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Best Cruise Ship for Families (2021)

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Thanks to their excellent travel value, more and more families are turning to cruising when planning their vacations. These 10 cruise lines cater to young passengers in many ways, including family friendly at-sea experiences (bumper cars, bowling and waterparks to name a few), family cabins and kid-approved dining options.

  • Carnival Horizon

    Carnival Horizon
    Carnival Cruise Line

    Carnival’s latest and greatest ship, Carnival Horizon, sails from Miami to the Caribbean with plenty of family fun onboard. Kid-approved amenities include two movie theaters (including an IMAX screen), Dr. Seuss Waterworks waterpark, nighttime babysitting and reduced prices for kids at some specialty restaurants.
    Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

  • MSC Meraviglia

    MSC Meraviglia
    MSC Cruises

    Families aboard MSC Meraviglia enjoy a range of kid-approved amenities, from a full-sized bowling alley at sea to F1 simulators to a decked out Sportplex. The popular Aquapark with its two waterslides has a polar theme.
    Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises

  • Regal Princess

    Regal Princess
    Princess Cruises

    A favorite feature among kids aboard the Regal Princess is the SeaWalk, a glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet over ship’s edge. The ship's youth and teen center has teamed up with the California Science Center for some interactive edutainment at sea. The three kids spaces are excellent, and teens even have their own outdoor hot tub.
    Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises

  • Carnival Vista

    Carnival Vista
    Carnival Cruise Line

    Carnival elevated its already very family-friendly offerings with the debut of Carnival Vista. Kids can ride a bike through the sky, go mini bowling or play ping pong at SportSquare, and the onboard water park is the largest in the fleet. Kids love the Cherry On Top candy store and ice cream counter, and parents will appreciate the Family Harbor staterooms equipped with board games, family movies and video games.
    Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

  • Carnival Panorama

    Carnival Panorama
    Carnival Cruise Line

    Carnival Panorama sails from Long Beach, California with tons of things to do for every member of the family. The first ever Sky Zone at sea comprises an indoor trampoline park for all ages, while the Choose Fun Waterworks features two huge waterslides. Play soccer, basketball, volleyball or ping-pong in SportSquare. Parents can unwind at the Serenity Adult-Only Retreat.
    Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

  • Disney Dream

    Disney Dream
    Disney Cruise Line

    Aboard the Disney Dream, Donald gets his due with AquaDuck, a 4-deck-drop water coaster (the first at sea) that zips riders through transparent tube. The host of Disney-themed kids programs get points for their organization; costumed characters–Mickey, Minnie and friends–keep the pre-school set happy. Character greetings and Broadway-style productions (with a Disney twist of course) make this 4,000-passenger vessel a hit with the young and the young at heart.
    Photo courtesy of David Roark / Disney Cruise Line

  • Disney Magic

    Disney Magic
    Disney Cruise Line

    The Disney wand waved in 2013, turning Disney Magic into a modern member of the sailing Mickeys. AquaLab’s splashy play park plus two water slides boost Magic’s fun quotient. Even more cool: kids can train as superheroes at Marvel Avenger Academy. Magic also added the adults-only AfterHours bars and nightclub, making Magic sweeter for everyday heroes – mom and dad.
    Photo courtesy of Kent Phillips / Disney Cruise Line

  • Symphony of the Seas

    Symphony of the Seas
    Royal Caribbean International

    Symphony of the Seas, the newest ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet and the largest ship at sea, has many of the same features of other mega-ships in its class, as well as new additions like Battle for Planet Z glow-in-the-dark laser tag and Sugar Beach ice cream and sweets shop. Kids also love the two surf simulators, tallest waterslide at sea, a zip line above the Boardwalk and rock climbing wall, while parents will appreciate the Ultimate Family Suite.
    Photo courtesy of SBW Photo / Royal Caribbean International

  • Disney Fantasy

    Disney Fantasy
    Disney Cruise Line

    On the Disney Fantasy, kids programs are Disney-crafted and predictably high-quality; the older set loves bulleting down 4-deck-drop AquaDuck water coaster. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique delights kids with princess or pirate makeovers. Mom and Dad can refresh at Quiet Cove Pool.
    Photo courtesy of Kent Phillips / Disney Cruise Line

  • Allure of the Seas

    Allure of the Seas
    Royal Caribbean International

    One of the world’s largest cruise ships features one of the most robust and diverse kids programs. A highlight for young passengers is the DreamWorks Experience, where kids can interact with their favorite characters from ShrekKung Fu Panda and the penguins of Madagascar. Amazing acrobatics at the AquaTheater, surf simulators, an old-fashioned carousel, two rock climbing walls, a zip line, mini golf and classic carnival games at the Boardwalk Arcade mean kids can kiss boredom goodbye.
    Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

The top 10 winners in the category Best Cruise Ship for Families are as follows:

  1. Carnival Horizon - Carnival Cruise Line
  2. MSC Meraviglia - MSC Cruises
  3. Regal Princess - Princess Cruises
  4. Carnival Vista - Carnival Cruise Line
  5. Carnival Panorama - Carnival Cruise Line
  6. Disney Dream - Disney Cruise Line
  7. Disney Magic - Disney Cruise Line
  8. Symphony of the Seas - Royal Caribbean International
  9. Disney Fantasy - Disney Cruise Line
  10. Allure of the Seas - Royal Caribbean International

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning cruise ships!

 
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