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Best cruise activities to check out on board 

Going on a cruise will take your family to exciting places, but you can have just as much fun onboard with these epic onboard activities.

Cruising can take you to the pristine beaches of the Bahamas, the historical cities along the Mediterranean coast, or the spectacular fjords of Alaska.

But before you can reach these destinations, you may need to spend several days at sea.

So, many travellers, especially first-timers bringing along their kids, could be a bit worried. What if the kids get bored?

From kids club, to relaxing spas for parents, and superb family dining options, here are the best onboard activities from the top cruise lines.

Carnival Cruise Line Australia

Carnival offers more than 45 daily activities onboard its ships for adults and kids alike.

Of course there are pools, nightly shows, casinos Some of the unique activities include:

  • Seuss at Sea, complete with a parade of your favourite Dr Seuss characters, interactive stories and character breakfasts
  • WaterWorks, with multiple waterslides
  • Dive-in movies by the pool
  • Serenity Adult’s Only Retreat
  • Skycourse ropes course and Skyride, where you pedal yourself along a track high above the ship

Disney Cruise Line

Just like its theme parks, Disney Cruise Line is a popular option for family cruisers or kids at heart.

Adding a touch of Disney to just about every element of your holiday, the iconic cruise line brings families together to experience musical live shows, spectacular fireworks at sea and more activities including:

  • Theatrical performances of Disney favourites like Beauty and the Beast, Frozen and Aladdin
  • Plenty of character experiences like Pirate Night and the Pixar Pals Party
  • Disney Oceaneer Club, where three- to 12-year-olds can interact with iconic Disney characters such as Snow White, Mickey Mouse, or Peter Pan and explore multi-themed ship areas.
  • AquaDuck water coaster

Selected Disney ships hold “special days at sea” where popular characters join the fun. For example, Marvel Day at Sea will feature the appearance and performance of the Avengers – Captain America, Spiderman, Thor, and more.

Meanwhile, teens can join the Vibe Club where they can watch movies, play games, enjoy arts & crafts, and more.

For the adults on board, relax in the spa, cool down in an exclusive pool, or just chill out at one of the onboard bars.

Celebrity Cruises

Whether young or old, the whole family will have a host of opportunities to fill their hours at sea, including:

  • Camp At Sea, the onboard program designed for kids ages 3 to 12
  • Award-winning entertainment, like unique takes on Shakespeare
  • Learn new skills like glassblowing
  • Unique nightlife like Silent Discos

Other activities include enjoy a movie night under the stars, fitness classes and live music. Kids can spend more time on the beach while teens can experience thrilling shore excursions.

As the name suggests, the Teen Club is an area where teens can make new friends and participate in events such as Xbox competitions, culinary classes, and parties.

Norwegian Cruise Line

A finalist in Travel Weekly’s Readers Choice Awards, Norwegian has something for everyone onboard including the “Biggest Thrills at Sea”, with it’s ThrillPlex activities zones. Just some of what you can experience onboard could be:

  • One of the largest race tracks at sea, augmented reality laser tag and the largest ropes course on the water in the ThrillPlex
  • The Waterfront, NCL’s quarter-mile oceanfront promenade onboard
  • Tony Award-winning performances, like Kinky Boots, Footloose and Jersey Boys
  • Theatrical dining experiences, including Cirque Dreams

From cupcake decorating to dodgeball, there are many more things to do while you cruise with NCL. Kids can learn to juggle at Circus School in Splash Academy and teens have the coolest themed parties in Entourage, NCL’s onboard youth club.

Royal Caribbean

Each ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet offers special family activities, fabulous entertainment, and palate-pleasing dining options for all ages. The ship offers epic experiences during sailing days, such as:

  • Glow-in-the-dark laser tag battles
  • Taking the plunge on water rides such as the FlowRider surf simulator,  Tidal Wave, the only boomerang slide at seam or the Typhoon and Cyclone slides.
  • Broadway shows at sea, including Grease, Cats, Hairspray and Mamma Mia!

Princess Cruise Line

Princess has previously been named the “Best Cruise Lines for Onboard Entertainment” in the Cruise Passenger Reader’s Choice Award, so you’ll find plenty to do on its ships.

  • Discovery at SEA Enrichment programs, full of activities inspired by Discover Channel programming like Shark Week and Deadliest Catch
  • Get a taste of some of the world’s most colourful cultures with Festivals of the World, including Rio’s Carnival and Oktoberfest
  • Unique, Broadway-style performances such as Rock Opera, which also integrates American Sign Language into its performances

Family-centric onboard programs, immersive travel experiences, Animal Planet and Discovery shore excursions have also earned Princess the distinction of “Best Cruise Line for Multi-Generational Family Travel” in the Porthole Cruise Magazine 2018 Reader’s Choice Awards.

Meanwhile, the big backyard games in the all-ages game zone will set the stage for some good-natured family competition.

P&O Cruises

One of the “Most Trusted Brands in Australia” (Readers Digest) and the “Best Family Cruise Line (Out and About Kids Magazine), P&O has plenty to offer cruisers of all ages:

  • The Edge Adventure Park lets adrenaline-junkies zip line, rock climb and even walk the plank
  • Adults-only entertainment options, including shows like LOVE RIOT and comedy clubs
  • Classes at sea can teach you how to dance or make cocktails

Of course, you’ll also find the usual cruise-ship entertainment options like swimming pools, casinos, spas and four kids clubs, depending on what age bracket they fit into.

MSC Cruise Line

Like other cruise lines offering family activities, MSC Cruise Line has a wide array of onboard entertainment, onshore excursions, and dining options.

  • LEGO® Experience On Board, a special event on every MSC cruise with a whole day dedicated to fun LEGO activities for the entire family to enjoy.
  • “Degas, Danse, Dessin” exhibition, complete with 26 original Edgar Degas drawings (only aboard MSC Grandiosa)
  • Onboard bowling and mini-bowling
  • F1 simulator where you can join virtual-reality races

Of course, there are also kids and teens clubs are available for those aged up to 17, filled with age-specific activities such as music and rhythm activities, arts and crafts, sports tournaments, dance contests, and more.

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