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6 Best Family-Friendly Winter Cruise Ideas

Your family members will love our winter cruise ideas.
Last Updated
February 7, 2024
Editorial Staff
Alaskan cruise ship drifting near a glacier
Canva Photos

Let us paint you a picture: It’s two weeks into winter break. The kids have already torn through the stash of holiday chocolate. You’re weary of “I’m bored” complaints echoing through the house. Cabin fever has set in and everyone’s going stir crazy.

Desperate times call for a family winter cruise! Just imagine breaking free from dreary weather into sunshine and basking by a pool as the ship glides through turquoise waters. No cooking or cleaning for a blissful week—just quality time bonding with the fam between thrilling port adventures. Almost too good to be true, right?

Well, daydream no more! This guide will give you the inside scoop on booking an unforgettable, kid-pleasing cruise packed with activities for cranky toddlers, bored teens, stressed-out parents and action-craving grandparents alike. We’ll spill on which cruise lines go above and beyond on family perks, from waterparks and complimentary babysitting to designate kids’ clubs to please all pint-sized travelers.

No one does family vacations better than the cruise industry these days. Let us show you how to take full advantage for a winter cruise chock-full of laughter, relaxation and memories to cherish for years. Icebergs, snorkeling and hot chocolate on deck anyone? Keep reading to plot your family’s dream getaway at sea!


Tour Australia with Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises cruise ship in Sydney, Australia
Princess Cruises

If you are planning a family vacation this winter, Princess Cruises offers a wide range of family-friendly activities that will keep everyone busy. For example, you and your kids can take part in a Broadway-caliber stage show, which features original music by award-winning composer Steven Schwartz. The cruise line also offers opportunities for audience participation with the “Voice of the Ocean” musical competition, the High Seas Heist mystery challenge, and the “Can You Survive?” game show.

Teens will enjoy the Teen Spa, which provides age-appropriate activities like body polish and manicures. Guests can also participate in educational programs, with the Youth Center incorporating programs from the California Science Center and the National Park Service Junior Rangers. There are also teen makeovers, dance classes, and game tournaments.

Dining is an important part of any cruise and Princess Cruises has a variety of kid-friendly options. There’s a kids’ menu on select nights, as well as a dedicated teen area. Additionally, there are several specialty restaurants on board. Some of these restaurants charge a cover charge. If you have any special dietary restrictions, you should contact Princess Cruises in advance.

For kids, Princess offers a variety of enriching activities that are fun and educational for everyone. They can participate in special events and games, such as Movies Under the Stars, and take part in Zumba fitness classes. For parents and grandparents, there are also themed events and activities that will keep everyone entertained.


Explore Asian Metropolises with Regent Seven Seas

Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Seven Seas Explorer cruise ship has arrived in Singapore
Travel Weekly Asia

There are many ways to save money while on an Asian cruise. Many of the cruise lines offer special promotions during the off-peak travel season, which is typically January through March. Many cruise lines will also offer discounts on some of their most popular trips. These deals can help you cross another bucket-list item off your list.

Asia’s ancient temples and peaceful landscapes will inspire you and stir your senses. Explore some of the most culturally rich areas of Asia on a Regent Seven Seas cruise. You can learn how to cook delicious dishes, and you can even ride Sumatran elephants!

Whether you’re traveling with children or with a significant other, you’ll find a family-friendly cruise with Regent Seven Seas. The stylish midsize ships offer an elegant yet casual cruise experience with excellent cuisine. The cruise line has spent over $100 million on refurbishments in the last several years. Its three ships now compare favorably with newer ships in the same category. Travelers can find a Regent Seven Seas cruise in Asia, Europe, or the Caribbean. You’ll also find cruises to South America, the Middle East, and Alaska.


Sailing Down the Norwegian Fjords with Windstar Cruises

Windstar Cruises at Norwegian Fjords

If you’re looking to cruise through the breathtaking landscape of Norway’s fjords, the Norwegian Cruise Line is a must-consider option. This company has been sailing commercial ships in Norway since 1848, and its fleet is perfectly suited for navigating the narrow waterways. All the ships feature inflatable RIB boats for passengers to use as they explore the local areas. You can also book special excursions such as viewing the northern lights or experiencing the festive Christmas season aboard the ship.

Sailing down the Norwegian fjords is a truly magical experience. You can take in the scenery from a boat, and take in the magnificent glaciers and dramatic landscapes. You can also enjoy the stunning views of the famous Hardangerfjord and Folgefonna glacier, which are UNESCO-listed. Another must-see while sailing down the Norwegian fjords is the Flam Railway, famous for its scenic tour.

Another Windstar cruise itinerary is the seven-day “Scenic Alaska” cruise. The cruise is popular with families during the summer break. Adults can also benefit from a shorter time off from work. The ship also offers expedition-style experiences in Costa Rica, with wet landings in remote locations.

While sailing in Alaska, you’ll have the chance to stop in Seattle and enjoy the city. You can also enjoy multiple excursions every day. While kayaking through the Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness, taking a Zodiac ride through the Frederick Sound, or meeting sled dogs, you can also enjoy some shopping and a brew at a local brewery.


Cruise to the Caribbean with Disney

Disney Cruise Line cruise ship in the Caribbean
Walt Disney Travel Company

When it comes to family-friendly cruises, there are many great options. Many Disney ships are designed for young children, with amenities such as playrooms and kiddie activities. These cruises also offer some of the roomiest and family-friendly staterooms. Some have hip bunk beds suspended from the ceiling and fold-out couches. There are two bathrooms, too, making it easy to accommodate everyone.

If you’re traveling with children, don’t miss Disney’s private island Castaway Cay, where there’s a snorkeling lagoon and stingray encounter. There are also lots of beaches to keep everyone happy. Guests can also look forward to the arrival of Star Wars Day at Sea on the Disney Fantasy in 2022, and Marvel superheroes will rule the Disney Magic on a five-night cruise that leaves Port Canaveral, Florida, in 2022.

Another great option is Carnival Sunshine, which offers a children’s water park called Waterworks. It’s a great place to hang out for the day with little ones, as this ship features a variety of slides, sprinklers, and padded surfaces. Parents can also watch the fun from the balcony deck. There are also games for kids, including an outdoor mini golf course and a basketball court.

Alternatively, you can book a seven-night western Caribbean cruise with Disney and the Disney Cruise Company for just $849 per person. The cruises are fully inclusive and include everything from shore excursions to onboard meals and beverages. In addition, some cruises include airport transfers and luggage handling. However, be aware that prices tend to be higher during this time of year.


Discover Patagonia with Seabourn

Seabourn cruise ship in Patagonia
Goldring Travel’s Making Waves

Cruises to Patagonia provide a family-friendly way to see this region. They reach remote islands and pass through channels that are almost untouched by man. They also pass by glaciers, fjords and waterfalls, and offer a close encounter with wildlife. Some cruises include Zodiac tours that allow passengers to experience this breathtaking scenery from the comfort of their ship.

Many of the cruises to Patagonia leave from Ushuaia, Argentina, Punta Arenas, Chile, and Buenos Aires, while longer cruises leave from Santiago, Chile. Patagonia has a variable climate, so you might want to consider traveling during the shoulder months for more pleasant weather. The shoulder months will have cooler temperatures and fewer gusts of wind. You’ll also want to visit during the whale migration to see colonies.

The cruises can be very luxurious. Seabourn has a 21-day itinerary that combines Antarctica and Patagonia. Guests will have the chance to visit naturist-friendly islands like the Galapagos. Families will also be able to see Incan ruins, Iguazu Falls, and lush rainforests.


Sail the Baltic Sea with Viking Ocean Cruises

Viking Ocean Cruises in the Baltic Sea
Viking Cruises

If you’re looking for family-friendly winter cruise ideas, consider sailing the Baltic Sea with Viking Ocean Cruises. The crew are experienced and knowledgeable about each port they visit. The public areas are designed for mingling, and guests can enjoy the many onboard amenities.

While most Finns prefer to fly, a cruise is a relaxing alternative. They enjoy the ferries and cruise ships, and once on board they are transported into another world. It’s the perfect way to re-invent oneself and relax.

Viking Ocean Cruises’ newest ship, the Viking Glory, will debut in 2022, and promises to sail smoothly. The cruise ship is equipped with modern technology and contemporary art, and it boasts one of the world’s most climate-smart vessels.

The Norwegian Dawn has huge windows, with light reflecting off the pale timber floors and white walls. You can watch movies or documentaries in your stateroom, or enjoy live music in the Star Theater. In addition, the ship features musical performances and cultural presentations. For example, in the Explorer’s Lounge, you can listen to a string quartet or a pianist perform, or enjoy a show that highlights the local culture. Throughout the ship, you can take part in cooking classes, attend afternoon tea, and buy souvenirs and jewelry.

Those looking for family-friendly winter cruise ideas will find the Arctic, Scandinavian, and Baltic Sea regions to be perfect for a family vacation. The vibrant landscapes of this region are home to the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. Viewing the northern lights can be an unforgettable experience. You can enjoy the northern lights from a port city or even from your ship.







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