Photograph by David Vargas
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The National Geographic Sea Bird takes passengers through Alaska’s most majestic landscapes.

Photograph by David Vargas
TravelTraveler Magazine

These adventure cruises are fun for the whole family

From Europe to Alaska, with laser mazes and roller coasters in between, here are awesome itineraries for all ages.

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.

New ships

Carnival cruisers will jump for joy at the Sky Zone trampoline park when the line launches Carnival Panorama in December. West Coast itineraries will include California and Mexican Riviera routes.

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Launched last year, the Celebrity Edge offers a laser maze and obstacle course for kids.

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.

Amazing activities

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.

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Beginning in November, MSC Cruises will launch journeys to Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, a private island in the Bahamas.

Surprising itineraries

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.)

Based in Manhattan, Sherri Eisenberg writes about travel, food, and cruising. Follow her travels on Twitter @sherrinyc.
This article was updated for clarity on April 25, 2019.