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    Family-Friendly Cruises—

    And One Just for Adults

    F1RST Selects

    Family-Friendly Cruises—And One Just for Adults

    With spas, waterparks, zip lines, kids clubs, restaurants, and entertainment ( to name a few!) cruises are the ultimate lots-of-options vacation, with the newest ships offering, even more to do and experience. Here are four cruise lines that are great for families and multi-gen trips—along with one for when you prefer to leave the kids at home. 








    If your vision of cruises involves tight quarters, show tunes, and a pool or two, think again. Ocean cruising, including the ships themselves, has come a long way in the last 30 years, and based on what we’re seeing and hearing from our industry partners and advisors, is only set to get better.

    That’s particularly true if you’re traveling with kids or going on a multi-generational trip. “Ocean cruising is great for lots of reasons. And on the top of that list is that they truly offer something for everyone,” says Shay Harrington, F1S VP of Sales & Partnerships. “Kids want water slides and video game tournaments? Ships have them. Grandparents looking to catch a musical or hit the casino? Entertainment is on a whole new level. You’re aiming for pool time and spa treatments? Definitely. The entire family wants to get together for nightly dinners? The culinary options are incredible these days.” Plus, cruises allow you to see a destination without the constant packing/unpacking, whether you choose an itinerary with lots of stops or deep-dive into a single place, like Alaska.

    And if you’re thinking about cruising, get ready for the best cruise-booking time of the year. January to March is what’s known as “wave season,” when cruise lines offer some of their best deals. (Think: reduced fares, onboard credits). Pair that with the already great perks you get when working with an F1S advisor, and you’re more than ahead of the game.   

    Here, we’re introducing you to a few of the newest ships and most innovative offerings on some of our favorite cruise lines—all with families in mind. Plus, we tapped F1S advisors to offer their must-know tips for first-timers (that even long-time cruisers can benefit from!). Read on before setting sail:

    One of the culinary experiences for families through Celebrity Cruises’ Camp at Sea program.

    Celebrity Cruises

    Refined, but by no means stuffy, Celebrity Cruises sails to every continent, including more niche—but increasingly popular—destinations like the Galapagos (with specially designed vessels). Families will love the “Camp at Sea” program, which has activities for toddlers up through teens, like movie nights, cooking classes, and on-board educational opps such as sailing and navigation. Their newest ship, Celebrity Beyond—part of the Edge series—launched in 2022 and takes the ‘something for everyone’ mantra to heart, with 32 (yup, you read that right) dining and drinking spots, including celeb chef Daniel Boulud’s first at-sea restaurant, multiple entertainment venues, and distinct amenities, like The Magic Carpet, a first-of-its-kind floating platform. Accommodations are also spot-on: The Retreat, billed as a “resort within a resort” offers suite-style stays, with exclusive guest amenities. (Fun fact? Simone Biles is the “godmother” of the ship!) Others to consider: Celebrity Apex, launched in 2021, and Celebrity Ascent, which sets sail in 2023—both also part of the Edge series.

    Norwegian Cruise Line

    The well-appointed cruise line recently debuted Norwegian Prima, the first ship from the new Prima class. And their offerings are what multi-gen dream trips are made of. A quick look at some of the activities: a three-level race track, kids’ aqua park, 10-story slides, and an all-new spa. Entertainment-minded family members will be wowed by the signature Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, as well as live, guests-can-participate game shows (The Price is Right, Supermarket Sweep) and other productions. Pro-tip: See what’s on and make things easier once you’re at sea by downloading the cruise app, which also allows for fast check-in and more info, recommends F1S advisor Arno Schuechen. (All the cruise lines mentioned here have apps.) On Prima, there are suites and villas—the largest of which can sleep up to 6—with rooms geared towards families at almost every level. For butler service and other exclusive amenities, consider booking a Haven suite. Currently, Prima sails to a number of places, including the Caribbean, Europe and the Mediterranean, starting with 5-day stints to upwards of 15-day journeys.  

    Princess Cruise Lines

    Princess—the original “Love Boat”!—has retained the charm and elevated it with modern amenities. That includes cabins that can connect to sleep upwards of 8, baby-friendly offerings, like cribs and baby food, and Camp Discovery, a partnership with Discovery for kid- and teen-specific activities—from cake decorating to endangered species lessons to video game tournaments. Thinking of an Alaska cruise? Their ‘North to Alaska’ program is particularly great for families: There’s an ‘Alaska Explorers Youth Program’, festivals and activities that celebrate local culture, on-board sled dog visits and more. One of their most recent ships, the Discovery Princess, began sailing to Alaska in 2022 and offers suites with large balconies to take in the scenery. For 2024 and beyond, keep an eye out for the Sun Princess, the debut ship in a brand-new fleet—and the first to run on liquified natural gas, one of many sustainability measures that have become important to veteran and new cruisers alike, says F1S advisor Mayla Melo.

    Princess offers many engaging family excursions in various places, like Alaska.

    The Sunset Bar, One of Celebrity Beyond Cruise’s 32 dining and drinking spots.

    Prima, the newest ship in Norwegian’s fleet.


    Royal Caribbean

    Talk about action-packed: If you want to shoot down a 10-story slide, try out a surf simulator, go zip lining, ice skate, hit up a water park and ride a carousel without ever actually getting off the ship, then Royal Caribbean and its Wonder of the Seas— launched earlier in 2022—has to make your list. There are various suites to choose from, including the colorful ‘Ultimate Family Suite’, which has bunk beds, a slide (!), and fun extras. Smart idea: If you’re unsure about cruising, get a feel for it with Royal’s 3- or 4-day Caribbean sailings, which include a stop at their private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay. “Cruise lines are starting to add their private Island destinations to almost every itinerary they offer in the Caribbean,” says F1S advisor Michael Bonadonna. “They are investing lots of money on their islands making them unique destinations.” Next up? The 2024 launch of Icon of the Seas, where you’ll find the biggest at-sea waterpark, seven pools (hello, suspended infinity pool) and a dedicated hangout area for families with little kids.   

    Virgin Voyages

    Yes, we love our families…but sometimes we need a kid-free zone. If that’s what you’re after, consider Virgin Voyages, an adults-only cruise line that travels everywhere from the Caribbean to the South Pacific. Launched in 2020, the line includes four ships—the last two which will debut in 2023 and 2024, respectively— and offers a modern, hip aesthetic with amenities to match. As they explain, “Virgin Voyages’ lady ships are curated with adults in mind. Think nightclubs over kids clubs. Seaside soaks over splash pools. HIIT classes and sauna time over story time. Menus from Michelin-starred chefs over reheated mac and cheese.” On board, you’ll find more than twenty restaurants and bars that offer a more creative and decidedly less formal feel, with accommodations that feature outdoor hammocks, a champagne table, and even an outdoor shower, depending on which you choose. Sustainability is big here, too, with energy-efficient technology, no single-use plastics, and more initiatives in place. They sum up the experience best, saying: “Relax, recharge, and release all those responsibilities.”

    Royal Caribbean’s amazing Ultimate Family Suite includes bunk beds and an in-room slide.

    Royal Caribbean’s amazing Ultimate Family Suite includes bunk beds and an in-room slide.

    Do an outdoor HIIT workout on Virgin Voyages’ cruise deck.

    Get ready for fun on these incredible adults-only cruises.

    5 Expert Tips for First-Time Cruisers

    Relax in the swing on your cabin’s private deck on Virgin Voyages.

    Never been on a cruise before—or haven’t sailed with kids or other family members? We turned to our advisors to share their must-know advice:

    Get there early. “If you’re flying to the port to catch a cruise, always go a day or two before,” says Michael. “Flying these days is unpredictable with delays and cancellations. You don’t want to ‘miss the boat’—literally.” Similarly, keep must-have items in your carry-on—medications, bathing suit, change of clothes—in case your luggage is late, says Arno. At the very least, having your suit means you can make a beeline for the pool while you wait for your suitcase to be delivered to your cabin, says Mayla.  

    Tour the kids club. “For families, tour the kids club and let your child get familiar with the area so they feel comfortable when you drop them off,” says Mayla. “Also, book the time you need right away as it tends to get booked. (It’s easy to cancel if plans change.) On my first cruise as a mom, I thought my son wouldn’t want to stay at the kids club and I only booked it for a couple of hours—but then he asked to go back the next day and it was full. On our second cruise, I knew better and booked the whole week, adjusting as needed.”  

    Check Out All the Breakfast Options. “Skip the buffet on your first day and see if you can find other venues on board to get a snack,” says Arno. “The buffet is like Grand Central at rush hour on the first day.”

    Consider your itinerary. “When choosing an itinerary, I always like to pick the ones where the last full day of the cruise is a sea day. You will need (and want) that day to relax after a week of exploring different ports and to rest up before the trip home the next day!” says Michael.

    Always book with an agent. “Cruise lines recommend the use of a travel agent,” says Arno. “We know the tips and tricks and often get you better deals and additional amenities—and we keep track of discounts.”

    Deciding where to go, which ship, and what cabin can feel overwhelming, especially for first-timers—but we’re here to help. Reach out to us at to start planning and you’ll be at sea before you know it.

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