Innovative Cruise Programs for Kids

| May 4, 2009

Many cruise lines have recently added new and inventive childrens' activites aboard their ships.

Cruise lines have a knack for reinventing themselves in regards to onboard programming. When it comes to children, tweens and teens, this is no exception. Recently, many family-friendly cruise lines have instituted new, inventive activities onboard to engage kids of all ages. In addition, a number of services have been added at some cruise lines to make cruising with an infant easier than ever.

Below are details of the new kid-friendly programming at sea as well as added infant/toddler services.

Disney Cruise Line Disney Cruise Line once again is adding facilities and services to facilitate cruising aboard a DCL ship with infants and toddlers. The Disney Magic recently installed a new toddler water playground called Mickey's Splash Zone. The 385-foot square foot extension to the Mickey Pool features interactive fountains, a soft play surface and entertaining water play areas. Mickey's Splash Zone is specifically for those not yet toilet trained and it has a different filtration system than the Mickey Pool.

As someone who has cruised many times with an infant, I found the most daunting part of that experience to be packing a week's worth of baby supplies including diapers, formula, baby food and wipes. Now parents cruising on DCL can order these supplies in advance of their cruise and have them delivered to their stateroom. This can be done via the website, which is linked to a special section of the Babies Travel Lite website where familiar baby products can be ordered.

DCL has recently expanded its youth programming. Geared towards the three to seven year olds, Toy Story Boot Camp programming is led by Corporal Green from the movie Toy Story. Children are "toy recruits" and engage in interactive activities themed around the movie. All For One is inspired by Disney Channel's movie High School Musical. This scavenger hunt for eight to 12 year olds is themed around finding lost props and costumes for the musical and it concludes as children perform in a High School Musical show for their parents. For teens, a new shipboard social website has been developed exclusively called T.O.R.C.H. While aboard Disney ships, teens can post messages to a community board, check out photos from their cruise and more. Lastly, DCL has a new end of the voyage celebration for children and tweens. This event is called Friendship Rocks! and it is presented to parents by the kids and youth counselors on the last day of each cruise. Featured are popular songs by Hannah Montana, the Jonas Brothers and other Disney Channel stars.

MSC Cruises MSC Cruises has teamed up with Nintendo and has outfitted its newest ship, the MSC Fantasia which was christened in December, with a whopping 114 Wii consoles. This includes 9 Wii sport consoles in the sports bar; 4 Wii fit stations with balance board in the fitness center; a competition console on the Sports Deck; and another console in the pool area that's connected to a large 23 X 9-foot screen for competitions.

Other family friendly facilities on the ship include an interactive 4D cinema. There are extensive outdoor sports facilities including basketball court, tennis court, shuffleboard, and four swimming pools. There is also an Aqua Park which features 150 water fountains for splashing. By night this area is transformed and atmospherically lit up.

Continue Article >> Norwegian Cruise Line (Part 2)

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