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Family holidays can be expensive, but cruise lines are upping their game when it comes to facilities, activities, and pricing for kids at sea.

Kids Sail Free deals are fantastic for families because they offer great value if you are on a tight budget. However, keep in mind that most deals are only valid if the children are in the same cabin as two paying passengers – which means you will be three or four to a cabin.

From luxury escapes to absolute bargains, Sarah Loughlin gives us the run down on the best Kids Cruise Free or special family deals.

Great Value – Carnival

Carnival’s Kids Sail Free promotion is currently running until July the 31st on selected cabins and cruises. Up to two kids can cruise for free when travelling with two other paying guests (adults or children) in the same cabin. There are plenty of deals to choose from, including a Guaranteed Inside cabin on a 5-night Tasmanian cruise in February 2018 priced at just $1178 for a family of four. Don’t panic if you are not ready to book, this is a promotion which seems to run fairly regularly, so keep your eye out.

Boutique – Blue Lagoon

While usually an adults-only boutique cruise line, Blue Lagoon are now offering a selection of family cruise dates during the Australian school holidays. Kids under 5 cruise free when sharing a cabin with two adults (Orchid deck only). And children from 5-13 cruise at a reduced rate. Two adults and a child under 5 travelling on the 4-night Wanderer Cruise in January 2018 would cost $3,963.

Luxury for the price of port charges – Crystal Cruises

Treat your family to a bit of all-inclusive luxury with Crystal’s special deals for families. On selected 2017 and 2018 Crystal cruises, families can bring junior cruisers age 12 and under for the price of the port taxes an charges – around US$516. A child must sail with two full-fare adults and will get a complimentary third berth, plus enrichment and entertainment programs created specifically for them. From fashion shows, karaoke and dancing to behind-the-scenes experiences and high-tech video games, there’s a world of kid-friendly activities waiting to be discovered aboard Crystal’s award-winning ships.The deal is valid on selected London to Stockholm, Rome to Marseille and North and South America itineraries. Crystal Serenity departing May 16 2018, 12 days from Rome/Civitavecchia to Marseille Deluxe Stateroom with Veranda Fares from US$5,711 per person. Book by September 30, 2017.

All year round – MSC

Family owned cruise line MSC offers Kids Cruise Free prices all year round. Children must sail with two paying adults in the same cabin, they still have to pay port taxes, and free places are limited. Unlike a lot of land-based accommodation which classes children as adults once they get to 12, MSC offers children’s pricing up to the age of 17. A family of four would pay just  $3,472, for a 7-night European Cruise in June 2018. 

Reduced Fare– NCL

As part of their Free at Sea offer reduced fares are available for 3rd and 4th passengers on selected cruises. The price for a family of four would be $5,182 for a 7-night cruise on the Pride of America from Honolulu in October 2017.