Open Jaw

Cruising Europe En Famille

From Barbie to Gaudi – There's excitement for all ages

Cruising has evolved into one of the hottest family vacation choices and Royal Caribbean has led the way.

Influential consumer website CruiseCritic.com says Royal Caribbean “has the most impressive display of family activities and entertainment” of any cruise line, with choices “that appeal to kids of all ages and interests.”

Among the 9 Royal Caribbean ships cruising European waters this summer, activities include rock-climbing walls, ice-skating rinks, water parks, miniature golf, basketball courts, surfing simulators and roller-blading tracks. The hard part might be getting them off the ship to see some old leaning tower.

Royal Caribbean's kids' and teens’ clubs are among the largest facilities afloat dedicated to young people, and the club staff are recognized as some of the friendliest and most professional in the business. Every member of Royal Caribbean International's complimentary, award-winning Adventure Ocean® Youth Program holds a 4-year degree in education, recreation or a related field and has extensive experience working with children.

Royal Caribbean's kids' and teens’ clubs are among the largest facilities afloat dedicated to young people.

Royal Caribbean divides kids into Aquanauts (ages 3-5), Explorers (6-8) and Voyagers (9-11). Those aged 12-17 are wisely described by Royal Caribbean International as ‘almost adults’ who deserve a vacation all their own. Less structured than the programs for younger kids, the 12-14 and 15-17 age groups are invited to join pre-planned events throughout the day as they wish or simply hang out in supervised teen-only spaces. There are even nightclubs and spa treatments designed especially for teens.

Even the youngest cruisers will enjoy a thrilling Royal Caribbean experience. Many ships feature Royal Babies & Tots Nurseries for those 6-36 months, and there are interactive playgroup sessions that offer fun for the little ones and a break for the parents. Partnerships with familiar brands like Crayola and Fisher Price let kids play with the latest toys and creative tools.

New for 2013, a partnership with Mattel, the makers of Barbie, has been expanded across the Royal Caribbean fleet. Girls participating in the Adventure Ocean youth program are invited to join the complimentary version of the Barbie program, featuring Barbie Movie Night, Barbie Story Time and other complimentary themed activities, plus Barbie movies on their stateroom televisions.

A partnership with Mattel, the makers of Barbie, has been expanded across the Royal Caribbean fleet.

For the truly committed Barbie lover, The BarbieTM Premium Experience is the ultimate indulgence. Girls can enjoy staterooms decorated in the doll's signature style as well as exclusive, themed activities throughout their cruise - from an invitation-only tea party and mermaid dance class to a fashion design workshop and Barbie Girls fashion show.

While it’s great for everybody to have time apart, family time is important too, and Royal Caribbean offers a wide range of all-ages events and activities, shows and productions. Off the ship, many shore excursions are expressly designed with families in mind.

Lauren Jimeson, a blogger at Babble.com, offers a nice summary of Royal Caribbean’s family-oriented approach to cruising, from a mother’s perspective.

“Royal Caribbean really has thought of everything for everyone on their ships. My husband and I were able to do things just for us, but when we wanted to spend time as a family, there were things that entertained all 4 of us. With everything offered during our vacation, I was able to recharge and have time for me and I was able to watch my girls have the time of their lives doing activities just for them. There really was something to offer for the entire family.”

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