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  • Starr Wlodarski

Top 5 Reasons to Choose Royal Caribbean for a Family Cruise

Once upon a time cruises were considered a refined, maybe even stuffy, vacation where the average passenger was well past retirement age. Not anymore!

Today's cruise ships are stacked with fun for the entire family. Water parks? A bar with a robot bartender? Ice skating rink? World-class Broadway-style entertainment? YES, PLEASE!

I'm often asked what cruise line I recommend for family vacations. While there isn't one answer that is right for every family (I pride myself on getting to know my clients and making a custom recommendation tailored to their family's vacation style), Royal Caribbean is almost always high on my list of recommendations.

Royal Caribbean Family Accommodations

You will very rarely hear the word "spacious" and "stateroom" in the same sentence. In the past, finding a stateroom that would accommodate a family of 4 could be a challenge, and finding something for a family of 5 was darn near impossible. Even finding connecting staterooms was difficult as most cruise ships had a minimal number available and they booked up quickly.

The newer Royal Caribbean ships were designed with families in mind. There are considerably more connecting staterooms in all category levels as well as family staterooms that can sleep up to six in one room.

Planning a multigenerational trip with a larger group? You may want to consider one of the Royal Family Suites that comfortably accommodate up to 8 people and give you family space to hang out and relax. While a regular stateroom may not be considered spacious, you'll be impressed with the amount of space and amenities you'll enjoy when you book a suite!

If you really want to go all out and blow your kids minds, book one of the Ultimate Family Suites onboard the Symphony and Wonder of the Seas! These two-bedroom suites will sleep up to 8 and have the most kid-tastic features such as a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall, a slide from the secondary bedroom down into the living room, a dining room table that magically transforms into an air-hockey table (or is it the other way around!), and a movie room with a popcorn machine and a 3D television. And it doesn't stop there! Open the doors and head out to your 212 sq ft wrap-around balcony with a climbing playscape, a ping-pong table, a full-size hot tub, and unparalleled ocean views. It's truly the ultimate in family accommodations!

Royal Caribbean's Kids Clubs from 6months to 17 years

No matter what age your kids are, there is a kids club with dedicated space and age-appropriate activities just for them.

Traveling with a baby? You'll find planned 45-minute interactive playgroups, interactive classes with enriching activities, and an expertly staffed nursery where your little one can stay with the childcare staff while you enjoy dinner, the spa, or just some adult time. (nursery drop off is not available on some ships).

The kids' clubs are divided by age group. The Aquanauts for ages 3-5, Explorers for ages 6-8 and Voyagers for ages 9-11. Teens are split into younger teens (ages 12-14) and older teens (ages 15-17). Each age group has its own dedicated spaces and supervised activities. There is never a dull moment and plenty of opportunities for your kids to make new friends and enjoy time on their own.

They even have a "Late Night Party Zone" for kids from 10 pm to 2 am for parents who want to enjoy a date night on their vacation. The kids' clubs are included in the cost of your cruise, however additional fees may apply for some activities, nursery drop off, and the late-night party zone
. Also, Royal Caribbean is Autism Friendly offering a variety of accommodations so all kids can cruise including
  • Priority check-in, boarding and departure

  • Special dietary accommodations including gluten-free and dairy-free

  • Adventure Ocean grouping by ability (rather than age)

  • Adventure Ocean toilet-trained policy exception

  • Pagers/phones for parents of children in Adventure Ocean program while signed into our care (subject to availability)

  • Autism Friendly Movies

  • Autism Friendly Toy Lending Program

  • Cruising Social Story

Royal Caribbean Nightly Entertainment

After a day of fun in the kids' clubs, you may want to get the family together to enjoy some evening entertainment! There is no shortage of entertainment options for the whole family.

Royal Caribbean is known for their award-winning Broadway-style shows. The shows will vary based on the ship, but you'll find shows such as Mamma Mia, Hairspray, and the Queen Tribute, We Will Rock You. It's a great way to introduce your kids to this type of show in a more relaxed environment (and a slightly abbreviated show).

But it's not just musical theater! There are plenty of other entertainment options available as well. On Oasis Class Ships, head to the open-air-theater to be wowed by the professional acrobats, divers, and synchronized swimmers. The aqua-theater has two 30-foot diving platforms, tightropes, and the deepest pool at sea. The show is like nothing else you've experienced before!

On many ships, you can also enjoy Royal Caribbean's original productions in their ice-skating rink. These dramatic shows feature professional skaters, dazzling costumes, and engaging choreography.

With all of these different options, you can enjoy a different type of family entertainment each night…. All included in the cost of your cruise!

Royal Caribbean's Dining Options.. and you won't have to dress up for dinner

Dining has always been a very important feature of cruises… but things have certainly changed as more cruise lines moved to focus on families. On Royal Caribbean ships, dinner is still an event each evening but it is no longer as structured as it used to be. And (much appreciated by the kids!) you no longer have to dress up for dinner unless you want to. You'll find passengers wearing everything from casual cruise wear to cocktail attire… the choice is yours. It is your vacation after all!

In addition to the traditional main dining rooms and casual buffet options, you'll find an assortment of specialty dining options. Enjoy burgers and shakes at Johnny Rockets, take in the table-side show at Teppanyaki, savor the mouthwatering steaks at Chops, or indulge in the delicious pasta dishes at Jamie's Italian… once again, the choice is yours!

Want a date night for Mom and Dad? Send the kids to the late night kids club and make a reservation for one of the fine dining establishments. Enjoy a specialty cocktail and a quiet dinner for two… you deserve it!

While dinner in the main dining room, buffets, and select casual restaurants is included in your cruise fare, many of the specialty restaurants require an additional fee.

You'll never hear them complain about being bored!

If you've never cruised before… or even if you've never sailed with Royal Caribbean… you may have a hard time wrapping your head around just how much there is to do and see on the ship.

Wondering what types of activities, you'll find waiting for you? How about…

a rock-climbing wall, surf simulator, sky diving simulator, zip line, mini-golf, water slides, ice skating, trivia contests, dance lessons, wine tastings, escape rooms, culinary classes, bingo, casino games, live music, karaoke, comedians, movies, dance parties, history and port lectures, art auctions, behind-the-scenes-tours… and so much more. (Note that not all activities are available on all ships. If there are specific activities that you are interested in, your travel advisor can direct you to the ships you should consider).

Many of the newer ships are like floating cities. They are made up of up to seven different "neighborhoods" and are taller than the Eiffel Tower, and every square inch is packed with fun for your family!

There is more to the Caribbean with Royal Caribbean and not every ship is an Oasis class ship , which makes them great for itineraries in Europe and Alaska. I personally picked solely on itinerary one of the smaller Radiance class ships for my eldest son's graduation trip. With only 3 sea days on a 12-night sailing and spending all day in port, there was more than enough to entertain teenage boys.

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