Cruise journeys have always been ideal for families—ships navigate the ports, simplify the decision-making, and contain the chaos. The best routes provide innovative entertainment options for all ages. Case in point: the National Geographic Global Explorers family program on Alaska and Galápagos sailings inspires kids to develop the mindset and skills of an explorer. Here are other cruises we love.
The kid-friendly cruise line—hello, waterslides, round-the-clock pizza, and self-serve ice cream—will introduce Carnival Mardi Gras in 2020 with two additional firsts at sea: a roller coaster and an Emeril Lagasse restaurant serving Cajun favorites.
So you think you can dance? Then hit the seas with American Ballet Theatre, which has partnered with Celebrity to stage dazzling shows and dance lessons. For rambunctious kids, a laser maze and obstacle course are activities aboard Celebrity Edge, launched last year.
Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas features The Blaster, the longest cruise ship aqua coaster, and Riptide, a water slide that swerves out over the ocean. Princess debuts a Splash Zone for families aboard the Caribbean Princess.
Snorkeling safaris, kayak tours, and conservation talks about coral reef restoration will be star attractions come November, when MSC Cruises begins journeys to the beaches of its private island, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, in the Bahamas.
Disney Cruise Line is adding seven European ports of call, including stops in Spain and France. In 2020 Disney returns to the Greek islands on itineraries that offer volcano hikes and cooking classes that cater to kids. (The Walt Disney Company is the majority owner of National Geographic Partners.)
RIVER AND OCEAN CRUISES
You may think of cruises as floating resorts, but plenty of ships help you get more intimately acquainted with ports of call. They focus on specific regions, employ experts to add local insight, and can transport you to places that are otherwise hard to reach. For example, Nour El Nil’s 16-passenger Melouka and 20-passenger Meroë skim Egypt’s Nile River in an elegantly updated version of the classic dahabeah, crowned by candy-striped sails. Read on for more of our favorite cruises.
- Nat Geo Expeditions