Why should adults have all the fun? Check out these great clubs for mini cruisers
This year there’s plenty of opportunity to enjoy Royal Caribbean’s award-winning Adventure Ocean programme closer to home. The popular Independence of the Seas arrives in Southampton in May and will sail on 15 ex-UK European itineraries. From playgroup sessions for mini mariners to pirate parties, dinosaur-themed activities and teen-only chill-out areas, children are never stuck for something to do. Outside, youngsters can splash out in the H20 Zones; mini water parks packed with interactive and novel features.
2 DISNEY CRUISE LINE – DISNEY MAGIC
Not surprisingly, this cruise line knows a thing or two about keeping little – and bigger – ones happy. The ship has a nursery for under-threes, and the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab offer more than 100 activities and events for older kids. Divided into themed age-appropriate areas, they include a Toy Story play area, an animator’s studio and a gaming area. The Marvel’s Avengers Academy on Magic is always a hit and incorporates amazing technology to transform children into their favourite superheroes.
In a first for the line, Norwegian Escape offers childcare services for children from six months to three years. Older youngsters can head to the expansive Splash Academy, located next to the ship’s family-friendly oceanview staterooms. Also new on Escape is an enhanced version of the popular circus programme, with additional skill options and an innovative grand finale. Teens will love Entourage, an exclusive lounge and nightclub zone for 13-to-17-year-olds situated next to the video arcade.
Marking Carnival’s return to Europe in May, Carnival Vista is the line’s first new ship for four years and is the largest in the fleet. Camp Ocean replicates all the fun of a summer camp at sea. Divided into three age groups, non-stop activities and attractions include bear-making workshops, a towel animal theatre and Dr. Seuss Bookville area. Vista’s fantastic family-friendly attractions include SkyRide, a suspended openair cycling experience, the world’s first IMAX on a ship and the line’s first raft-riding water tube slide.
5 PRINCESS CRUISES – REGAL PRINCESS
The line’s newest vessel, star of the recent fly-on-the-wall documentary The Cruise, has an enlarged children’s club which features art projects, game tables, the latest films, talent shows, video games, and much more. Younger children can let off steam on a tricycle race track while pre-teens and teens have their own DJ booth and hangout space, plus an exclusive sun deck for teenagers. Kids-only dinners are offered on select evenings – including a formal dinner for teens – plus ice cream and pizza parties.
The Italians love children, so kids always get a warm welcome on MSC ships. There are clubs for five age groups, including baby care facilities, and the line has a unique partnership with Lego. All children participating in the Lego Experience receive a certificate for taking part and meet the mascot Sailor Walkabout. Extra features on Divina include a Formula 1 simulator, 4D cinema, mini-bowling and a video arcade. When it’s time for everyone to get together there are also designated family swimming pools.