Trying to convince the kids to leave behind their Xbox console for a family holiday on board a cruise ship can be pretty tough.
It can often result in tears, tantrums and worst-case scenario the silence treatment.
But when the holiday involves a water coaster, 50s diner and rock climbing – it can make the convincing part a whole lot easier.
Which is why we’ve put together a list of top nine cruise ships we think your kids will love.
Who better to entertain the kids than Mickey, Minnie and Goofy.
It’s one big fairytale on board a Disney Cruise Lines ship, but the Disney Dream is a particular treat for both adults and children.
They will love:
+ The AquaDuck water coaster on deck 12 – it’s the ride with a view as it travels 765 feet through an acrylic tube that hangs off the side of the ship. It goes down four decks before splashing out into a lazy river. It’s a quick ride but it’ll keep the entire family entertained during sea days.
+ Kids-only pools means the young ones can splash around with friends in shallow waters. The ship has Mickey’s Pool, which is located on deck 11 and is shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head; and the Nemo Reef located next to it which features fountains, bubblers, pop jets and characters from Disney and Pixar’s Finding Nemo.
+ Disney characters make regular appearance during cruises. Among them are Mickey Mouse; Minnie Mouse; Donald Duck; Daisy Duck; Chip & Dale; Goofy; Pluto; Max; Captain Hook; Peter Pan; Lilo; Stitch; Cinderella; Belle; Snow White; Princess Aurora; Princess Tiana; Ariel; Captain Jack Sparrow; Dopey; and Jake.
+ New Disney stories have also been designed specifically for the cruises including Disney’s Believe – a musical of a workaholic father who is reconnected with his daughter. It features new characters as well as old favourites like Mary Poppins, Cinderella, Peter Pan and Princess Tiana. There’s also Villains Tonight starring Disney’s beloved villains including Ursula from The Little Mermaid and Captain Hook from Peter Pan.
The ship has a D-Lounge, which is a family nightclub on deck four where the whole family can get together for a night of games and entertainment.
There’s also age-friendly group activities like the Disney Oceaneer Club for 3-12 year olds; Forward Funnel for 11-14 year olds and Vibe for 14-17 year olds.
Allure of the Seas – Oasis of the Seas
Royal Caribbean ships have been designed with all ages in mind but the largest ships in the line’s fleet, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas are packed with a range of activities and entertainment the young ones will adore.
They will love:
+ Both ships will have the Zip Line, which travels 24.9 metres from one side of the ninth deck to the other; two FlowRider Surf Simulators; two rock-climbing walls; a full-sized basketball court; ice-skating rink; mini-golf course; and a hand-carved carousel.
+ Casual 50s dining at Johnny Rockets will be a family favourite, with its curly fries, malt milkshakes, burgers and sundaes.
+ The DreamWorks Experience brings characters from Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda to life for photo opportunities and meet and greet.
She’s one of the finest and exciting ships to be based in Australia and she’s also one of the coolest for the kids.
They will love:
Last year, Pacific Jewel became the first P&O Cruises ship to receive the P&OEdge experience.
What’s the P&OEdge experience?
It is 20 on board activities that keep cruisers of all ages entertained throughout their cruise. They include:
+ Cargo Net Race –a cargo net found on deck 12 that can be used for sight seeing or to race friends.
+ Flying Fox – starts on one side of deck 15 and spreads across the ship to finish in the centre of deck 12.
+ Centre Stage High Ropes – stepping platforms and obstacles for cruisers to attempt to cross without falling.
+ Aft Funnel Climb – rock climb your way up the ship’s funnel for an amazing view of the ocean.
+ Abseil – Located on deck 15 the ship now has a beginners abseil trail to give cruisers a taste of the sport.
+ Laser Tag – whether old or young everyone will love a chance to battle in the virtual battlefield.
+The Kids Adventure Program, which features Wet Day Splash, Jump & Bounce, Sports Day and Climb & Glide.
Norwegian Breakaway – Norwegian Getaway
If Norwegian Getaway’s recent christening featuring rapper, Pitbull says one thing about Norwegian Cruise Line – it’s that the line knows how to get the party started.
So, it’s no surprise Norwegian’s two newest ships and the first two in the Breakaway-class of ships is perfect for the kids.
They will love:
+ The ships have an evening show called the Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy – it’s an exotic twist under the line’s colourful big top Spiegel Tent.
+ Norwegian Breakaway has pyrotechnics display on every cruise. The fireworks are set alight during the grand finale of the ship’s headline Broadway show, Rock of Ages.
+ Both ships have a Comedy Club featuring popular comedians.
+ The Aqua Park – located on deck 17 is the place to be during sea days with five multi-story waterslides, two swimming pools and four hot tubs.
+ Entourage is a teen hangout where they can meet new friends in a chic adult lounge minus the adults.
+ Kid’s Aqua Park – This is where the NickelodeanTM characters from Bikini Bottom pop out to say hi and play with the young ones. It also has a shallow pool, slide and larger-than-life figurines of SpongeBob, Squidward and Patrick.
+Sports Complex – Three stories of activities including the largest-at-sea ropes course and The Plank that extends eight feet over the side of the ship.
+ Young ones will also appreciate the ship’s Pizza 24/7 and Carlo’s Bake Shop with a range of tasty treats.
Carnival Spirit – Carnival Legend
Australian kids are going to be spoilt when both these Carnival ships are based in Australia during the 2014/15-wave season.
They will love:
+ Green Thunder waterslide – the steepest and fastest waterslide at sea.
+ SplashZone Waterzone for kids – a splashzone featuring a giant tipping bucket and racing slide.
+ Seuss-themed play space, selection of much-loved books, toys and themed activities for children and they meet Dr Seuss characters.
+ Circle ‘C’ 12-14 hang out for late-night movies, night time swims, sports, video games and dance parties.
+ Club 02 – 15-17 video games, dance on the state-of-the-art dance floor, non-alcoholic drink bar,
+ Carnival Legend’s Cherry On Top candy bar is set to be wildly popular with the kids. They’ll go crazy mixing their favourite lollies.
If you thought the Princess ships were designed to cater for a seasoned crowd, then you’ll be wrong.
They will love:
+ Movies under the stars – a screen 30 percent biggest than the line’s other ships found poolside for first-run movies, sporting events and concerts under the stars – passengers receive fresh-popped popcorn.
+ Princess Watercolor Fantasy – top deck pool transforms into a dazzling interactive sound and light show with dancing fountains and shooting water.
+ Dedicated kids and teens centres with air hockey tables, multimedia rooms, outdoor lounges and play areas as well as giant TVs.
+ The teen room, Remix, has a DJ booth where the teens can create their own playlists, hip hop dance classes as well as teens only mocktails and dinner parties.
+ Then there’s the Princess Pelicans Junior chef program, pyjama and ice cream parties – new toddler area for kids under 3 – multimedia space for movie nights – new air hockey table and a new outdoor play area with toys, games, and tricycles
+ The ship also has the sports area with a basketball, volleyball and tennis course – table tennis and laser shooting range.