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A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right 2-Day Cruise Line in Port Canaveral

If you’re looking for a quick getaway and want to experience the excitement of a cruise, a 2-day cruise from Port Canaveral is an excellent choice. Located on Florida’s eastern coast, Port Canaveral is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world. With several cruise lines offering 2-day cruises from this port, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your vacation. In this guide, we’ll explore different factors to consider when selecting a 2-day cruise line in Port Canaveral.

Itinerary Options

When choosing a 2-day cruise line, it’s essential to consider the itinerary options available. While most cruises from Port Canaveral offer similar destinations such as Nassau or CocoCay in the Bahamas, some may include additional stops or unique experiences. Research each cruise line’s itineraries and compare them to determine which one aligns with your preferences.

For example, if you’re interested in exploring historical sites, Royal Caribbean’s 2-day cruises might be an excellent choice as they often include a stop at historical landmarks like Fort Charlotte in Nassau. On the other hand, if you prefer spending more time on pristine beaches, Carnival Cruise Line offers 2-day cruises with extended stays at their private island resort of Half Moon Cay.

Onboard Amenities and Activities

Another crucial factor when selecting a 2-day cruise line is considering the onboard amenities and activities offered by each company. Since you’ll have limited time onboard during a short cruise, it’s important to make sure that the ship provides activities that appeal to your interests.

Some popular amenities on modern cruise ships include water parks, spa facilities, sports courts, Broadway-style shows, and multiple dining options. If you enjoy adventurous activities like rock climbing or surfing simulators, Norwegian Cruise Line’s 2-day cruises might be a great fit for you. On the other hand, if you prefer a more relaxed and luxurious experience, consider looking into Celebrity Cruises’ offerings, known for their upscale amenities and top-notch service.

Budget Considerations

Budget is always an important aspect to consider when planning any vacation. When comparing 2-day cruise lines in Port Canaveral, it’s crucial to factor in the overall cost of the cruise, including the base fare, additional fees (such as gratuities and taxes), and any optional add-ons or excursions.

Different cruise lines cater to various budgets, so it’s essential to find one that aligns with your financial goals. Carnival Cruise Line is known for its affordable pricing and often offers great deals on 2-day cruises from Port Canaveral. If you’re looking for a more upscale experience but still want to stay within a reasonable budget, Royal Caribbean often provides a good balance between price and quality.

Customer Reviews and Reputation

Lastly, reading customer reviews and considering the reputation of each cruise line can provide valuable insights into the overall experience you can expect. Online review platforms like TripAdvisor or Cruise Critic are excellent resources to gather information from past passengers.

Pay attention to feedback regarding cleanliness, service quality, food options, entertainment offerings, and overall satisfaction with the experience. While one or two negative reviews should not deter you entirely from choosing a specific cruise line, consistently positive reviews can give you confidence in your decision.

In conclusion, choosing the right 2-day cruise line in Port Canaveral requires careful consideration of factors such as itinerary options, onboard amenities and activities, budget considerations, and customer reviews/reputation. By taking these factors into account when making your decision, you’ll be able to select a cruise line that aligns perfectly with your preferences and ensures an unforgettable vacation experience.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


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Best 3-5 Day Family & Kid Friendly Cruises

3-5 day family cruises.

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3 Night Cruise to the Bahamas

  • You want a fun, value-packed cruise on a manageable scale
  • You don't need the flashy features of MSC's newer ships
  • You want a cruise experience that focuses on unique itineraries
  • You want splash parks, waterslides and bowling alleys onboard
  • You are looking for a cruise that caters to North Americans

5 Night Cruise to the Western Caribbean

  • You want a big-ship experience with plenty of classy spaces
  • You appreciate good cuisine, wine and beverage offerings
  • You enjoy a more upscale cruise experience on a big ship
  • You always cruise on ships that are brand-new and innovative
  • You want the latest technological advances and features
  • You aren’t interested on longer, more unique itineraries

4 Night Cruise to the Bahamas

  • You like having plenty of organized activities by day and night
  • You want a classy cruise on a big ship for a reasonable price
  • You value stylish interior design and innovative amenities
  • You don’t want to have extra fees and costs for dining and drinks
  • You are looking for a ship holding fewer than 2,000 passengers

4 Night Cruise to the Caribbean

  • You like the idea of traveling on a fully refitted ship
  • You want to take a family-friendly, activity-filled cruise
  • You value a casual atmosphere that encourages you to have fun
  • You dislike traveling with large groups of families and friends
  • You need the latest spa treatment and fitness facilities
  • You want a cruise that lasts for more than a week in duration

5 Night Cruise to Bermuda

  • You want a cutting-edge family cruise with European flair
  • You like nonstop activities with round-the-clock fun for all
  • You want dozens of different bars, lounges and restaurants
  • You don't want cruise catering to European tastes first
  • You dislike announcements made in up to six different languages
  • You want mega-ship fun with innovative onboard features
  • You need a cruise that is suitable for families of all ages
  • You want your ships big and bold but with a touch of class
  • You hate crowds; things can get competitive at the buffet
  • You are looking for cruises longer than a week in duration
  • You don't enjoy being upsold for promotions and packages

5 Night Cruise to the Caribbean

  • You want a cruise with plenty of poolside fun in the sun
  • You're bringing the family, kids or friends along with you
  • You value casual informality over rigid dining times and dress
  • You're not a fan of wacky, organized poolside activities
  • You need top-notch suites and lavish amenities to go with them

3 Night Cruise to the Caribbean

  • You want a quick, fun cruise with inclusive alcoholic beverages
  • You appreciate value-added inside and oceanview cabins
  • You like plenty of organized activities by day and night
  • You're looking for a cruise vacation lasting a week or more
  • You want the latest and greatest megaship experience at sea
  • You want luxury cabins and suites with lavish amenities

5 Night Cruise to Africa

  • You want a big-ship cruise on a gorgeous Mediterranean vessel
  • You appreciate international cuisine and worldly passengers
  • You need a cruise that's made for a multigenerational family
  • You don't like action-packed cruises with lots of people
  • You dislike hearing announcements made in multiple languages
  • You want a variety of dining and entertainment options
  • You're looking for a value-packed cruise to the Caribbean
  • You're traveling as a group with varied likes and interests
  • You want a less-crowded, adult-oriented cruise experience
  • You don't care about waterslides or poolside activities
  • You are looking for a longer cruise to more out-of-the-way ports

4 Night Cruise to the Mexican Riviera

  • You're looking for a big, but surprisingly roomy, ship
  • You enjoy plenty of open-deck space to watch the world go by
  • You're traveling with a multi-generational group of people
  • You dislike feeling herded around or standing in long queues
  • You're looking for educationally minded entertainment options
  • You are put off by loud, nonstop events and productions

5 Night Cruise to the Mexican Riviera

  • You want a big ship with lots of classy fun for all ages
  • You enjoy live music and plenty of enrichment activities
  • You're happy with good quality service and a relaxing vibe
  • You enjoy strolling on a true wraparound promenade deck
  • You miss the more intimate feeling of the line's smaller ships

4 Night Cruise to the Western Caribbean

  • You want to be wowed by glitzy, Vegas-style attractions
  • You need plenty of exciting activities and nonstop nights
  • You are traveling as a family and need something for everyone
  • You want cutting-edge design and all the latest features
  • You dislike crowds and additional charges; both are here
  • You want a bevvy of dining, lounge and entertainment options
  • You love being outdoors; The Waterfront promenade is a winner
  • You like lavish suites and well-appointed cabin options
  • You don't want to pay extra for some of the ship's best features
  • You dislike crowds for shows and popular top-deck activities

4 Night Cruise to the Middle East

  • You want a European-style cruise on a contemporary ship
  • You like easy-to-navigate ships with plenty of cozy nooks
  • You enjoy traveling with an international mix of passengers
  • You want the jaw-dropping diversions on MSC's newer ships
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Perfect Day Coco Cay Family Swimming


Vacation with the family.

Trying to plan the ultimate family vacation? Royal Caribbean offers thrills for everyone onboard

Pulling off the perfect family vacation isn’t always easy, especially when you’re trying to cater to different ages and preferences. Fortunately, Royal Caribbean is known for delivering great family getaways designed to wow guests across multiple generations. Every ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet is packed with palate-pleasing dining options, incredible entertainment, and unforgettable activities for all ages included in your cruise fare — not to mention itineraries that take you to some of the world’s most adventure-filled shores. The best part? All the planning has been taking care of for you, so you can focus on bonding with your loved ones while doing as much or as little as you like. 

Arrivals Plaza Perfect Day at Coco Cay Aerial


Your next family getaway is a click away — where will you wander next?

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Family watching out for whales on an Alaskan Cruise


Family-friendly vacation destinations are always on the itinerary when you sail with Royal Caribbean®. From thrill-topping island hopping to exploring the Last Frontier, max memories like never before onboard the best family cruise ships in the world.

Perfect Day at Coco Cay Family at Oasis Lagoon

cococay getaway

Kick family bonding up a notch at Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas — voted Best Private Island Experience by Travel Weekly readers. Turn up the thrills, like conquering Daredevil’s Peak®, the tallest waterslide in North America. Or unplug and chill along Oasis Lagoon®, the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean.


Aerial view of Labadee beach, Haiti. The Caribbean. Caption: Catch a bird's eye view of some of Labadee's beautiful beaches.


Sun-kissed shores are yours to explore. Build epic castles on the pink sand beaches of Barbados . Splash into the turquoise waters of Curaçao. Or wander through legendary forts in Puerto Rico . No one does kid-friendly cruises better than Royal Caribbean® — the cruise line voted Best Overall for 20 years running by Travel Weekly readers.


Alaska Juneau Glacier Couple


Discover the magic of Alaska, where snowcapped mountains, towering forests and misty fjords dare you to deny their majesty. Spot bears hunting for salmon in Tongass National Forest. Listen to the thunderous roar of Hubbard Glacier . And cross once-in-a-lifetime experiences off your list together — on one unforgettable journey.


Aaerial view of the Arch, El Arco, in Cabo San Lucas. Mexico.


Nothing fuels bolder bonding like an epic adventure with your squad. Set out from L.A. on the family vacation you’ve been waiting for onboard the best cruises for kids. From whale-watching in Ensenada to post-card pretty shores in Puerto Vallarta and lounging on Cabo’s world-famous beaches — make memories that last a lifetime.



Cruise Planner is the place to get the most out of your adventure. Securing reservations and purchasing packages before you sail lets you score the best savings available anywhere. Add peace of mind to the mix — and you’re ready for big adventure. 

Icon of the Seas Night Sailing Render


Icon of the Seas Aerial Bow Angle Render


From record breaking rides — like the tallest slide at sea — to dining that offers a taste of every culture and shows that will leave you in awe, being onboard a Royal Caribbean ship makes the journey as bold as the destinations you’ll visit.

Symphony of the Seas Splashaway Bay Group of Kids


Each ship offers endless ways for families to fill their sea days. Think epic experiences like a plunge down the tallest slide at sea, Ultimate Abyss℠, and glow-in-the-dark laser tag battles that are bound to boost your adrenaline. Sun-soaked pool parties and hang ten sessions on the FlowRider® surf simulator. A round of Mini Golf with a side of sea views and a rushing zip line ride ten stories above deck — and that’s barely scratching the surface.


Mother and Son Dinning at Giovanni's Table


With so many delicious dining options onboard, everyone in your family will find something to satisfy their cravings in between adventures. From the endless selection of complimentary flavors at Windjammer Café and family-friendly feasting with My Family Time Dining at the Main Dining Room, to specialty restaurants that take you from the Far East to Italy to Wonderland, there’s something to please every taste onboard.


Mamma Mia Broadway Show Three Women Singing


Every night is an opportunity for the whole family to enjoy some of the best entertainment at sea. Dazzling original productions and fan favorites straight from Broadway, deck-defying high dives and aerial stunts at the AquaTheater, and the coolest moves you’ve ever seen on ice at the skating rink — you’ll quickly discover that on these ships, every performance is a show-stopper.


Ultimate Family Suite Bunk Beds

room for everyone

Finding your crew’s just-right stay-place is easy, with spacious rooms designed with families in mind. Choose from rooms with endless ocean views or suites with wrap-around balconies. And if you’re craving next-level luxury, the first-ever Ultimate Family Townhouse on  Icon of the Seas℠ maxes the memories with three tiers of unbelievable amenities and direct access to the Surfside℠ neighborhood from your private patio.


Two 70 Sonic Odyssey Show Entertainment


Who says a family vacation has to be all about the kids? While the young ones are off exploring onboard or having a blast at the award-winning Adventure Ocean youth program, reconnect with your partner over dinner at one of the fleet’s world class specialty restaurants, catch a Broadway spectacular in the Main Theater, or get down on the dance floor to the sounds of a DJ or a talented live band.

Navigator of the Seas Adventure Ocean


Craving a little grownup time? Both Adventure Ocean and the Royal Babies & Tots programs provide care and educational activities for kids in different age groups. Adventure Ocean also offers a Late Night Party Zone group sitting for children ages 3-11 between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., so you can enjoy a stress-free adults-only night out on deck.


Giovanni's Italian Kitchen Couple Enjoying Olives and Wine


While the kids are at play, indulge in the ultimate date night with your partner in adventure. Kick things off with a dinner to remember, followed by a glass of your favorite wine at Vintages or a singalong session at Schooner Bar. Then keep the party going long into the night at a live stand-up comedy show before you take a whirl on the dancefloor at Club Twenty.



Miami Beach Buildings



Texas Galveston Carnival Pier


WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO Don’t sweat the details — they’re all taken care of so you can focus on making lifelong family memories.

Family vacations should be stress-free, and Royal Caribbean makes it easy to fuel your wanderlust without worry. You can book unforgettable  shore excursions , onboard activities and shows online before you board, making the planning process a breeze. Once you’re on deck, you’ll enjoy award winning service by dedicated staff members that strive to meet every request, whether you’re traveling with special needs or just looking for ways to celebrate a special occasion onboard.

You can even get started customizing every aspect of your vacation from the moment you book. Browse and save big on onshore experiences, beverage and specialty dining packages, spa treatments and more when you reserve in advance online through  Cruise Planner . That way, you can go straight to enjoying your vacation as soon as you come aboard the ship.

Family surfing at the beach HP Jumbotron 1920 1080 FAM NF 2x

Perfect Summer Getaways for the Best Family Vacations

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Perfect Day at Coco Cay Kids After Mat Racer Slides

Family Vacatiosn Ideas for Cruises Everyone Will Love

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Adventure Ocean Boy Playing inside Tunnel

How to pack for a Family Cruise

A Mom's Foolproof Packing Tips for a Family Cruise....

Many of the attractions onboard require closed-toed shoes and socks, so pack accordingly.

Even if you’re on a summer sailing to the tropics, pack a sweater if you plan to use the ice skating rink.

Luggage might not arrive in your stateroom until later. Pack a swimsuit in your carry-on so you can dive into adventure early.


Fill every minute with everything you love, anytime you want. Indulge in gourmet globetrotting, applaud show-stopping entertainment, and take on fleet favorites like rock climbing and the FlowRider® surf simulator, plus so much more!



ID independence of the seas escape room venue


Odyssey of the Seas Friends Entering Zone Zero Virtual Reality


Man sliding down on The Perfect Storm


Adventure Ocean Workshop Girls working on Craft Activities


Flowrider Girl | Hero


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Kids Cruises

Cruise lines know all about family vacations. They know it wouldn't be the same without the little ones right alongside you, but they also know parents like to have some time to themselves. Imagine being able to bask in the sun, enjoy an exercise class or dance the night away in one of the ship's clubs. And imagine your children, at the same time, meeting new friends and participating in activities with other kids their age. And best of all, they're having as much fun as you are! Cruiselines have gone the extra mile to make family vacations memorable without sacrificing a little romance along the way.

A cruise will appeal to the entire family. You'll never hear, "I'm bored," from your kids or your spouse! There are enough activities to go around for everyone, whether parents, toddlers or teens. The fun is as endless as the sea you're sailing.

Carnival Cruises

Carnival Cruises are known as the Fun Ships® which makes them ideal for families. Their kids program offers a variety of programs filled with activities, kid's menus and everything to make a fun and memorable cruise experience. Outdoor movies, theme parties, ocean bingo, group and individual art projects, building a new best friend at the Beary Cuddly Workshop and more await your young cruisers in age - based, supervised groups.

Celebrity Cruises

A Celebrity Cruise offers the perfect getaway for kids and adults alike. Kids of all ages will be entertained with a variety of activities including movies, games, sports, and much more. Celebrity's award winning ships are the ideal setting for a family cruise vacation. Your family will enjoy crafts, theme parties, sports activities, gaming challenges, video projects and other special events. With a variety of family oriented activities, the whole family can play as well.

Costa Cruises

Costa Cruises celebrates family vacations. Younger travelers will love the creative and edutainment activities. Painting t-shirts, sculpting, ice cream and chocolate parties, treasure hunts and more are on the agenda. Pre-teens and teens enjoy sporting tournaments including water volleyball, water basketball and more. There will also be International karaoke, talent shows and dance classes and group dinners.

Crystal Cruises

Crystal Cruises makes sure that families enjoy their luxury cruise experience. Summer and holiday cruises include a supervised Junior Activities program for kids. On these sailings, kids receive their own daily newsletter based on their age group, this way they can make their plans for the next day. Activities may include scavenger hunts, trivia, water polo, late night pool parties, karaoke, crafts, video arcade and more.

Disney Cruises

Disney Cruise Line provides a magical experience for the entire family. The perfect activities are provided to allow young imaginations to run free. Kids, tweens and teens will find all types of interactive fun onboard. Dining, art, costume parties, comedy improv, dance parties, high tech entertainment and many other fun and challenging entertainment options await younger cruisers.

Holland America Cruises

Holland America Cruises provide a sophisticated and entertaining vacation for the entire family. Age appropriate, fun and educational activities for kids are available. From treasure and scavenger hunts to ice cream socials, teen-only programming, cooking, hip hop classes and much more you can be assured that your younger family members are having a great time.

MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises uses its experience as a family oriented company to provide the perfect roster of entertainment and activities for your entire family. Whether you spend your time participating in fun for everyone or the kids want to meet and socialize with new friends their own age, the stage has been set. Your family will love the supervised parties, dinners, arts and crafts, group games, dance classes, sports tournaments, talent shows and more.

Norwegian Cruises

Norwegian Cruise Line makes family cruises an unforgettable experience. Activities range from exciting to relaxing, are age appropriate, supervised and family friendly. Teen dance clubs, Circus School, cupcake decorating, themed parties, creative activities, sports challenges, bowling, mini golf, waterslides and more are available for your favorite cruisers.

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises provides the perfect vacation for the entire family. Younger travelers will enjoy a variety of supervised and fun activities in their own designated spaces. Game tables, art projects, themed parties, kids-only dinners, dance parties, karaoke, scavenger hunts and more will keep everyone entertained on your cruise.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Regent Seven Seas Cruises offers youth programming on summer and holiday sailings. Fun and educational activities will include games, craft projects, bingo, Mariner Idol, scrapbooking, sports tournaments and other interactive opportunities for young cruisers. Your kids will make memories and friends to last a lifetime.

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean's youth and teen programs, are chock full of fun for everyone. There's even a special program for babies and parents. Kids will enjoy conducting exciting experiments, themed parties, ice skating, parades, fun interactions and shows, trivia, teen spa, poolside games, FlowRider, rock climbing walls and much more.


Uniworld bestows the opportunity to immerse one's self in destinations visited on the entire family. Younger guests will enjoy special menus, and hands on cooking experiences. Activities will be found both onboard and ashore including Venetian mask making, treasure hunts, gondola rowing, ghost walks, cable car rides and visiting the famed Lipizzaner stallions. These memories will last a lifetime.

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  • Cruises for Families

5 Major Cruise Lines That Offer Short Cruises for Families

Cruise Ship; Courtesy of NAPA/Shutterstock.com

March 8, 2019

See recent posts by Courtney Elko

Just because you’re limited on vacation time or budget doesn’t mean you can’t experience a cruise with your family! Or, maybe you’re not keen on the idea of cruising and want to test it out before committing to a week-long sailing. Many cruise lines offer short sailings—between two to four days in length—with a lot of the same perks you’d find on a long sailing; you just won’t see as many destinations. Want to plan a quick cruise getaway? Choose one of these cruise lines that offer short cruises for families. To keep costs down, choose a cruise port near you or try to score cheap airfare  to the departure port of your choice.

Disney Cruise Line Dream at Castaway Cay; Courtesy of Courtney Elko

Best Short Cruises for Families: Disney Cruise Line

Disney offers two-, three- and four-night sailings, including short holiday-themed cruises for Halloween and Christmas.

Departure Ports:  Texas, Florida, Louisiana, California, British Columbia

Destinations:  Mexico, Texas, Bahamas, Disney Castaway Cay, Louisiana, Florida, Canada, California

Why Sail:  While Disney Cruise Line doesn’t offer a large variety of short cruises, it’s the ship experience that steals the show. The kids’ clubs, for babies to teens, are fantastic, with themed areas and experiences inspired by Toy Story, Marvel, Star Wars and more. The nightly theater shows are of Broadway caliber, with the cast and production wowing adults just as much as kids. Disney characters are always roaming the ship, greeting families and taking photos. The adults-only areas are surprisingly serene, as well. And if you decide to sail to the Bahamas, you’ll get to experience Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island. No other cruise line makes a stop at this stunning paradise, where you’ll find snorkeling opportunities, on-island kids’ and teen clubs, waterslides, bike rentals, a lunch buffet (included in cruise rates), and beautiful beaches for both families and adults.

Cost:  The only downside? Rates start around $2,100 for a stateroom that sleeps two adults and two children, for a two-day cruise.

Related:  Are Short Disney Cruises Worth the Price?

Seuss at Sea on Carnival Cruise Line' Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

Best Short Cruises for Families: Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line offers two-, three- and four-night short cruises.

Departure Ports: Florida, California, Louisiana, South Carolina, Texas, New York

Destinations: Florida, Bahamas, California, Mexico, Catalina Island, Louisiana, South Carolina, Turks and Caicos, Texas, Cuba, New York, Bermuda

Why Sail: Dr. Seuss is the main man with green eggs and ham on Carnival Cruise Line ! Parades, story times, character meet-and-greets, and yes, a green eggs and ham breakfast, are part of the fun for young kids. Other perks include the SkyRide and IMAX Thrill Theaters on select ships, plus waterslides and water parks, nightly entertainment, kids’ clubs and adults-only areas. Some of the staterooms can sleep up to five people, too.

Cost: On average, rates start around $137 per person for a two-night cruise.


Best Short Cruises for Families: Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean offers two-, three- and four-night cruises departing from a large variety of locations, with deals on last-minute and weekend cruises . Two-night options are limited, but include a cruise from Sydney, Australia, and a two-night cruise to the Bahamas from Miami.

Departure Ports:  Australia, Florida, Italy, England, Singapore, British Columbia, Texas, China

Destinations:  Italy, Singapore, Malaysia, England, Belgium, Netherlands, Bahamas, Florida, Haiti, France, Spain, British Columbia, Alaska, Australia, Texas, Mexico, Thailand, Cuba, China, Japan, Vietnam

Why Sail:  Families can easily see a little bit of everything when taking a short cruise with Royal Caribbean , and the onboard ship experiences just keep getting better with each new ship. Think waterslides, bumper cars, ziplining, and skydiving simulators! The ships also provide fantastic entertainment and kids’ programming. In May 2019, Royal Caribbean will open its highly anticipated Perfect Day at Coco Cay, an exclusive, private-island experience, and some of the line’s short cruises will include a visit to the island!

Cost: Rates start at $358 average per person for a three-day cruise, for a stateroom with two adults and two children.

Related:  10 Over-the-Top Cruise Ship Experiences for Families

Go Karts on Norwegian Cruise Line Joy; Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Best Short Cruises for Families: Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line offers three- and four-day short cruises at affordable rates.

Departure Ports: Spain, Florida, Boston, Italy, New York

Destinations: Spain, Italy, France, Florida, Bahamas, Mexico, Cuba, Boston, Bermuda, New York

Why Sail: Babies on up to teens can enjoy the kids’ programs, where they can learn to juggle, play dodgeball or just hang out with other kids their age. On Norwegian Bliss, you’ll also find outdoor laser tag and go-karts! Family accommodations are available on many ships and include multi-room suites, mini-suites and interconnecting staterooms that can sleep families of all sizes. Bonus: Norwegian is offering a Free at Sea promotion that allows families to choose up to five complimentary offers: free unlimited open bar, free shore excursions, free specialty dining, free Wi-Fi and an opportunity for friends and family to sail free on select sailings, which include some short cruises.

Cost:  On average, rates start around $250 per person for a three-day cruise.

LEGO Experience on MSC Cruises; Courtesy of MSC Cruises

Best Short Cruises for Families: MSC Cruise Line

MSC offers the shortest of short cruises with two-day, one-night options in Europe. Two-, three- and four-night short cruise options are also available with MSC. The one- and two-night cruise itineraries embark and disembark in different cities, however.

Departure Ports: France, Italy, Spain, Germany, South Africa, Florida, Japan, Portugal

Destinations:  France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Croatia, South Africa, Monaco, Mozambique, United Kingdom, Slovenia, Florida, Bahamas, Japan, China, Montenegro, Portugal

Why Sail: The majority of MSC’s short cruises are available in Europe, Asia and Africa at an inexpensive rate—so inexpensive that kids sail free on select sailings with two paying adults in the same stateroom! The port destinations and short duration cruises allow families to see parts of the world that may be easier to manage and more affordable by cruise ship. MSC Cruises also offers LEGO-themed programming for young kids.

Cost: Rates start around $35 per person for a one-night cruise in a double occupancy stateroom.

Related:  4 Cruise Lines That Are Letting Kids Sail Free in 2019

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Best Cruise Lines for Families

Finding a cruise vacation that meets the needs of every family member can be tough. While you may be in search of some

Finding a cruise vacation that meets the needs of every family member can be tough. While you may be in search of some peace and quiet, the kids will probably be eager to play. To help you find a cruise that fits your family's needs, U.S. News ranked the best cruise lines for families using a methodology that factors in health ratings, reputation among experts and approval among families with both younger and older kids.

Read Best Cruises Methodology

Find Cruises

Call to plan a cruise: 1-833-468-6732

with a cruise advisor

5 day cruise kid friendly

Disney Cruise Line

From its signature Mickey's Sail-A-Wave Party to its pirate-themed dinners, Disney attracts passengers looking for a full roster of entertainment options. Passengers can enjoy kid-friendly dining venues and amenities, plus visits from Disney characters like Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Pluto. The line's cruise ships also offer adults-only dining areas, quiet pool spots and nightlife options.

  • 4.46 Overall Rating
  • 5 Ships in Fleet

5 day cruise kid friendly

Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean offers onboard amenities and a variety of sailings that cater to cruisers of all ages. Some of the line's cruise ships feature rock climbing walls and ice rinks, while others boast zip lines, bumper cars and waterslides. Every ship also hosts fun and educational programs for kids and teens, plus a variety of evening shows, bars and lounges for older travelers.

  • 4.17 Overall Rating
  • 25 Ships in Fleet

5 day cruise kid friendly

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival's frequent sales and budget-friendly fares mean you and your cruising crew can save some money on a voyage filled with family-friendly perks. Cruise ships are outfitted with water parks, basketball courts and ropes courses to entertain kids of all ages. Meanwhile, grown-ups can head to the spa, the casino or the Serenity Adult-Only Retreat.

  • 3.90 Overall Rating

5 day cruise kid friendly

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian greets families with colorful cruise ships, ample onboard amenities and children's clubs. While adults are relaxing at the spa or gambling at the casino, kids can attend supervised youth programs where they can learn to juggle, enjoy arts and crafts or attend themed parties. Plus, children's menus are available in all of the line's restaurants, including specialty eateries.

  • 3.97 Overall Rating
  • 19 Ships in Fleet

5 day cruise kid friendly

MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises' ships feature kids and teen clubs with activities like LEGO games, dance classes and sports tournaments. What's more, the whole family can enjoy onboard swimming pools and waterslides (on select ships). Families can also purchase the MSC Fun Pass to access special amenities like flight simulators, a bowling alley and the XD Interactive Cinema.

  • 3.79 Overall Rating
  • 22 Ships in Fleet

Disclaimers about ship ratings: A ship’s Health Rating is based on vessel inspection scores published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If a ship did not receive a CDC score within 22 months prior to the calculation of its Overall Rating, its Health Rating appears as N/A; in such a case, the ship’s Overall Rating is calculated using the average Health Rating of all CDC-rated ships within the cruise line. All ship Traveler Ratings are based on ratings provided under license by Cruiseline.com.

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

5 day cruise kid friendly

8 Best Cruise Lines for Kids and Families [2023]

Updated : October 31, 2023

AAA Travel Editors

Table of contents.

  • Adventures by Disney with Amawaterways
  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • MSC Cruises
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Princess Cruises
  • Royal Caribbean

Plan Your Family Cruise with AAA

Parents know that traveling with kids is often more of a “trip” than a vacation — keeping all the kids entertained and fed can be a full-time job. But these eight cruise lines for kids and families make it a little easier for everyone to relax and have a good time. 

Knowing how to choose a cruise line can be tricky, especially for first-timers bringing the entire family along. AAA Travel has been booking with our cruise partners for decades, and we know what to look for in kid-friendly cruises. 

Discover these kid-friendly cruise lines and check out our list of tips for cruising with kids to create amazing memories for the whole family.

1. Adventures by Disney with Amawaterways

5 day cruise kid friendly

  • Asia Pacific
  • Central and South America
  • North America
  • AAA partnership: Yes
  • $200 per stateroom savings plus Welcome Amenity on cruises less than seven nights
  • $300 per stateroom savings plus Welcome Amenity on cruises seven to 11 nights
  • $600 per stateroom savings plus Welcome Amenity on cruises of 14+ nights
  • Europe Cruises: Bottle of wine and box of chocolates
  • Asia & Africa Cruises: $50 per stateroom onboard spending credit
  • Egypt Cruises: $50 per stateroom onboard spending credit
  • What makes it great: Adventures by Disney cruises travel to over 40 destinations with adventure guides to help you explore new places and immerse yourself in the culture, all with the magic you expect from Disney.

You wouldn’t think of a European river cruise as a family-friendly vacation, but Adventures by Disney is just that. The cruise line has exclusive family river cruises onboard AmaWaterways that make it not only possible, but fun!

Itineraries offer a variety of experiences for parents, children and teens. Adults will enjoy active excursions, wine tastings and tours of castles and museums. Disney movie nights are perfect for junior adventurers.

Onboard entertainment includes a nightly piano lounge, baking classes for kids, karaoke nights and more. Adventure guides and local experts tell stories about the people, culture and traditions of each place you visit. Sailings are in the heart of Europe on the Seine, Rhône, Danube and Rhine rivers.

2. Carnival Cruise Line

5 day cruise kid friendly

AAA/Inspector 511

  • Canada & New England
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Greenland & Canada
  • New Zealand
  • Panama Canal
  • Papua New Guinea
  • South Pacific
  • Transatlantic
  • Transpacific
  • AAA partnership: No
  • AAA member benefit: None available
  • What makes it great: Cheaper fares make family cruising budget-friendly . Plus, your kids will love the 24/7 pizza on most ships.

Carnival Cruise Line is on our list of kid-friendly cruises for their youth programs, offered for kids ages 2 to 17. The cruise line is one of the best for teens.

“Suess at Sea” features a character parade, interactive story time and breakfasts with Dr. Suess characters. The “Night Owls” program for kids under 12 lets them stay up as late as 1 a.m. with others their age. “Hasbro, The Game Show” invites families to play giant versions of Connect 4, Yahtzee and other games on stage to win prizes.

Ships feature onboard pools, water parks and mini golf. Some ships also include a ropes course and Skyride — a two-lane suspended course that lets you pedal a “bike” high above the ship.

3. Celebrity Cruises

5 day cruise kid friendly

  • Australia & New Zealand
  • Mediterranean
  • Pacific Coastal
  • South America
  • AAA member benefit: Onboard credit per stateroom ($25 for outside, $50 for balcony, $75 for Concierge Class and above) valid for all departures three nights or longer except Galapagos products
  • What makes it great: Select ships partner with the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science to offer STEM programming for kids and teens so they can learn while they play.

From family-friendly excursions to the Camp at Sea kids program, there’s plenty of family fun on a Celebrity Cruise .

Camp at Sea provides programming for kids ages 3-17, and the program changes daily, so kids will never experience a repeat program. Older kids can hang in Xbox-themed teen areas and get a spa treatment at the teens-only spa, while kids of all ages can participate in trivia contests and Junior Olympics competitions.

Celebrity knows that the excitement of a cruise ship can be overwhelming for some kids, so they also offer sensory- and autism-friendly programs and services on their ships. 

Search Celebrity Cruises

4. Disney Cruise Line

5 day cruise kid friendly


  • British Isles
  • Western Caribbean
  • Eastern Caribbean
  • Mexican Riviera
  • New Zealand & Australia
  • Northern Europe
  • Norwegian Fjords
  • Pacific Coast
  • Southern Caribbean
  • What makes it great: Experience the magic of Disney without the theme park lines — meet your favorite characters, see nightly fireworks shows and enjoy phenomenal dining experiences.

Everyone in the family is sure to find fun things to do aboard a Disney cruise. You can dance with Disney characters at family parties, take part in family game shows and watch fireworks on themed nights.

See Disney shows live on stage or watch movies in 3D. Clubs for kids feature characters from Disney, the Marvel Universe and Star Wars. Meet-and-greets give kids the opportunity to get autographs from their favorite Disney characters.

The cruise line offers fun pools, water slides and “water coasters” onboard, and there are plenty of kid-friendly options on the dinner menu.

Search Disney Cruises

5. MSC Cruises

5 day cruise kid friendly

  • Dubai, Abu Dhabi & Qatar
  • Egypt, Red Sea & Saudi Arabia
  • Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve
  • South Africa
  • Transatlantic 
  • What makes it great: The prepaid My Smart Card allows kids to buy snacks, drinks and arcade games without bothering you.

MSC Cruises is a popular family-owned European-based cruise line that knows cruising with kids can be expensive. They offer Family Cabins and Super Family Cabins that charge per room rather than by guest, so you can bring the entire family. Kids under 2 always sail for free, and kids under 18 sail free on select voyages.

MSC offers four age-based kids clubs: 

  • Baby Club (up to age 2)
  • Mini Club (ages 3 to 6)
  • Juniors Club (ages 7 to 11)
  • Teen Club (ages 12 to 17)

Kids and teens will love the LEGO and Chicco-themed activities available in the kids and teen clubs. The entire family can also play in one of the ships’ splash zones or pools or participate in the Family Explorer Program with interactive educational shore excursions.

If you have infants, MSC Cruises offers a special baby laundry service to wash infant clothing separately in a dedicated machine for added peace of mind.

6. Norwegian Cruise Line

5 day cruise kid friendly

  • Greek Isles
  • What makes it great: Kids under 12 eat free at onboard specialty restaurants if they order from the kids’ menu.

Norwegian’s “freestyle” approach to cruising makes cruising with kids as stress-free as possible. With no set dining times, assigned seating or dress codes, eat when the kids are hungry, not when the ship’s schedule tells you to.

Splash Academy entertains kids ages 3 to 12 with age-appropriate arts and crafts and other activities, while teens ages 13 to 17 can relax in the Entourage club, complete with video games and a teens-only nightclub in the evening. Some ships also have go-kart tracks and VR playgrounds.

Five of Norwegian’s ships partner with Nickelodeon, so check out character-themed events like Dora’s Dance Party and breakfast.

7. Princess Cruises

5 day cruise kid friendly

Ruth Peterkin/iStockphoto.com

  • California Coast
  • South America & Antarctica
  • Tahiti & South Pacific
  • AAA member benefit: Reduced deposit (as low as $50 per person) and a complimentary Princess Medallion clip (first two guests in the stateroom) during quarterly cruise sales
  • What makes it great: Age-specific kids clubs keep kids ages 3-17 busy with age-appropriate activities, and you can track kids’ whereabouts on the ship with the MedallionClass app.

No matter the age, children will find plenty to do on Princess Cruises. The cruise line has programming for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and even 18- to 20-year-olds. Experience unique Discovery™ and Animal Planet™ shore excursions. Activities include meet-and-greet gatherings such as “Puppies on the Piazza” on Alaska cruises or “Parrots in the Piazza” on Caribbean cruises.

Discovery at Sea™ theme days feature activities inspired by Shark Week and Animal Planet. Kids can take part in Animal Planet Endangered Species and Glacier Bay Jr. Ranger programs. They can also make Animal Planet puppets, masks and paintings inspired by regional wildlife.

Princess offers stargazing on the top deck with an expert guide to show you all the stars and planets. Group babysitting is available for children ages 3 to 12 so parents can spend a day in port or savor a relaxing dinner for two. Kids-only dinners are offered on select nights, and teens have their own special dinner in a reserved section of the dining room on formal nights.

Search Princess Cruises

8. Royal Caribbean

5 day cruise kid friendly

Royal Caribbean International

  • Cozumel & Cancun
  • Greece & The Greek Isles
  • AAA member benefit: Receive one complimentary 8x10 onboard print or digital photograph per stateroom on any seven-night or longer sailing when booking a balcony and suite stateroom category.
  • What makes it great: Kids 12 and under sail for free during select sail dates, and many ships offer family-friendly staterooms and floor plans.

Royal Caribbean’s award-winning Adventure Ocean® Youth Program will keep kids and teens busy. Teens can hang out at Fuel, a club just for them with a soda fountain, computers and a dance floor. The Living Room offers a teen lounge area with movies, games and a live DJ.

While the kids are having a blast with new friends, Mom and Dad can relax in the Solarium, a tranquil, adults-only covered retreat with whirlpools.

The whole family will delight in hit Broadway shows including “Grease” and “Mamma Mia!” plus aqua shows, ice-skating shows, parades and parties on the Royal Promenade. Other activities include a surf simulator, a rock climbing wall, mini golf, a skydiving simulator and multilevel waterslides. Select ships have the first-ever carousel at sea.

After a day of fun adventures, relax with family-friendly dining. Expedited service for kids allows them to be picked up by staff so parents can enjoy a leisurely dinner.

Search Royal Caribbean Cruises

5 day cruise kid friendly

AAA Travel offers exclusive benefits and amenities for members . From stateroom savings to onboard spending credit, your local AAA Travel Agent can provide you with the best available offer and help you select the perfect family cruise.

Visit your local AAA Travel Agent or book now with Trip Canvas .

AAA Travel Editors are AAA Travel Experts.

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Kids Cruises

Jump into the fun today!


Make memories your whole family will cherish forever with a Carnival kids cruise.

From all the latest video games to amazing family-friendly shore excursions and itineraries, there’s no way your kids will be wanting the best family holiday they have ever had to end.

Carnival Cruise Line activities are perfect for all age groups and feature special clubs so they can hang out with kids their own age and make friends for life.

Oh, and don’t forget to have some fun while your kids are occupied!


We have the perfect thing for you and for your kids, and it’s called “Night Owls™”! For a nominal fee, kids 11 and under can fun it up with others their age until as late as 12am.

Find out more on Night Owls™ .

At Camp Ocean ® , 2–11 year-olds stay busy, keep active and have fun as they enjoy all new ocean-themed activities and entertainment made for kids.

Find out more on Camp Ocean ® .

This is where young teens ages 12 to 14 go to hang out, meet new friends, and enjoy some pretty awesome activities like dance parties, games, outdoor movies and more, in the special Circle “C” area or around the ship.

Find out more on Circle "C" .

Where to? Club O2. Hang out and do stuff like watch movies, listen to music from this decade, play sports and video games, join karaoke jam sessions… maybe even have a pool party or two, all with other high schoolers aged 15 to 17.

Find out more on Club O2 .

All kids clubs are free until 9pm.

Enjoy Adult fun in total comfort!

Delight in a cocktail poolside or a delicious dinner at Fahrenheit 555, with our award winning Kids Clubs taking care of your children.

Commonly Asked Questions

What is the best cruise for kids.

A cruise ship is perfect for everyone – kids, families, singles, and couples. But when it comes to kids, we go the extra mile. Here’s a few cruise deals that, between the onboard activities and the shore excursions, are perfect for kids:

  • Family cruises
  • School holiday cruises
  • Easter cruises
  • Weekend cruises
  • Getaway cruises
  • Short cruises
  • Great Barrier Reef cruises

At what age can kids start cruising?

Kids must be at least 6 months old to sail with most cruise lines, and 12 months old on trans-ocean trips to remote locations.

Are cruises good with kids?

Cruises to and from Australia are great for kids of all ages. At Carnival, we offer age-specific Kids Clubs so they have fun with kids their own age. Our cruise kids clubs include:

  • Camp Ocean. Kids aged 2 to 11 enjoy ocean-themed activities.
  • Night Owls. Kids 11 and under have fun until midnight.
  • Circle C. 12-14 year-olds catch up and enjoy a heap of activities.
  • Club 02. For kids aged 15 to 17 to meet, greet, and hang out.

What are cruise activities for kids?

With more than 45 activities onboard, there’s a lot of specific kid-friendly activities that will keep them entertained for yours. Here’s just a few:

  • Water works
  • Warehouse Arcade
  • Dive-in movies

They’ll be able to keep going and going with a big range of yummy dining options (and ice cream, of course!).

How do you book a family cruise package with kids?

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  • South Pacific
  • Great Barrier Reef

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