nice staterooms. THey were not over-the-top with any wow factor or with a lot of entertainment for family. But again, they cater to a slighly older customer base that is happy sitting by the pool and reading a good book. They had geat nature talks. This is my parents favorite cruiseline other than river ships.

There are other cruiselines out there, we just haven’t chosen to experience them for one reason or another. Here are some other options:

  • Celebrity Cruises – I’ve heard good things about these ships, they just always price high and don’t seem to have a wow factor. I’d put them comprable to Holland America and Princess ships
  • Azamara Cruises
  • Oceania Cruises
  • MSC Cruises – I keep seeing these ships at every port, but I’ve heard they are a step down from Royal
  • Virgin Cruises – adult only, with a little bit of a scandalous reputation
No vacation is perfect

Here are some things you should know about cruising

Bad Weather

Bad weather can shut down activities, make the boat rocky (making you feel sick), close pools, and make rain that leaves the outdoor spaces virtually unusable.In addition it can cause ports to be cancelled or entire itineraries shifted.

It’s Mostly all inclusive

Cruises are great for budgetting, but not everything is included. Yo uare expected to give gratuities (about $14-18 per person/per day). Drinks are extra on almost every cruiseline. There are specialty restaurans, coffee, or sweet shops that charge extra. Some activtiies require a cover charge. Port excursions are not included.


As you and 4000 other people are about to share close quarters, it is important that everyone wash their hands frequently. If people don’t illnesses can spread quickly onboard. We keep a bottle of hand sanitizer nearby.

Wondering what to expect on the best cruiseships?

best cruise ships for families

While this is a little subjective, let me point out some of the most unique, inovative, and customer loved ships floating in the ocean today! I will just list some highlights for you to consider.

icon of the seas

Icon of the Seas

Royal Carribean

If you like WOW and big, this ship that boasts the largest in the world is sure to impress. The Icon is 1198 feet long, with 18 passenger decks and up to 7,600 guests – it’s a floating city! It launched in 2024.

Largest waterpark at sea – 6 huge slides
Aquapark for kids
7 pools – including largest at sea & infinity pool
crowns edge – Obstacle course, ropes course, zipline suspended over the sea
aquadome with stunt performances
Ice skating show (largest rink at sea)
Signature Rock Climbing Wall
Flow rider sulf simulator
Dueling Pianos
Broadway shows like wizard of oz
mini golf, sports court
Central park with live trees & carousel
Escape room ($) and other activities
40+ Dining venues (many are extra $)
wonder of the seas carrousel

Wonder of the Seas

Royal Carribean

This oasis class ship is almost the newest, almost the biggest. The vessel is 1,188 feet long, 16 decks, and holds up to 6988 passengers. It launched in 2022. It also feels HUGE!

3 waterslides including tallest at sea
Wonder Playscape playground
4 pools
zipline over ship
AquaTheater with aerial shows
broadway style shows
Flow rider sulf simulator
ice skating shows
mini golf, sports court
Central park with live trees & carousel
24 dining venues (some extra $)
activities like scavenger hunts, dance classes
outdoor movie nights

bumper cars on odyssey of the seas royal carribean cruise ship

Odyssey of the Seas

Royal Carribean

Big, but doesnt feel too big, this ship is part of the Quantum class, launched in 2021. It is 1,138 feet long with 16 passenger decks holds up to 5510 passengers.

RipCord® by iFLY® skydiving simulator
bumper cars and roller-skating at the largest SeaPlex at sea
360-degree views from 300 feet up in the North Star observation capsule
glow-in-the-dark laser tag
Two70 with aerialists, robots and much more
both broadway and vegas style shows
Flow rider sulf simulator
h20 zone for families
game shows
outdoor movie nights
sports court with pickleball, minigolf
2 swimming pools (one out / one inside)
15+ dining venues (some Extra $)
indoor Promenade with open space and dining , entertainment, & shops
disney wish cruise ship


Disney Cruiseline

This medium size ship is 1,119 ft long with 15 decks, and up to 4000 passengers. It debuted in 2022. It will not overwhelm you with size, but it will with beautiful finishing touches and clever spaces.

Hyperspace Lounge (Star wars)
rotational dining at themed resaurants with a show
aqua mouse water coaster and water slide
broadway style shows with special effects like bubbles/confetti in audience
hero zone- indoor sports court with basketball, ping pong, foosball, air hockey, etc.
festival of foods wide assortment of food choices on deck
soda is inluded in fare
oceanears club – open 9am-midnight!
evening game shows, daily trivia, drawing classes, etc
character interactions all day, everyday
6 swimming pools
pirate deck party with fireworks at sea
adult only areas including pools and hot tubs
kids themed toy story splash area
seasonal cruises for halloween and christmas
ap based interactive scavenger hunt
Movies on the funnelvision 12 hours/day, movies in the 2 theatres all day, and Free movies in your stateroom on demand
disney fantasy animator's palate restaurant where your illustrations come alive


Disney Cruiseline

This medium size ship is 1,120 ft long with 14 decks, and up to 4000 passengers. It debuted in 2012, but it is so well maintained you wouldn’t know it. It will not overwhelm you with size, but it will with beautiful finishing touches and clever spaces.

rotational dining at themed resaurants with a show
aqua duck water coaster and kids water slide
broadway style shows with special effects like bubbles/confetti
goofy’s sports deck with mini golf
soda is inluded in fare
oceanears club – open 9am-midnight!
evening game shows
daily trivia, drawing classes, etc
tons of character interactions
3 swimming pools
pirate deck party with fireworks
adult only area – pools & hot tubs
kids nemo themed splash area
midship detective agency interactive scaventer hunt with 3 missions
Movies on the funnelvision 12 hours/day, movies in the theatre all day, and Free movies in your stateroom on demand
Themed cruises – pixar day at sea, halloween on the high seas, verry merry cruises
Royal Court Royal Tea ($)
carnival jubilee bolt roller coaster



Carnival’s newest cruiseship deuted in 2023 and has some beautiful spaces and fun activities to offer. This ship is 1130 feet with 18 passenger decks, accomadating up to 6500 passengers.

Ultimate Playground – Skyride ($), Skycourse, mini-bowling, mini-golf, Ping-Pong. and arcade basketball.
Dr Seuss Bookville; plus silly parade, Green Eggs and Ham breakfast, story time, limited character interations
Waterworks with waterslides and splash area
revue shows (some may object to family friendlinessof attire)
Hasbro, The Game Show is a lively and interactive stage show
22 dining choices including the popular (and crowded) Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Chicken, Guy Fieri’s Guy’s Burger Joint
Kids clubs with varied activities open from 10am-5pm and 7pm-10pm
5 swimming pools
scheduled cinema under the stars
For guest sin the Family Harbor rooms there is a family Lounge with dining options, movies, video games, board games, and more
Service on Carnival Jubilee is Overwhelmed, Inconsistent
guests complain the ship feels crowded with long lines to eat
Embarkation gets negative reviews
bullfighter goofy with boy on disney cruise in spain

Which Cruise Line Should I Take Internationally?

Embarking on an international voyage is a totally different experience compared to a relaxing Caribbean cruise. The further you travel from home, the more the destination becomes the star of the show, with the ship simply serving as a means of transport and a floating hotel. But does the choice of ship really matter that much? Let’s dive into the pros and cons of my top two favorite cruise lines when it comes to exploring exotic ports.

Disney Cruise Line

  • More expensive, like 2-3x more for the overseas itineraries!
  • Menu and character costumes vary by port! This is super unique and fun.
  • If there is an excursion your kids aren’t old enough for, or you don’t want to drag them on, you can leave kids in kids program on the ship!
  • You will be off the ship, or tired when you get “home” and will not get to take advantage of all the shows, characters, and activities that made the cruise a premium
  • If your itinerary includes days cruising fjords, glaciers, islands, etc. you will appreciate the kids are entertained so you can enjoy nature! Plus the blankets and warm inluded drinks onboard are nice!
  • Disney customer service, attention to detail, and seemless procedures make it easy!
  • Love all the movie choices in room, funnel vision, and onboard theatre to relax with at night or rainy days

Royal Carribean Cruise

  • Snag kids sale free or 70% off second guest for many sailings, especially for shoulder season (non-peak)
  • Depending on your itinierary, you will probably hardly be on the ship. All you really need is a comfortable bed, reliable transportation, and food options
  • Royal has 5x more ships than Disney does, they can offer more itineraries and choices that Disney just can’t compete with
  • You will need to plan for some specialty dining if you want the really good food
  • The live music at night is such a treat and is so much better than Disney’s
So many places to go, so little time!

Best Cruise Itinerary

There are lots of amazing itineraries, which one should you pick? The cruiseline and ship you pick will help limit the itinerary as the newer ships have the more traditional carribean itinerary. But here are some of the most amazing cruise itinerary options you should consider! In no particular order!

st lucia carribean beach from ruise ship

It’s a classic for a reason, people love the dependable weather, it’s close, and lots of activities. Western Caribbean – Swim with sting ray, climb Ocho Rios waterfall, swim with dolphins, or explore Aztec ruins. Eastern Caribbean prettier beaches and towns. My favorite is the Southern Carribean locations and fort in San Juan. Plus don’t miss out on private islands offered by all cruise lines!

alaska hubbard glacier cruise

One of my favorites because of the stunning scenery! Enjoy excursions to get up close to glaciers, whale watching, see bears eating salmon, and so much more. My favorite day is when they head to the inside passage where you will be surrounded by beauty all day long! Go in May or September for the best rates! And don’t forget to pack a coat. Note: During th summer the sun only sets for a couple hours a day!

santorini greece cruise

Not only is southern Europe absolutely beautiful and filled with historical and cultural sights, but it is so cost effective to cruise. Instead of paying for expensive hotels, getting from town-to-town, costly food, and more – unpack once. Use your hotel as a floating all inclusive hotel and explore lovely Spain, France, Italy, Greece, and more from the comfort of your cruise. May is typically the cheapest time to go!

northern europe cruise norway sweeden denmark norweigan fjords
Northern Europe

Embark on a breathtaking journey through the enchanting Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland on a northern Europe cruise. Witness the beauty of the famous Norwegian fjords as you sail through crystal-clear waters surrounded by towering cliffs and lush green landscapes. In the Baltic Sea, enjoy majestic glaciers and quaint fishing villages.

Beautiful Sunset on a Hawaiin beach

Hawaii is truly a paradise on earth, with its stunning beaches, lush landscapes, and vibrant culture. And what better way to experience the magic of the Hawaiian Islands than by going on a cruise? A cruise allows you to visit multiple islands in one trip, giving you the opportunity to explore the unique beauty and attractions of each. From the pristine shores of Kauai to the bustling streets of Oahu, each island has something special to offer. 

australia cruise
Australia / New Zealand

Embark on the journey of a lifetime with a cruise to Australia and New Zealand! Immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, the majestic mountains in the land of the long white cloud, and the vibrant cities of Sydney and Auckland. Indulge in delicious cuisine, relax on pristine beaches, and discover the unique wildlife like kangaroo, koala, and kiwis that live in these incredible destinations. 

Bamboo Forest in Kyoto, Japan.

Embark on a cruise to Asia and open yourself up to a whole new world of culture and beauty. Imagine standing in awe in front of the Great Wall of China, or exploring the intricate architecture of ancient pagodas. The best part? You can do all of this without the frustration of dealing with a huge language barrier. Let the wonders of Asia captivate you as you sail through its vibrant cities and breathtaking landscapes. 

Pyramid Complex in Aswan city by the Nile, aerial view, Egypt.

Africa has something for everyone! Embark on a safari and witness incredible wildlife up close, relax on the beautiful beaches, or dive into the rich and diverse cultures of the continent. And if you’re a history buff, don’t miss the chance to explore the iconic pyramids of Giza. For a truly luxurious and hassle-free experience, consider taking a cruise around Africa. Sit back, relax, and let the cruise ship take you to all the must-see destinations in style.

cruise the panama canal
Panama Canal

Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey through the Panama Canal, an incredible engineering marvel. Cruise through locks, lakes, and lush rainforests while witnessing towering ships pass by. Immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Panama, sampling delicious cuisine and learning about indigenous peoples. 

transatlantic cruise with open seas with a beautiful sunset behind
Transatlantic Cruise

Embark on a journey of a lifetime as you follow in the footsteps of early explorers on a transatlantic cruise! Picture yourself lounging on the deck, with nothing but the vast ocean stretching out before you, as you sail across the Atlantic. These long, lazy days at sea are perfect for unwinding and indulging in all the amenities the ship has to offer.  But don’t worry, these itinerary still come with some unique ports to explore!

antarctica cruise with beautiful snowy mountains icebergs, animals

Witness the breathtaking beauty of the glaciers, spot majestic whales and adorable penguins, look for the playful sea lions, and more. My family recently went on this once-in-a-lifetime trip and it was absolutely unforgettable. If you’re not an adventure junky with money to spare, don’t worry – a cruise is the perfect way to experience the 7th continent. Trust me, this is a trip you won’t want to miss!

new engalnd canada fall colors cruise
Canada / New England

Just because this itinerary may be close to home doesn’t mean it isn’t great! Fall in New England is a truly magical time, with vibrant colors bringing historic cities and beautiful lighthouses to life. Take in the breathtaking sights, feel the crisp autumn air, and immerse yourself in the rich history and charm of this region.