6 family-friendly cruise lines for a multi-generation cruise

Family. The one thing you value above all else. And what better way to spend time together than on a family cruise? It’s a perfect way to get the whole family together in one place, and here we look at the best family-friendly cruise lines.

On a family cruise, you never need to compromise. You decide exactly how you want to live, where to eat, and how to spend your days. Multi-generation cruising does offer something for everyone.

Multi-generation cruising is more popular than ever before

Cruising takes on a whole new meaning when traveling with your family group. Multi-generation cruising is a growing trend as you discover what great value for money your family cruise offers. From youngest to oldest, you can be together as much as you please or take time for yourself on board. You can always meet up at the end of the day for those family dinners or nights at the theatre. 

On a family cruise, kids and adults have many activities to choose from. Adults can feel like kids again, and the kids are creatively entertained from dawn until dusk! It’s also a fantastic way for grandparents to make memories with their grandchildren. And parents get a welcome break when grandparents can enjoy activities with the kids in a fun environment.

Wake up in a new port every day.

In addition to having a great time onboard, each day offers an opportunity to see something new together. Each day, stepping off the cruise ship and into a new port is just fantastic. You travel to a new city while you sleep and wake up to new sights and sounds daily. Multi-generation cruising allows you to create these memories for life with the people who mean the most to you. 

Whether exploring by yourselves or with a group excursion, the sights, and sounds of a new destination ensure variety. The anticipation of meeting the locals, tasting fresh foods, and trying out new activities add to one unforgettable day. Times that by at least seven, and who can deny that a multi-generation cruising holiday is anything but fabulous?

Choosing cabins on the best family-friendly cruise lines

Cruise lines offer more family cabins and combined cabins than ever before. That means your family can select cabins that suit your budget. You can combine premium cabins – for example, grandma and grandpa, who may have a bigger budget – with standard family cabins. All while still living close by one another in the same area of the ship.

Things to consider before you book your multi-generation cruise

Which family members will live together in one cabin? You may decide you need, for example, two cabins that sleep four quests in each and two cabins that sleep two guests each. Tell your cruise consultant you are flexible, though other configurations may suit you and your pocket. For example, imagine if you are eight family members traveling together. Do you book a 2-bedroom suite for four guests plus a balcony room for four guests? Compare this to 4 cabins with two guests each, and you could get a much better price.

Do you need interconnecting doors on your family cruise? These cabins are great for adults with teenagers. You can be close but do not need to be all squeezed together in one cabin. Our tip is if you are a family of 4 sharing a cabin and the kids are young adults, book a family balcony cabin. You will be glad of the extra 4-6 square meters of space a balcony gives you.

Multi-generation cruising – cabin choice matters.

What kind of cabin do you want? You choose between inside cabins, window cabins, balcony cabins, or suites. Price will play a significant factor here. But sometimes, the price difference between a balcony cabin and a window cabin can be minimal, depending on where on board the cabin is located. Look out for any special offers or campaigns the cruise line is running. 

Perhaps the senior members of your family will use a balcony more if they are relaxing in their cabin during the day or have a slower start to their mornings. At the same time, mums and dads with youngsters may not want a balcony at all, just a window. Teenagers sharing a room will most likely always be busy onboard. If they mainly use their cabin just for sleeping, perhaps an inside cabin without a window is enough, enabling you to save money.

Are there any parts of the ship you do not want to live close to? For example, a cabin close to elevators is excellent if you don’t want to walk so far. However, you may hear loud guests walking past at all hours. Cabins directly under pool decks or near the theatre can also be noisy. 

You may want to avoid cabins at the front of the ship where the anchor is located. And the engines are at the back of the ship, and vibrations will be louder in these areas.

What is important to you is important to the cruise line. They want to keep you happy, so make sure you talk to them about the best options to suit your family on your multi-generation cruise.

Our top pick of the six best family-friendly cruise lines

When looking for family-friendly cruise lines and cruises for large multi-generational families, you will find that the Caribbean and Mediterranean offer extensive popular itineraries.

The largest cruise ships have more facilities, larger pool areas, and more family-based excursions. They are hard to beat when there is something for everyone of all ages. And these cruise ships offer endless activities and countless ways to have fun on board.  

These cruise lines offer all this and much more:

  • Luxury cruise ships with fantastic amenities
  • Cabins to suit all family members
  • A vast array of activities for all ages
  • Awesome Kids Clubs

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

Royal Caribbean’s big new mega-ships have a vast range of activities. The cruise line ensures families have a great time and is ideal for family and multi-generational cruising. It offers everything from surfboarding, ziplining, and carousels to top Broadway musicals, ice-cream stations, and phenomenal water slides. It’s hard to go wrong with Royal Caribbean.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Freestyle cruising approach is a hit with families of all ages who love the flexibility and no dress code. Many NCL restaurants have flexible dining options, great kids’ clubs, and exciting water parks. You do not need to pre-book anything; you do what you like when you like.

Watch out for their prices, though, and compare with other cruise lines – the price jump from inside and window cabins up to balcony options can be extreme. Otherwise, be sure to try and get a deal with their extra Free at Sea packages when booking (wifi, open bar, excursions, specialty dining, and additional guests). The extras can all add up on board when you have many guests in your group.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival offers excellent value for money. Most major cruise lines in the world are centered purely on having fun and are very popular in the Caribbean. It’s an upbeat cruise line and very energetic, where every night is party night. Carnival Cruise Line has fun partnerships with some big brands, such as Dr. Zeuss.

MSC Cruises

MSC is a family-run cruise line based in Italy. On board, you will find a fantastic mix of multicultural guests, mainly from Europe, with six standard languages. The food in the buffet restaurants is Italian-inspired, and who doesn’t like a taste of Italy?

MSC Cruises is a well-priced cruise line with great prices for kids under 18. Their summer itineraries from northern Europe to beautiful Norway are fantastic. Ports of call in the Norwegian Fjords are outstanding and suited to teens and older kids who love the great outdoors. Choose MSC Cruises for your multi-generational cruising if your kids are teens or older.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney is the expert in kids’ entertainment, which is unrivaled for kids ages 4 to 11, to whom they cater the best. But you’ll always find the adult-only areas on board when you need a break! Disney offers suburb cruises, but prices can be high compared to, for example, Royal Caribbean.

P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises are relatively traditional in their style of cruising. This one is very popular with British families when looking for family-friendly cruise lines for multi-generational cruising. This is a good choice if you are traveling from a port in the UK, most likely on a cruise from Southampton. The ships are big, airy, and fun but still quite traditional in their style of cruising.

Meet the author: Sarah has created and booked hundreds of travel itineraries for thousands of customers during a career in the travel industry that spans 20 years. Having worked hand in hand with cruise lines, hotels, airlines and tour operators worldwide, she offers inspiring & detailed insights in the world of travel and tourism.

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