The 2020 best cruise lines for families

From water parks and bumper cars to character meet and greets, these lines offer tons of family fun.

Finding a cruise vacation that meets the needs of every family member can be tough. While you may be in search of some peace and quiet, the kids will probably be eager to play. To help you find a cruise that fits your family’s needs, U.S. News ranked the best family cruises using a methodology that factors in health ratings, reputation among experts and approval among families with both younger and older kids. Read on to see which cruise line you should choose for your next family vacation.

6. Costa Cruises

Offering arts and crafts, treasure hunts and pool parties, Costa Cruises‘ fleetwide programming for cruisers ages 3 to 17 is sure to keep younger travelers occupied. Little ones can also enjoy the line’s “Peppa Pig”-themed activities while parents enjoy time together at the pool or spa. What’s more, Costa’s affordable fares for Mediterranean itineraries makes international travel cost-effective for the whole family.

5. MSC Cruises

MSC’s “Kids Cruise Free” promotion welcomes passengers ages 11 and younger to sail for free year-round on select cruises. MSC Cruises‘ ships also feature kids and teen clubs with activities like Lego games, dance classes and sports tournaments. Beyond that, swimming in the pools and competing at the bowling alley are activities the entire family can enjoy together. As an added perk, parents of young tots can utilize the new baby laundry service for kids younger than 7. The line will collect your children’s laundry from your cabin and return it the next day freshly washed.

4. Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line greets families with colorful ships, ample onboard amenities and children’s clubs. While adults are relaxing at the spa or gambling at the casino, kids can attend supervised youth programs where they can learn how to juggle, play dodgeball or attend themed parties. Special amenities and perks, including the largest racetrack at sea aboard the Norwegian Bliss and children’s menus in all of the line’s restaurants, are sure to be crowd pleasers.

3. Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line‘s budget-friendly fares mean you and your crew can save some money on a voyage filled with family-friendly amenities. Ships are outfitted with water parks, basketball courts and ropes courses for kids, plus casinos and the Serenity Adult-Only Retreat for grown-ups. Groups sailing on the Horizon, Vista or Panorama ships should consider a Family Harbor Stateroom, which comes with perks like access to the Family Harbor Lounge, one night of complimentary babysitting and free kids meals in most premium onboard restaurants.

2. Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean‘s onboard amenities cater to cruisers of all ages. Some of the line’s ships feature rock climbing walls and ice rinks, while others boast zip lines, bumper cars and waterslides. Every ship also hosts fun and educational programs for kids and teens. Entertainment isn’t lost on older travelers either, as they can spend their evenings watching a variety of dazzling shows. And with prices as low as $200 per person for itineraries in popular Caribbean, European and Alaskan destinations, your fun family vacation won’t break the bank.

1. Disney Cruise Line

From its signature Sail-A-Wave Party to its pirate-themed dinners and nighttime fireworks, Disney Cruise Line earns a nod of approval from passengers for its roster full of entertainment options. Passengers can enjoy kid-friendly dining venues and ship amenities like waterslides and mini-golf courses. Disney characters can be found on board engaging with children, and the line’s ships also offer adults-only dining and pool areas. What’s more, live shows like “Beauty and the Beast” and “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular” are sure to leave the whole family with lasting memories. To see more rankings and find the right cruise for you, check out the 2020 Best Cruise Lines »

More from U.S. News

12 Tricks to Save Your Money (and Sanity) on a Family Cruise

5 Reasons to Reconsider a Cruise for Your Next Vacation

Traveling With Toddlers: 16 Tips to Make Your Vacation Go Smoothly

The 2020 Best Cruise Lines for Families originally appeared on

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