I know this post is a full of information and you probably won't read it all in one setting. Bookmark or save it to refer to when making future cruise plans. Or better yet, breeze through it quickly now and come back later to soak up the details! I have highlighted (in red) the two cruise lines that I feel are the MOST baby and toddler friendly.
Camp Carnival begins at age 2. There are three distinct groups on their ships: Ages 2-5, Ages 6-8, and Ages 9-11. As with all the cruise lines, their counselors have education degrees or prior education experience. They recently partnered with Dr Suess to bring characters to life onboard.
- Night Owls is a program with a fee for evening care.
- Circle C is for the 12-14 year old crowd. They have their very own club onboard.
- Club O2 is for the 15-17 year old crowd.
- Supervised play is available to the under-2 crowd for a fee ($6.75 per hour + gratuity) during select hours. Parents can choose to play with their infants for free on sea days as well.
Programs run from 9am-10pm daily.
- Toddler Time - under 3 years old. Time for parents to interact with their kids. This is not a supervised group.
- ShipmatesSM - ages 3-5. Children must be fully potty trained to participate in these programs.
- CadetsSM - ages 6-8.
- EnsignsSM - ages 9-11. This age group has the ability to sign themselves in and out of the kids club.
- Junior Teens - ages 12-14
- Senior Teens - ages 15-17
Disney is designed for the young and young at heart. SO of course they will have programs for all ages! Open from 9am to midnight daily. Children can even have their meals in the kids club.
- Flounder's Reef/ It's a Small World Nursery- Designed for ages 3 months to 3 years old. It costs $6 an hour (better than a baby sitter's rate) and has a 2 hour minimum.
- Oceaneer's Club/Lab- Ages 3-12. Interactive and fun. Indoor playgrounds, video games, crafts, cooking, science, etc!
- Skuttle's Cove- Located on Castaway Cay, this is where kids can go to play so parents can enjoy the beach on their own. Open 9am -3:30pm.
- Edge- Ages 11-14. Open 9am to midnight.
- Vibe- Ages 14-17. Open A hip loft/ apartment for the teens to hang out. Pizza, dancing, karaoke, punch, etc.
- Splash Zone- 2:30pm-3:30pm daily. Nemo's Reef will be reserved for Toddlers only. Counselors will bring toys and play games. On Magic, Dream, and Fantasy.
- Toddler Time- Ages 3 months to 3 years. Open hour for parents to spend with their children in the nursery. 8am-9am daily. Located on the Magic, Dream, and Fantasy.
- Club HAL® — Kids*: Children, ages 3-7, can participate in such activities as pirate treasure hunts, hands-on pizza making, storytelling, "Little Artists" crafts, ice cream sundae parties and a farewell pajama party.
- All children participating in Club HAL must be completely toilet trained. No diapers or pull–ups are permitted in the Youth Center. Youth Staff cannot assist children in the restroom.
- Club HAL® — Tweens*: Tweens, ages 8-12 take part in Xbox and Wii tournaments, relay races, scavenger hunts, karaoke disco parties and participate in the award-winning National Park Service Jr. Ranger Program in Alaska on Alaska cruises.
- The Loft and The Oasis*: Teens, ages 13-17 enjoy mocktail mixology classes, late night sporting competitions, teen yoga and hip hop classes, guys verses girls scavenger hunts, cooking demos, tech classes and teen only night club events. When there are more than 100 children on board, a HAL Talent Show is offered. (The Loft and Oasis are not available on the Prinsendam. The Oasis is located on the Statendam, Ryndam, Veendam, Rotterdam, Zaandam, Volendam and Amsterdam.)
Here's the biggie, Kids cruise free on MSC. Did you know that??
- Mini Club: Children 3-6 Years Old. On all the ships of the MSC Cruises fleet there is a special area exclusively dedicated to children – cheerful and colorful. Safe and equipped play areas offer daily entertainment and plenty of space for running, exploring, diving, swimming and, most important of all...playing! The Mini Club is also available during excursions.
- Junior's Club : Children 7-11 Years Old. Offering dedicated activities, sports, parties, games and shows the Junior's Club provides plenty of opportunities for kids to have fun while Mom and Dad relax and vice versa.
- Happy Dinners for kids aged 3 -11 years. Children are served their own dinner from the kids menu while parents are enjoying opening courses, so they can dine together as a family. Then, when kids have finished at their usual speed (in about 45 minutes) parents or entertainment staff take them promptly to the Happy Dinner Meeting Point near the entrance to the restaurant, where our staff accompany them to the Mini & Junior’s Club.
- Fun Time Dinner for kids aged 3 -11 years. Children aged 3-11 can have dinner with entertainment staff for 4 evenings per week. With MSC Fun Time Dinners, children dine in a separate, specially decorated area of the buffet restaurant with the entertainment team, and then have fun in the Mini and Junior Club while parents enjoy a leisurely dinner alone, picking up the kids when they've finished. The service is free of charge, limited places available, booking is requested.
NCL occasionally offers Kids Sail Free promos. But don't expect to always find one. They have partnered with Nickelodeon programs onboard. The name of their kids club is Splash Academy.
- Guppies: 6 mo. - 3 yrs.* This is a parent-child program. Children cannot be left with the youth staff in this program.
- Turtles: 3 - 5 yrs.
- Seals: 6 - 9 yrs.
- Dolphins: 10 - 12 yrs.
Splash Academy Sea Day Hours
Morning: 9:00am – 12:00pm*
Afternoon: 2:00pm – 5:00pm*
Evening: 7:00pm – 10:30pm**
Splash Academy Port Day* Hours of Operation
Arrival into Port to 10:30pm
*On Port Days, children ages 3-12 are combined from Arrival to Departure or 6:00pm whichever comes first.
*During Port Day lunch and dinner meal times, Splash Academy will not facilitate drop offs.
*10-12 year old sign out authorization does not apply when the ship is docked.
- Princess Pelicans” (ages 3-7) Little ones will want to stay all day while counselors entertain them with: Kindermusik® at Sea, Kids-only dance parties, Movies and cartoons, Ice Cream and pizza parties, T-shirt coloring, Pajama parties, Theme nights, Fun Fairs, and Art Projects.
- Shockwaves” (ages 8-12) Older kids will enjoy a boatload of exciting activities including: Kids-only dinners, Dance parties, Movies, PS2/PS3, Wii and the latest games, Video Games, Scavenger hunts, Karaoke and talent shows, Sports tournaments, California Science Center workshops, Jr.CHEF@Sea, Klutz® projects, Theme nights
- Teen Lounge Ages 13-17. In the Teens-only exclusive Lounges, passengers ages 13-17 can make new friends while enjoying all of the coolest amenities. Lounges are packed with PS2/PS3 and Wii games, the latest movies, music, and foosball tables. Exciting events including: Teens-only dance parties, Late-night movies, Sports tournaments, Talent shows, Formal dinners, Mocktail competitions, DJ workshops, Teen makeovers, and Hip hop dance classes. Once registered for the Program, Teens are welcome to come and go as they please.
Port Day Hours of Operation 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. †6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.10:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m. (Group Kidsitting for ages 3 - 12*; Teen Program complimentary)
*A $5 USD per child/hour group kidsitting charge is applicable from 10:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. for passengers ages 3-12.
† A supervised, complimentary lunch service is available with parent consent.
Please be advised that Youth Staff do not provide lunch service on sea days or dinner service on sea days/port days. However, there are special kids dining events scheduled throughout the voyage. Please check the schedule once onboard.
Adventure Ocean is the name of Royal Caribbean's kids club.
- Royal Babies & Royal Tots. Royal Babies program (ages 6-18 months) offers the tiniest guests and their parents interactive classes filled with enriching activities developed by early childhood experts at Fisher-Price®. Royal Tots program (ages 18-36 months) offers 45-minute interactive playground sessions filled with age-appropriate activities and toys. A parent or caregiver must accompany child during all activity sessions.
- Babies & Tots Nursery (separate from the programming mentioned above) offers parents a drop-off option in the daytime and evening, where their children can be left in the trusting care of trained professionals. Children must be at least 1 year old. The cost is $8 an hour. Available on the following ships: Radiance, Liberty, Freedom, Splendour, Rhapsody, Mariner, Grandeur, Serenade, Enchantment, Legend, Independence, Brilliance, Vision, and Navigator (Feb 2014). The plan is to roll this program out fleetwide.
The Fisher-Price Toy Lending Program consists of a collection of developmental toys, specifically created for infants and toddlers ages 6-36 months. Borrow and exchange toys for a new activity every day. Although Royal Caribbean has ended this program, officially, there is still a toy lending program available that includes Fisher Price toys.
- Aquanauts- Ages 3-5.
- Explorers- Ages 6-8
- Voyagers- Ages 9-11
All ages will participate in art, games, science, acting, and other activities tailored to their age group.
Hours of Operation
At Sea: 9 a.m. to noon, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
In Port: Thirty minutes prior to the first shore excursion to 5 p.m. or return of last shore excursion, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Ages 12+ have scheduled activities that can be found in the Compass all around the ship. From riding the FlowRider, scavenger hunts, ice skating, game night, etc.
Babysitting- In room baby sitting for up to 3 children is $19 an hour.