8 Fun and Modern Trends in Family Cruises

More and more families are cruising every year, and cruise lines are not only recognizing this trend, but are adjusting their itineraries, cruise ship upgrades, onboard activities, and excursion offerings to welcome all sizes and types of families to fantastic oceangoing getaways. What fun trends in family cruises can we continue to look forward to?

How Families Cruise

All types of families take cruises in all types of ways. A cruise might be one family’s summertime getaway, or another may enjoy a holiday cruise as a stress-free way to celebrate. A cruise can bring together an extended family or host a full family reunion with dozens of relatives from all over the family tree.

Families also often cruise to celebrate special occasions, such as a grandparents’ anniversary, a parent’s retirement, or a sibling’s graduation. No matter what the type of family or the reason for setting sail, there is much fun to be had for families on a cruise.

What Cruise Lines Offer Families

Every cruise offers all passengers exceptional service, delicious dining, glamourous entertainment, exciting activities, and more. Families, however, can enjoy certain amenities even more because of the variety and innovation on many cruise ships that offer something for every member of even the most eclectic, extended family.

Bigger Ships With More Options

Modern cruise ships are larger and larger than their forebears, and the very largest cruise ships now host more than 6,000 passengers per voyage. Yet despite those numbers, the ships have even more space for unique amenities and features, a greater diversity of dining options, more spacious cabins, and vast public spaces for the whole family to enjoy without feeling overcrowded.

This ensures that everyone in a family group, no matter what their generation or preferences, can find something to enjoy on board, from outrageous shows and entertainment acts to sweet shops and sushi bars to sports courts, water parks, shopping promenades, and luxury spas.

Larger Staterooms

Just as the ships themselves are getting bigger, so are cruise ship staterooms. While cabins are notorious for being smaller than typical hotel rooms, more family-friendly staterooms are featuring sitting areas, extra sleeping bunks and pull-out beds, dual sinks, split bathrooms, extra closet space, and more overall square footage to better suit larger families.

Related: Cruise Ship Cabins to Avoid (Stateroom Booking Tips)

Deeper balconies are another bonus, and some family-designated staterooms even have access to exclusive lounges, promenades, or reserved pools for more room for families to gather in spacious comfort. A greater number of adjoining cabins also gives even the largest families plenty of choice for their home-away-from-home accommodations.

Shorter Cruises

With a busy schedule for everyone in the family, it can be tough to plan a getaway together that doesn’t interrupt work, meetings, practices, tournaments, camps, school, and other commitments. More short cruise offerings from just 2-5 days are popular with families and still feature all the great cruise ship experiences and amenities of longer voyages.

Shorter sailings still call on the most popular ports and many even offer days at sea or visits to private islands so passengers can take advantage of all the ship and cruise line have to offer, even without a longer itinerary.

Healthy Living Choices

Many families focus on healthy living and will appreciate the thoughtful menus on cruises that now include gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options, along with low-sugar and low-salt menu selections.

Wellness seminars, fitness classes for all ages, and active shore tours to get the blood pumping are just a few available activities for a family to enjoy a healthy vacation together. Sports courts, walk-a-thons, fitness evaluations, yoga sessions, spinning classes, early morning stretches, artisan salad bars, and a wide array of fruit and vegetable smoothies are just some of the healthy things to find on today’s cruises.

Group Activities

Cruises offer great fun for the whole family to join in on with activities to suit everyone. From classic dance parties, team trivia challenges, and poolside games to mind-bending escape rooms, arts and crafts projects, live game shows, ping pong tables, miniature golf courses, trampoline parks, dive-in movies, scavenger hunts, and team race games, the whole family can get involved in the onboard fun.

Even onshore activities include group offerings, including adventure races, Jeep tours, beach games, and tours that can easily accommodate family members of all ages, interests, and activity levels.

Tech-Savvy Sailings

Many families keep in touch through various social media apps, texting, and other technology, and they don’t have to give that up on cruise ships. Wifi hotspots and fast internet at sea are widespread in the industry, and many cruise lines have developed their own onboard apps with daily schedules, menu listings, reminder alerts, and other information.

Families can easily coordinate onboard without ever unplugging. Furthermore, facial recognition technology is helping speed up the embarkation process and other behind-the-scenes work on cruise ships, helping all passengers have a smoother experience on board.

Children’s Programs and Adults-Only Areas

Even the most loving family may want some time away from one another, and cruise lines are offering more onboard programming and activity options to suit the youngest cruisers and give parents and grandparents alone time.

Programs for infants and toddlers, young cruisers, and teens focus on age-appropriate activities and popular trends, keeping kids engaged and making new friends, all overseen by trained youth counselors. In the meantime, parents and grandparents can enjoy exclusive adults-only areas including lounges, pools, and other retreats just for them.

Photo Opportunities

Families won’t forget a moment of their getaway when they take advantage of the different photo ops onboard cruises. From casual on-deck snapshots to formal night portraits, there are many great opportunities to get a gorgeous family photo taken by the ship’s professional photographers.

Worth Reading: How to Get Your Photo on the Carnival Pixels Wall

From silly scenes with quirky props to abstract backgrounds for more elegant aesthetics, there’s a photo scene sure to appeal to any family. Even the largest family groups can be accommodated in special shoots, or families can visit the onboard photo studios to arrange private photo sessions at all their favorite places on board the ship. Digital archives of all the onboard photos make it even easier to select the best shots and order extra prints to share with family members who couldn’t make the trip.

No matter what your family’s size, which members will be setting sail, or how you hope to spend your vacation, a cruise can be the perfect family getaway for all ages. There are always more great memories to make with moms and dads, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents, cousins, and other relatives on your favorite cruise ship.

Photo Credit: mariakray / Shutterstock.com

Melissa Mayntz
Melissa Mayntz
Avid, enthusiastic cruiser (35 cruises and counting!), having sailed on multiple cruise lines, 20+ different ships in a variety of classes, and visited ports of call in more than 6 countries, including Caribbean, Mexican, Alaskan, and Hawaiian ports. Widely traveled on multiple continents, as well as a professional freelance writer and editor with more than 20 years' experience and thousands of articles published. Find out more about us here.


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