Family cruises are a great way to have a vacation that everybody will enjoy. While cruise vacations are known for amazing live entertainment, luxurious culinary experiences, and opportunities to splash, play, and swim, a cruise vacation can also be educational. From space to sea and everything in between, here are nine great family cruises, recommended by GoWhee App’s families, where your kids (and you) can learn something wonderful and new.
The Disney Cruise Line doesn’t just offer Caribbean cruises; they offer family-friendly European river cruises with shore excursions that immerse you and your family in local culture. You can sail on the Seine, the Rhine, or the Danube on one of Disney’s comfortable cruise ships while your adventure guides and local experts teach you and your family members about the history and culture in the regions you travel through.
Key Information: Private tours and shore excursions included – Kid and teen clubs available – Lots of cuisines and dining options
Good to Know: As far as kid-friendly cruises go, Disney’s reputation is at the top—and for good reason. There are activities aboard the ship for even the littlest kids.
Carnival Cruise Line is known for fun activities like water slides and play areas, but its science programs make this one of the best cruises for kids who want to learn a little and have a lot of fun. This cruise line’s Camp Ocean program lets kids learn and play while making new friends. For more science-minded students, the Space Cruisers program developed with NASA scientists allows kids to build and race rovers, design and test bridges, and learn about how objects orbit in space.
Key Information: Kid and teen clubs available – Global destinations including Caribbean, Atlantic, and Pacific cruises – Shore excursions are extra
Good to Know: If your kids are a little older, they will enjoy sharpening their culinary skills with an included cooking demonstration.
Unless you’re a researcher, you really can’t fly to Antarctica. But you can cruise there, which is an experience your kids will never forget. Celebrity Cruises runs luxury trips to Antarctica, which lets you and your family explore the wonders of the seventh continent without having to worry about navigation and packing. You’ll see seals, whales, and penguins, as well as towering mountains and mighty glaciers. At night, you may be lucky enough to see the elusive Southern Lights!
Key Information: Kid and teen clubs available for kids ages 3-17 – Antarctic cruises depart from Buenos Aires – Pack winter gear
Good to Know: On a Celebrity Cruise, the whole family can get into learning with fun activities like glassblowing and culinary tours and classes.
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Most cruise ships will offer demonstrations of some kind, but the Princess Cruise ScholarShip program takes this idea several steps further. Guests of all ages can take part in learning experiences aboard the ship. All of Princess’s cruises include courses on culinary arts, visual and creative arts, photography, and computer technology. If that wasn’t enough, the cruise line has teamed up with Discovery and Animal Planet to offer enriching shore excursions for family vacations you will remember forever.
Key Information: Global destinations – European, Alaskan, and Caribbean destinations highest recommended for families with young kids – Lots of family entertainment including family Splash Zone for little kids and their parents
Good to Know: If you have older kids who want a little bit more independence, take a Medallion-class cruise. This provides your family with wearable technology that lets you know exactly where everyone is at all times, letting you have peace of mind while the kids run around.
MSC Cruises has some really great kids’ clubs on each of their ships that emphasize experiential learning and education through play. Teens can learn to pilot drones, while tweens have access to Masterchef Junior at Sea. Younger kids can test their design skills through freeform play with the Lego experience, and even babies 0-3 will enjoy music and rhythm activities at Baby Club. Local guides make shore excursions fun and educational for the whole family, making MSC one of the best cruise lines for family learning.
Key Information: Global destinations – Shore excursions extra – Major discount for kids on shore excursions
Good to Know: If you want to take one of the world’s truly unique family cruises, MSC offers a worldwide cruise.
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The Galapagos Islands are a biodiversity hotspot unlike anything else in the entire world. A Galapagos cruise is a little different from a typical cruise vacation because the ships are smaller. This means that you’ll have more time with your expert guides and the naturalists that lead these cruises. You’ll be able to see animals that don’t exist anywhere else, like giant Galapagos tortoises, algae-eating marine iguanas, playful sea lions, and dozens of unique bird species including penguins. These cruises do not have as many bells and whistles as other cruises, but you’ll have so much fun discovering the islands’ secrets that you won’t miss the spas and slides.
Key Information: Fewer kid-specific day activities than mega cruise ships – Largest ships only carry 100 passengers – Extensions for other South American travel available
Good to Know: Galapagos wildlife is endemic to the islands and is often threatened. You will be asked to make sure to use eco-friendly products, like reef-safe sunscreen, so make sure to bring those products with you.
Humpback whales are known for their songlike vocalizations, but few humans ever get to hear their beautiful, haunting calls—unless you’re on the Ocean Victory with a team of marine biologists studying these ocean giants. This unique Alaskan cruise takes you up the west coast of British Columbia and, thanks to numerous expeditions on smaller Zodiac boats, lets you get up close to nature. You will be able to join researchers on Zodiac boats, where hydrophones will be used to listen in on whalesong. Every expedition features the opportunity to help researchers collect real data—it’s an experience you and your kids simply can’t get anywhere else.
Key Information: Daily entertainment on board – Pool and jacuzzi hot tub deck – No kids club
Good to Know: You can depart from either Sitka, Alaska, or Vancouver. The cruise runs both ways and sails for 12 nights.
The mega ships of the Royal Caribbean cruise line are home to some amazing onboard amenities, like FlowRider surf simulators, incredible entertainment, award-winning cuisine, and much more. Shore excursions pair you with expert guides for one-of-a-kind experiences. Kids have access to adventure clubs that let them play with cool science experiments in the Adventure Science Lab and express themselves creatively; the combination of fun and learning makes these some of the best cruise ships for kids.
Key Information: Global destinations – Shore excursions extra – Caribbean and European destinations highly rated for kids
Good to Know: Royal Caribbean cruises come packed with family activities, like festivals, poolside games, physical challenges, karaoke nights, theme nights, and more!
Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic have teamed up to create unique cruises that take you to places you never thought possible. Their Isles of Antiquity agenda takes you to five Unesco World Heritage Sites – Valletta, Malta’s megalithic temples, Agrigento, Siracusa, and the Aeolian Islands, with expert guides at every turn so that you miss nothing. It’s a unique way to truly immerse your family in an exploration of culture and history.
Key Information: Discounted child fare for under-18s – Limited availability (only 30 cabins) – All crew tips included in the fare
Good to Know: If this two-week cruise is too long for your family, the company offers shorter expeditions that are just as educational and fun.
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All inclusive sailing cruise with private chef, beautiful sceneries and water fun everyday! Rene and his wife are making you feel so welcomed & share their love for the Turkey coast. Kids have their own cabin and menus can be adapted to them. You can be matched with another family to ofset the cost.