Is Princess Cruises for families? It can be so tricky to decide which cruise line is best for you, especially if you’re new to cruising. Princess Cruises is now making multi-generational cruising even easier for families with the introduction of some exciting and thoughtful onboard activities and facilities.
In this blog post, I take a look at the options available for families with Princess Cruises.
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A cruise is the ideal vacation for children, parents and grandparents to enjoy together. Princess Cruises has been recognised with numerous awards and accolates including:
Best Cruise Line (British Cruise Awards)
Best Cruise Line for Multi-Generational Family Travel (Porthole Magazine)
Best Cruise Ship for Families (USA TODAY 10 Best; Cruise International)
Best Cruise Line for First-Timers (Cruise Critic)
Great Ships for Sea Days (Cruise Critic)
Great Cruise Line for Teens (Fodor’s)
It’s clear that Princess is offering more than ever for families onboard.
Ocean Medallion helps you to keep track of your family
The new Ocean Medallion is being rolled out on all ships over the next few years and is a powerful piece of technology that can help families stay in touch onboard and have more fun. An element of the Medallion is the OceanCompass. This is your personal interactive navigator, ready to guide you to where you want to go and help you easily locate and chat with friends and family anywhere onboard.
Other family-friendly features of the Ocean Medallion is ‘Play Games Under the Stars’ on giant poolside screens and location-based scavenger hunts around the ship.
You can create an OceanTagalong, your own digital companion that interacts with you on portals wherever you go. All PlayOcean games are free.
Princess Medallion-Class Ships:
Ocean Medallion coming soon to:
- Grand Princess (3/29/20)
- Enchanted Princess (new ship delayed)
- Emerald Princess (8/16/20)
- Coral Princess (10/16/20)
- Island Princess (12/20/20)
Princess Cruises’ Kids Clubs
Princess Cruises offers three age categories of kids clubs in partnership with the Discover Channel, with children being able to participate without a parent from 3 years old and older:
- The Treehouse (3-7 years)
- The Lodge (8-12 years)
- The Beach House (13 – 17 years)
There’s plenty of activities to keep children engaged and entertained during the cruise including:
- Scavenger hunts, group games, basketball tournaments, ping pong competitions, dodgeball, skeeball and dance parties
- PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, and XBOX Kinect consoles, board games, air hockey and ping-pong
- Dance classes and friendly competitions
- Sports including basketball, mini golf, yoga and miniature Olympics
- Talent Shows to showcase singing, dancing, musical skill, and jokes
- Theme Nights include Pirate, Mexican Fiesta and competitive Challenge themes
- Klutz paper airplane challenge or Lego boat-building contest
- JrCHEF@Sea: children can learn cake decorating and enjoy the results with their family
- Make Animal Planet puppets, masks and paintings inspired by regional wildlife
- Klutz® Art Projects: Craft bracelets, velvet art and jewellery
The Youth and Teen Centre revitalisation is already available on all ships except Diamond Princess, Golden Princess, and Pacific Princess and will be available on Sapphire Princess by the end of 2020.
I took a look around the kids clubs on Royal Princess and I was very impressed with the facilities. Each area is specifically designed for the age group in mind. You can see the different areas in my tour of Royal Princess.
In The Lodge for 8 to 12 year olds there are spaces for children to play on equipment, read a book, relax with friends and use computers.
The Beach House for 13 to 17 year olds is a ‘grown-up’ space that didn’t even feel like it was on a cruise ship. There is plenty of comfy seating for teenagers to hang out and make friends.
It’s possible to register for the kids clubs before the cruise using the Cruise Personaliser after booking your cruise or by returning the registration form to the kids club once you get onboard.
The Reef Splash Zone on Caribbean Princess
The Reef Splash Zone is the ultimate spot for families of all ages and the first facility of its kind on Princess cruise ships. The newly re-imagined space on Caribbean Princess features the following:
- Winnie the Whale’s splashpad: An interactive water playground including a splash pool, water sprays and showers. The Whale ‘rains’ from her fluke and sprays from her spout.
- A refurbished spa and bar area including a family pool and jacuzzi. Morgan’s Bar has opened with a new child-friendly mocktail menu with drinks on offer such as ‘Crazy Coconut’ and ‘Berry Nice to Meet You’
- A new outdoor lounge area with a range of seating and relaxing options, from single sun loungers to sectional chairs and sofas with tables. The space also has new fixtures, finishes and canopies offering plenty of shade
- A multi-generational game zone with oversized activities such as giant Connect Four and Jenga
For guidance on babies using cruise ship pools and splash pools, check out Cruising with Kids’ useful post on this topic.
Onboard Family Activities with Discovery at SEA
For families, there are Camp Discovery activities and expert insights through Encounters with Discovery at SEA. This brings you face to face with the animals and wildlife from the cruise region with meet-and-greet gatherings at sea — including Puppies in the Piazza on Alaska cruises, and Parrots in the Piazza in the Caribbean.
Family Shore Excursions
Cruise ports offer families the chance to learn something new about the world. Discovery™ Family tours are designed to capture the imaginations of all ages. Many excursions provide hands-on opportunities to enrich your understanding of the regions visited, including features specially designed to appeal to children aged three to 12 years old.
If your family is looking for unique experiences whilst ashore, Animal Planet excursions offer new ways to interact with our natural world. Exclusive Tours are unique and immersive tours in a small-group setting that cannot be booked independently.
Parents’ Night Out
Princess Cruises can help parents to plan a romantic night out, by offering a group kid-sitting service at the Youth Centres. This service is offered for children between the ages of 3 and 12 for just $5.00 USD per hour per child.
Exclusive Dinner Events for Kids
Children and adults alike get the chance to enjoy dinner on their own with a variety of opportunities for kids to eat with their friends and the Princess Youth Staff. There’s kids-only dinners on select evenings and a teens-only dinner on a formal night in a reserved section of the dining room. Regular ice cream and pizza parties are held throughout the cruise. Just make sure you inform the Youth Staff members of any food allergies your child may have.
Pamper your Princess in the Spa
Princess Cruises’ new teen spa treatments are the perfect gift for those celebrating a special occasion onboard. Parents can book treatments in the Lotus Spa such as a Mother and Daughter Massage or a Sole Mate Pedicure. This sounds perfect for some quality time together and enjoying a little pampering.
Meet Stanley the Bear
Stanley the Bear, named in recognition of Princess Cruises’ founder Stanley B. McDonald, is the cruise lines mascot. Children can meet Stanley onboard and can take part in organised events such as:
- Breakfast with Stanley
- Storytime with Stanley in the Piazza
- Stanley Turndown Service
Escape Room at Sea
Princess Cruises has revealed that an escape room at sea will feature on its two newest ships, the 3,660-guest Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess.
Combining digital and physical challenges, the ‘Phantom Bridge’ involves players captaining and steering a simulated ship through a range of historical and future time periods.
To progress through the story, guests must work as a team to uncover clues and solve puzzles with the ‘ship’ transforming and responding to their actions. This is a great addition by Princess Cruises for families.
The Phantom Bridge is tailored to players of all ages and physical abilities to encourage families and friends to play together. It features more than 700 possible outcomes on offer so that returning players can experience multiple different endings.
Escape room games last around 25 minutes and accommodate up to six people. The Phantom Bridge will feature in a new ‘experience centre’ on deck 16 on Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess.
Princess Cruises makes it easy for families to sail together in comfort. In addition to comfortable Mini-Suites and spacious Suites, larger groups can opt for a Family Suite which includes two interconnecting staterooms and sleeps up to six on most ships and up to eight on select ships.
What is the minimum age to cruise with Princess Cruises?
Children must be at least 6 months of age at the time of embarkation and at least 12 months of age for transatlantic crossings and remote itineraries.
A full British Citizen passport is required for all UK passengers and must have at least 6 months validity after your date of return.
Children’s menus are offered in the Main Dining Room. Pizza, burgers and ice cream can be found at various dining locations. Complimentary jarred stage one and two baby food is available, if requested in advance via the Cruise Personaliser. Pureed fruits or veggies can be prepared in the Main Dining Room.
Princess Cruises for Families
It’s clear that Princess Cruises is working hard to incorporate new and exciting things to appeal to families. I like how the partnership with the Discovery Channel combines fun activities with the destinations visited.
I was impressed with the range of kids clubs onboard when I took a tour of Royal Princess. Particular care has been taken to ensure that the older age group is catered for, including special dinners on formal nights.
Princess Cruises has recognised that more families are choosing a cruise holiday, especially millennials with young children. It has positioned itself well to cater for multi-generational cruising to ensure that children, parents and grandparents enjoy their time onboard.