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How To Cruise With A Family Of 5


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Daisi Shaver



Going on a cruise with your family can be an exciting and unforgettable experience. The thrill of exploring different destinations, the luxury of onboard amenities, and the opportunity to create lasting memories together make family cruising a popular choice for many travelers. Whether you’re sailing with a small family or a larger group, there are a few key factors to consider when planning a cruise that caters to everyone’s needs and interests.


Choosing the right cruise line is crucial in ensuring a successful and enjoyable experience for the whole family. Some cruise lines specialize in family-friendly vacations, offering a wide array of activities and entertainment options for all age groups. It’s important to research and select a cruise line that offers the amenities and programs that align with your family’s preferences and interests.


Once you’ve chosen the cruise line, selecting the ideal cabin is the next step. Family cabins or suites are often available, offering more space and additional amenities to accommodate the whole family comfortably. It’s essential to consider the number of beds, storage space, and proximity to amenities when choosing the perfect cabin for your family’s needs.


Planning family-friendly activities onboard is another key aspect of a successful cruise. Most cruise lines offer dedicated kids’ clubs and teen lounges where children can engage in age-appropriate activities and make new friends. From arts and crafts to sports and games, these programs ensure that there is never a dull moment for the younger members of your family.


Dining options play a significant role in any cruise experience, and catering to everyone’s taste buds can be a challenge. Luckily, modern cruise ships provide a variety of dining venues, including specialty restaurants, buffet options, and casual eateries, catering to a wide range of preferences. Be sure to check the dining options available onboard to ensure that there are choices for even the pickiest of eaters.


Entertainment is a highlight of any cruise, and onboard activities and shows provide endless entertainment for the whole family. From Broadway-style performances to comedy acts and live music, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Research the onboard entertainment options ahead of time to plan your family’s evenings and make the most of your cruise experience.


As a responsible parent or guardian, ensuring the safety of your family members is of utmost importance. Familiarize yourself with the ship’s safety procedures, including muster drills and emergency exit locations. Keep a vigilant eye on younger children, especially near open decks or swimming pools, and establish clear rules and boundaries to avoid any accidents or mishaps.


Exploring port excursions is an essential part of any cruise vacation, and choosing family-friendly activities in each destination can make your trip even more memorable. Look for excursions that cater to families and offer activities suitable for all age groups, such as beach trips, cultural tours, or wildlife encounters. Research the ports of call in advance to plan your family’s shore excursions accordingly.


Lastly, here are a few tips to ensure a successful family cruise:

  • Keep a daily schedule and plan activities in advance to maximize your time onboard
  • Pack essentials such as sunscreen, hats, and comfortable shoes to ensure everyone stays protected and comfortable during port visits and onboard activities
  • Take advantage of the ship’s amenities, such as pools, water parks, and sports facilities, to keep everyone entertained
  • Communicate any special dietary or medical needs to the cruise line in advance to make necessary arrangements
  • Encourage everyone to disconnect from technology and enjoy quality time together as a family

By considering these factors and following these tips, you can plan a family cruise that ensures everyone has a fantastic time and creates unforgettable memories. So start researching and booking your family’s cruise today, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime!


Choosing the Right Cruise Line

When planning a family cruise, one of the critical decisions is choosing the right cruise line. With numerous options available, it’s essential to consider several factors to ensure a family-friendly experience that caters to everyone’s needs and interests.


Firstly, research different cruise lines and identify those that specialize in family vacations. These cruise lines often offer extensive programs and amenities tailored to children, teenagers, and adults. Look for cruise lines that provide dedicated kids’ clubs and teen lounges, age-appropriate activities, and entertainment options for the whole family.


Consider the age range of your family members. Some cruise lines focus more on younger children, offering interactive play areas, character experiences, and age-appropriate programming. Others may cater to teenagers with teen discos, video game lounges, and adventurous excursions. It’s crucial to choose a cruise line that suits the specific needs and preferences of your family members.


The amenities and facilities onboard the ship are also important considerations. Look for features like water parks, sports facilities, and swimming pools that can keep the whole family engaged and entertained. Some cruise lines even offer unique experiences such as rock climbing walls, zip lines, and mini-golf courses.


Another essential factor to consider is the accommodation options available. Many cruise lines offer family cabins or suites with additional space and amenities, such as separate sleeping areas or connecting rooms. These accommodations ensure that everyone has enough space to relax and unwind during the voyage.


Don’t forget to check out the dining options offered by the cruise line. Look for flexible dining times, buffet options, and specialty restaurants that cater to various tastes and dietary requirements. Some cruise lines even provide dedicated menus for children, ensuring that picky eaters will find something they enjoy.


Research customer reviews and opinions on different cruise lines to get a sense of their level of service and satisfaction. Websites and forums dedicated to cruising can provide valuable insights into the overall experience and the quality of amenities and entertainment options offered.


Consider your budget when choosing a cruise line. Some cruise lines may have higher price points but offer more luxurious amenities and a wider range of activities. On the other hand, there are budget-friendly options available that still provide a fantastic family experience. Determine what is most important for your family and find a cruise line that fits within your budget.


Lastly, don’t be afraid to reach out to travel agents or cruise line representatives for assistance. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your family’s specific needs and help you navigate the numerous options available.


By considering these factors and doing thorough research, you can choose the cruise line that best aligns with your family’s interests, preferences, and budget. This will ensure a memorable and enjoyable family cruise experience for everyone involved.


Selecting the Ideal Cabin

Choosing the right cabin is a crucial aspect of planning a family cruise. The cabin serves as your family’s home away from home during the voyage, so it’s important to select one that provides comfort, convenience, and enough space for everyone.


Firstly, consider the size of your family and the number of beds required. Many cruise lines offer family cabins or suites with multiple beds, including bunk beds or pull-out sofas, to accommodate larger groups. These cabins often provide extra square footage and additional amenities compared to standard cabins.


Take into account the layout and configuration of the cabin as well. Some cabins have separate sleeping areas or partitioned spaces, which can provide privacy and allow for different family members to have their own space. Connecting cabins are another option for families who need more room but still want to stay close together.


Proximity to amenities and common areas is another important consideration. Families with young children may want to choose a cabin located near kids’ clubs, pools, or dining venues to minimize the amount of walking or transportation required. On the other hand, families with teenagers or adults may prefer cabins located close to entertainment venues or quieter areas of the ship.


Consider the cabin’s storage space as well. While cruise ship cabins are known for their efficient use of space, it’s still important to ensure that there is enough room to store everyone’s belongings. Look for cabins with ample closet space, drawers, and shelves to keep everything organized and easily accessible.


Views from the cabin are also a consideration for many families. Oceanview cabins provide a window or porthole, allowing you to enjoy the scenic views and natural light. Balcony cabins offer a private outdoor space, perfect for relaxation and enjoying the sea breeze. However, if budget is a concern, interior cabins can still provide a comfortable and cost-effective option.


Accessibility is a crucial factor for families with members who have mobility issues or special needs. Some cruise lines offer accessible cabins with wider doorways, roll-in showers, and other accommodations to ensure a comfortable experience for everyone. It’s important to communicate any specific needs or requirements to the cruise line when booking.


Researching customer reviews and looking at the ship’s deck plans can provide valuable insights into the layout, size, and location of different cabins. Online forums and travel websites are great resources for firsthand experiences and recommendations from other families who have sailed on the same ship.


Take advantage of the expertise and guidance provided by travel agents or cruise line representatives. They can help you navigate the different cabin options based on your family’s specific needs and preferences.


By carefully considering the size, layout, location, and amenities of the cabin, you can select the ideal accommodation that will provide comfort and convenience for your family throughout the cruise. This will create a welcoming space where you can relax, recharge, and enjoy your time at sea.


Planning Family-Friendly Activities

One of the highlights of a family cruise is the opportunity to engage in a wide range of family-friendly activities that cater to all age groups. Planning these activities in advance ensures that there’s something for everyone to enjoy, making the cruise experience even more unforgettable.


Most cruise lines offer dedicated kids’ clubs and teen lounges, providing age-appropriate activities and supervised programs for children of all ages. These clubs often feature themed parties, arts and crafts sessions, movie nights, and even educational activities. Take the time to review the daily activity schedules for the kids’ clubs and plan which activities your children would like to participate in.


Family-oriented entertainment shows and performances are also a must-see during a cruise. Broadway-style productions, comedy acts, and live music performances are commonly offered. Check the ship’s entertainment schedule and plan to attend shows that appeal to the whole family. Arriving early to secure good seats is recommended, especially for popular performances.


Participating in onboard sports and recreational activities is a fun way to bond as a family. Many cruise ships have sporting facilities such as basketball courts, mini-golf courses, and table tennis tables. Take advantage of these amenities to engage in friendly competitions and enjoy some active family time together.


Swimming pools and water parks are popular attractions on cruise ships, especially for families. Pack swimsuits, sunscreen, and pool toys to make the most of these aquatic areas. Ensure that children are supervised and follow safety protocols while enjoying the pools and water slides.


Some cruise lines offer special activities that the whole family can enjoy together. Look for cooking classes, scavenger hunts, trivia contests, or game shows that encourage family participation. These activities create lasting memories and provide opportunities for laughter and bonding.


Exploring the ship itself can be an adventure for children. Cruise ships are often vast and filled with interesting areas to discover. Plan a “ship exploration” day where you navigate through different decks, finding hidden nooks or unique spaces. This can be an exciting and educational experience for younger children.


As a family, take advantage of shore excursion opportunities to explore the ports of call. Research the available excursions before the cruise to find activities suitable for the whole family, such as beach trips, cultural tours, or wildlife encounters. Engage in activities that interest everyone and allow for quality time together in each destination.


Remember to check the daily activity schedule provided by the cruise line. This will ensure that you don’t miss out on any family-friendly events, shows, or workshops that may be happening throughout the voyage.


Lastly, encourage your family members to disconnect from technology and fully immerse themselves in the cruise experience. Many ships offer Wi-Fi and internet access, but encourage designated “unplugged” times where everyone can focus on being present and enjoying each other’s company.


By carefully planning and participating in family-friendly activities, you can make the most of your family cruise and create wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.


Dining Options for Everyone

One of the joys of a family cruise is indulging in delicious meals and trying a variety of cuisines. Cruise ships are known for their expansive dining options, catering to a wide range of tastes and dietary preferences. Here are some tips for navigating the dining scene onboard and ensuring there are options for everyone in your family.


Most cruise ships offer a main dining room with formal or semi-formal dining options. These dining rooms typically serve multi-course meals and provide a more traditional dining experience. The menus often feature a variety of dishes, from seafood and steaks to vegetarian and gluten-free options. If your family is inclined towards sit-down dining with attentive service, make sure to reserve a table in the main dining room.


For more flexibility and variety, buffet-style dining options are available on most cruise ships. Buffets offer a vast selection of dishes, including international cuisines, salads, soups, and desserts. Families with picky eaters or individuals with specific dietary restrictions will appreciate the diverse options available. Buffets also offer the advantage of self-service, allowing each family member to choose their own portions and explore different flavors.


In recent years, many cruise lines have introduced specialty restaurants, offering a more elevated dining experience for an additional fee. These restaurants often feature a specific cuisine or theme, such as Italian, steakhouse, or Asian fusion. These specialty venues provide a more intimate ambiance and allow for a unique dining experience. Reservation is recommended, especially for popular specialty restaurants.


Cruise lines understand that families often have different dining preferences and dietary needs. As a result, they have made efforts to accommodate these requirements. Consider informing the cruise line about any dietary restrictions or allergies in advance to ensure that appropriate arrangements can be made. Many cruise lines now offer dedicated menus for children, with familiar favorites like hamburgers, pizzas, and pasta, ensuring that even the youngest members of the family are satisfied.


Some cruise lines also offer alternative dining venues during specific times of the day. These venues can be more casual and provide quick bites or snack options. They are perfect for families on the go or those who want a more relaxed dining experience. Examples of these venues include poolside grills and cafes.


It’s also worth mentioning that room service is available on most cruise ships, allowing you to enjoy meals and snacks in the comfort of your cabin. This can be particularly convenient for families with younger children who may need flexible dining options or for those who prefer a more leisurely mealtime.


Research the dining options available on your specific cruise line and familiarize yourself with their policies and procedures. Many cruise lines provide online menus or dining guides that outline the various restaurants, their specialties, and opening hours. Taking the time to plan your family’s dining experiences in advance can help ensure a smooth and enjoyable culinary journey during your cruise.


Remember that dining onboard a cruise is not just about the food but also the experience. Encourage your family to try new dishes and flavors, and savor the opportunity to dine together in an enjoyable and relaxed atmosphere.


By exploring the diverse dining options available, you can ensure that everyone in your family finds something they love, making your cruise even more satisfying and memorable.


Navigating Onboard Entertainment

One of the highlights of a family cruise is the variety of onboard entertainment options available to keep everyone entertained and engaged throughout the voyage. From Broadway-style shows to thrilling activities, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Here are some tips for navigating the onboard entertainment and making the most of your family’s cruise experience.


Firstly, familiarize yourself with the entertainment schedule provided by the cruise line. The schedule will outline the various shows, performances, and activities happening onboard throughout the voyage. Take note of the times and locations to ensure you don’t miss out on any must-see performances or events.


Broadway-style productions are a staple of cruise ship entertainment. These shows feature talented casts, elaborate costumes, and stunning sets. Check the schedule and plan to attend the shows that appeal to your family’s interests. Arriving early to secure good seats is recommended, as popular shows can fill up quickly.


In addition to the main theater productions, cruise ships often offer a variety of other entertainment options. Look out for live music performances in lounges or outdoor venues, comedy acts, and specialty performances such as magic shows or acrobatic displays. These performances offer a unique and diverse entertainment experience for the whole family.


Kids’ clubs and teen lounges often organize their own activities and events. These programs are designed to keep children and teenagers engaged and entertained. Check the daily activity schedules specifically for these age groups to ensure that your children don’t miss out on any fun experiences or themed parties.


Some cruise lines provide onboard games and tournaments that the whole family can participate in. Look for trivia contests, scavenger hunts, or mini-golf tournaments to enjoy some friendly competition. These activities not only entertain but also provide opportunities for bonding and creating lasting memories.


Many cruise ships have movie theaters or outdoor movie screens where you can watch the latest films or classic favorites under the stars. Take advantage of these screenings to enjoy a family movie night and relax together. Don’t forget to bring blankets or towels for added comfort.


For those who enjoy a bit of thrill and adventure, many cruise ships offer adrenaline-pumping activities. Look for rock climbing walls, zip lines, or high-speed waterslides that provide excitement and fun for both children and adults. These activities often have age and height restrictions, so make sure to check the requirements before participating.


As with any entertainment venue, it is advisable to arrive early to popular events to secure seats. Arriving early also allows you to explore the surrounding area and get a feel for the venue before the show or performance begins. Additionally, be considerate of other guests and follow any guidelines or rules provided by the cruise staff.


Participating in onboard entertainment is a great way to make the most of your family cruise experience. Encourage your family members to try new activities, join in the fun, and immerse themselves in the entertainment options available.


By planning ahead, being aware of the onboard entertainment schedule, and taking advantage of the diverse offerings, you can create a memorable and enjoyable cruise experience for the entire family.


Ensuring Safety of All Family Members

When embarking on a family cruise, safety should always be a top priority. It is essential to take proactive measures to ensure the well-being of all family members throughout the voyage. Here are some important tips to keep in mind to ensure a safe and worry-free cruising experience.


Familiarize yourself and your family with the ship’s safety procedures. Attend mandatory muster drills conducted at the beginning of the cruise to understand the location of life jackets, emergency exits, and assembly stations in case of an emergency. Pay close attention to the instructions provided by the crew members during these drills to ensure everyone knows what to do in an emergency situation.


Keep a watchful eye on younger children at all times, especially in open public areas and near swimming pools. Establish clear rules and boundaries to ensure their safety and prevent accidents. If needed, consider bringing along life jackets or flotation devices for children who are not strong swimmers, even if the ship provides them.


Encourage older children and teenagers to follow the safety guidelines and rules set by the cruise line. Remind them about responsible behavior and the importance of not engaging in risky activities or going beyond designated areas without proper authorization.


Maintain good hygiene practices to prevent the spread of germs and illnesses onboard. Encourage frequent handwashing, especially before meals and after using the restrooms. Make use of hand sanitizers available throughout the ship, particularly in high-traffic areas, to further minimize the risk of illness.


It is advisable to designate a meeting point for the family in case anyone gets separated while onboard. Choose a specific location that is easy to find and communicate it to all family members. This will help ensure that everyone can regroup quickly and safely in the event of separation.


Prioritize sun safety, especially when spending time outdoors and enjoying the pool or beach areas. Pack and apply sunscreen regularly, wear wide-brimmed hats, and seek shade during peak sun hours. Be mindful of the signs of overheating or sunburn and take necessary precautions to avoid any discomfort or health issues.


Stay informed about the ship’s medical facilities and procedures. Familiarize yourself with the location of the ship’s medical center and the services it provides. If any family member has specific medical needs, make the necessary arrangements with the cruise line or consult with medical professionals prior to the trip.


Always adhere to the rules and guidelines provided by the cruise line when visiting ports of call. Be mindful of local customs, follow the instructions provided by tour guides, and ensure that family members stay together while exploring ashore. Carry identification documents and emergency contact information with you at all times.


Lastly, trust your instincts and maintain situational awareness while onboard. If you observe any suspicious behavior or notice anything that raises concerns, report it to the ship’s security personnel immediately. Your vigilance can contribute to the overall safety and security of all passengers, including your family.


By following these safety tips and guidelines, you can help ensure the well-being of your family members during the cruise. Remember, safety is a shared responsibility, and everyone should actively participate in creating a secure and enjoyable environment for all.


Exploring Port Excursions for Families

One of the most exciting aspects of a family cruise is the opportunity to explore different ports of call and engage in unique shore excursions. Planning family-friendly activities in each destination can enhance the overall cruise experience and create cherished memories. Here are some tips for finding and selecting port excursions that cater to the needs and interests of your family.


Research the port of call in advance to get an idea of the activities and attractions available. Look for excursions that are suitable for all age groups and offer a mix of adventure, culture, and relaxation. Popular family-friendly excursions often include beach trips, wildlife encounters, cultural tours, and interactive experiences.


Consider the duration of the excursion and the attention span of your family members. Shorter excursions may be more suitable for families with young children or those who prefer a more leisurely pace. Longer excursions may be ideal for families looking for a more immersive experience or those with older children who can handle longer periods of exploration.


Pay attention to any restrictions or requirements for each excursion. Some activities may have age or height restrictions, while others may require a certain level of fitness or physical ability. Make sure to choose excursions that everyone in the family can safely participate in and enjoy.


Look for excursions that offer a mix of educational and recreational elements. Many ports of call have historical landmarks, museums, or cultural sites worth exploring. Combining these with activities like snorkeling, kayaking, or hiking can create a well-rounded experience for the whole family.


Consider booking excursions directly through the cruise line or reputable tour operators. These options often come with guarantees of reliability, safety, and knowledgeable guides. Additionally, booking through the cruise line may provide the convenience of transportation to and from the ship.


Read reviews and recommendations from other families who have taken similar excursions. Online travel forums and cruise review websites can provide valuable insights and firsthand experiences that can help you make an informed decision. Pay attention to the feedback regarding the suitability of the excursion for families and the level of enjoyment for different age groups.


Be mindful of the budget when selecting port excursions. While some excursions may be relatively inexpensive, others can be quite costly. Determine a budget for excursions and choose options that align with your family’s financial resources. Remember that sometimes the most memorable experiences can be found in simple and affordable activities, such as exploring local markets or taking a leisurely stroll through charming neighborhood streets.


Keep in mind that not every family member has to participate in the same excursion. Different interests and age groups may warrant separate activities. If needed, consider splitting up to allow each family member to choose an excursion that suits their preferences, while still planning for quality time together during other parts of the day.


Lastly, be mindful of the timing of the excursion and the ship’s departure schedule. It’s important to allow ample time to return to the ship to avoid missing the departure. Leave a buffer for unexpected delays, such as traffic or unexpected changes in the itinerary.


By considering these tips and planning ahead, you can select port excursions that cater to the interests and needs of your family, ensuring an enjoyable and memorable experience for everyone during the cruise.


Tips for Successful Family Cruising

A successful family cruise requires careful planning and consideration to ensure that everyone has a fun and enjoyable experience. Here are some valuable tips to help you make the most of your family cruising adventure:


1. Plan and prepare in advance. Research the cruise ship, destinations, and onboard activities to familiarize yourself with what’s available. Pre-book any desired dining reservations, entertainment shows, or shore excursions to secure your preferred options and avoid disappointment.


2. Pack wisely. Make a checklist of essential items, including appropriate clothing for different activities, swimwear, sunscreen, medications, and necessary travel documents. Don’t forget to pack items to keep everyone entertained during downtime, such as books, games, or portable electronic devices.


3. Establish rules and expectations. Set clear guidelines for behavior, safety, and daily routines for each family member. Discuss expectations regarding both independent and shared activities to ensure everyone’s needs and desires are met during the cruise.


4. Communicate with the cruise staff. Don’t hesitate to approach the crew if you have any questions, concerns, or specific requests. They are there to ensure your family’s comfort and enjoyment, so don’t be afraid to ask for assistance or information.


5. Use technology to stay connected. Many cruise ships offer Wi-Fi and communication packages, allowing you to stay in touch with family members during the cruise. Establish designated meeting points and times to regroup if you get separated while onboard.


6. Be flexible and open to new experiences. Embrace the opportunity to try activities or foods that may be unfamiliar. Encourage your family members to step outside their comfort zones and engage in new adventures. This openness to new experiences can lead to unexpected discoveries and priceless memories.


7. Respect other passengers and crew members. Ensure that your family members are mindful of noise levels, personal space, and common etiquette while onboard. Encourage politeness, gratitude, and respect towards both fellow passengers and the ship’s staff.


8. Emphasize quality time together. While cruise ships offer plenty of activities and entertainment, it’s important to carve out moments for uninterrupted family bonding. Whether it’s sharing a meal, playing a game, or simply enjoying the scenic views, cherish these moments of togetherness.


9. Pace yourselves. The excitement and variety of activities on a cruise can be overwhelming. Encourage breaks and downtime for relaxation, especially for younger children. Balancing rest and activities will help ensure that everyone stays refreshed and energized throughout the cruise.


10. Have a positive attitude and go with the flow. Unexpected challenges or changes may arise during the cruise, but maintaining a positive outlook and adaptability will make a significant difference. Embrace the adventure and make the most of every moment with your family.


Remember, a family cruise is an opportunity to create lasting memories and strengthen the bond with your loved ones. By following these tips, you can ensure a successful and enjoyable family cruising experience that will be cherished by everyone for years to come.



A family cruise offers an incredible opportunity to create lifelong memories, explore new destinations, and strengthen bonds with loved ones. By following the tips and considerations outlined in this article, you can ensure a successful and enjoyable family cruising experience.


Choosing the right cruise line that caters to your family’s needs and preferences is crucial. Researching the amenities, dining options, and entertainment offerings provided by different cruise lines will help you make an informed decision that aligns with your family’s interests.


Selecting the ideal cabin is important for ensuring comfort and convenience during the voyage. Consider the size, layout, location, and amenities of the cabin to accommodate the whole family comfortably.


Planning family-friendly activities onboard is key to keeping everyone entertained. Take advantage of the kids’ clubs, entertainment shows, sports facilities, and swimming pools offered by the cruise line to create a memorable and engaging experience for each family member.


When it comes to dining, cruise ships provide a wide array of options to cater to everyone’s tastes and dietary preferences. From formal dining in the main dining room to casual buffets and specialty restaurants, there is something to satisfy every palate.


Navigating onboard entertainment requires careful planning and coordination. Research the entertainment schedule, make reservations for popular shows, and participate in a variety of activities that appeal to different family members.


Ensuring the safety of all family members is of utmost importance. Familiarize yourself with the ship’s safety procedures, keep an eye on younger children, practice good hygiene, and establish a meeting point in case of separation.


Exploring port excursions provides an opportunity to discover new cultures and engage in thrilling activities. Research the available excursions, consider age-appropriateness and interests, and choose activities that allow for quality family time.


Lastly, by following the tips for successful family cruising, including planning in advance, packing wisely, establishing rules, and staying positive and flexible, you can create a memorable and enjoyable family cruise experience filled with adventure and relaxation.


So start planning your family’s cruise adventure today, and embark on a journey that will create lasting memories and strengthen the bonds between your loved ones for years to come.