An A-Z Of Children's Cruise Ship Activities
From cooking classes to dizzyingly fast water slides, there's plenty to entertain your children while out at sea. Here is a fun compilation of what's available for children of all ages on board certain ships.
A Is For Animation
Cartoon-loving children have the opportunity to learn how to draw and create their own animations. Disney Cruise Line do this better than most, with professional artists at hand to help children create (possibly) the next Disney character.
B Is For Basketball
Families and children alike can enjoy a game of basketball on the upper decks of many ships. Most Norwegian Cruise Line ships offer a fitness centre. The baskball courts are often on the top-most deck, so it feels as if you're playing in mid-air, with only the sea below you.
C Is For Cooking
Junior master chefs can join the professionals in learning the art of pizza and biscuit making and even sushi preparation. Apart from travelling for free, children will get plenty of attention on board an MSC ship where crew – including chefs – will help them create dishes. C is also for crow's nest, which you can climb the rigging to, on the much smaller Star Clipper ships.
D Is For Dance
From theatrical performances to contemporary dance, there are endless opportunities for youngsters to hit the dance floor. Princess Cruises' newest ship, Royal Princess, has an outdoor dancing area for teenagers, as well as a DJ booth and lounge area with foosball, hip-hop dance classes, Skee-ball and video games.
E Is For Excursions
From bobsledding in Jamaica to camel-riding in Lanzarote and submarine trips in the Caribbean, almost all family-friendly cruises will have shore excursions designed to keep the whole family busy and entertained. This could be a rare opportunity for family time – on board, the children may well be enjoying the kids' clubs or spending all their time with other children their age.
F Is For Fashion
Budding fashionistas can showcase their talents at on-board fashion shows, often using their own creations. For the 12 to 14-year-olds, Carnival has devised a space called Circle C, in which teenagers can decorate their own T-shirts. And on Royal Caribbean's Barbie-themed cruises, there's a catwalk show.
G Is For Ship's Galley
Go behind the scenes and take a tour of the galley (the kitchen to landlubbers!). Princess Cruises usually offers a couple of ship tours each day on sea days. Families can visit the engine control room, medical centre, print shop, laundry, photo lab, bridge, and other areas typically seen only by the ship's crew.
H Is For Hip-Hop
Learn from the professionals at hip-hop classes. With Royal Caribbean you could dance 24/7 if you want. On Freedom and Oasis-class ships you have Bebop with DreamWorks, penguins and pandas, and salsa in the Latin club, Boleros. There are family disco nights, pre-dinner fox-trotting, dancing-under-the-stars pool parties and DJs on the decks in specially designed teenager-only clubs.
I Is For Ice Skating
Children and parents alike can learn the ropes on the ice or show off their skills, as well as watching the professionals in some spectacular ice shows. Royal Caribbean has ice rinks and ice-skating classes tailored to age and level of expertise.
J Is For Jukeboxes
Budding DJs can tailor the evening's tunes according to their taste. The teenager's lounge on Norwegian Epic resembles a night-club and the music selection is left up to discerning youngsters.
K Is For Kids' Clubs
These come in every shape and size, from toddlers to teens – all are catered for.
L Is For Late Nights
The fun continues with late-night movies, pool parties and sports activities. Apart from its Ocean and Pacific ships, Princess Cruises offers late-night movies and teens-only dinner parties. A great way for young adults to let down their hair in the safe confines of the ship.
M Is For Movies On Deck
Royal Princess, Carnival Dream, some Royal Caribbean ships and most MSC cruise ships screen films out on deck. M is also for Mocktail Mixology: Princess (teens programme), Carnival and Royal Caribbean all offer places where children can learn how to make their own mocktails with professional bartenders showing how it’s done.
N Is For Nature
There are countless opportunities on board and ashore for children of all ages to learn about local and ocean wildlife with fun and insightful talks. Many ships offer guided excursions ashore. Be sure to sign up early.
School holiday cruising: Our Tips For Choosing The Right Cruise
Are you ready? Family Fun On The New Norwegian Escape
O Is For Open Mic
Superstars in the wings can showcase their talents with open-mic karaoke nights. On Allure and Oasis of the Seas, Royal Caribbean offers open-mic and karaoke competitions as part of its 12 to 14-year-old children's programme.
P Is For Pirates
There’s no better environment than a cruise ship to really feel like a pirate, whether dressing like one or joining the pirate parties. Disney Cruise Line offers the ultimate Pirate Party – crew dress in pirate outfits and pirate-themed songs blast through the decks. Captain Hook makes an appearance and when, naturally, Mickey saves the day there are celebratory fireworks. P is also for Plank, which extends over the sea from the top deck and can be walked on board Norwegian's newest ships.
Q Is For Quizzes
For all the family, there’s a wide array of quizzes and game shows throughout the voyage – especially on sea days. The Teen Zone on Cunard's ships includes table tennis tournaments, team games, quizzes and bingo during the evenings.
R Is For Rock Climbing
Dare-devil youngsters can climb to the top of a rock-climbing wall. Norwegian Breakaway – and most of Norwegian's fleet – is known for its adventure programmes. The climbing wall is one of the main features.
S Is For Surfing
Ride the waves on the upper deck with surf simulators (called the FlowRider) aboard Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas.
T Is For Table Tennis
For those budding Olympic champions ... Thomson Cruises' Sports Deck is kitted out for basketball, tennis, volleyball, and five-a-side football.
U Is For Underwater
Children will need their goggles for the games and competitions that take place underwater.
V Is For Volleyball
The perennial beach favourite can more often than not be enjoyed on an upper-deck court. At SportsSquare, an expansive outdoor recreation area aboard Carnival's Magic and Breeze ships, you can play basketball, volleyball or soccer on a multi-purpose court.
W Is For Water Parks
An absolute must for any family cruising with children. Norwegian Breakaway has a massive water park with loops, fast slides, mini rivers and a small pool for the very young ones.
X Is For X Box
For computer games lovers, there are large-scale X-Box tournaments which will keep children entertained for hours. Celebrity's family-friendly cruises have a Wi-Fi-connected X-Box room featuring all the games you could possibly want. Make sure they get some sun.
Y Is For Yawning
There'll be no need to concern yourself with sleepless nights on board a cruise ship. The little mites will be exhausted. It's also for Youth Clubs, with dedicated age groups from toddlers to teens.
Z Is For Zip Wire
Fly above the atrium on deck nine of Oasis of the Seas. If you're brave enough.
Set sail on a dream holiday with CruiseAbout
This article was written by Ana Franca from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.