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4 Family-Friendly Winter Cruise Ideas

Discover upcoming itineraries that cater to families with age-appropriate programming and excursions.

U.S. News & World Report

4 Family-Friendly Winter Cruise Ideas

Low angle view of parents with their daughter standing on the deck of a cruise ship

From a relaxing Caribbean cruise to an offbeat expedition to Patagonia, these sailings offer an all-ages appeal, with activities and amenities tailored to all interests and generations.Getty Images/Purestock

With summer behind us and the fall and winter holidays just around the corner, now seems as good a time as any to start planning the next family vacation. Instead of a beach break or ski getaway, a family cruise offers a convenient and cost-effective alternative winter vacation. After all, there are a variety of innovative cruise lines increasing their product offerings and showcasing itineraries to exotic destinations to excite even the most well-traveled broods. However, picking a ship and itinerary that's tailored to all family members' needs and interests can feel like an elusive task. That's why we've pinpointed enticing voyages that cater to all age groups with versatile diversions and enrichment options. Whether you're traveling with toddlers, tweens or teens, here are enticing at-sea vacation ideas to consider this winter.

Explore Asian Metropolises with Regent Seven Seas

Regent Seven Seas' high-end, all-inclusive ships take visitors to world-class destinations. This winter, discover top destinations across Asia, from Hong Kong to Beijing, aboard the Regent Seven Seas Voyager. Departing on Dec. 17, this 12-day cruise offers plenty of outdoor activities. Kids will enjoy the waterfalls of Miyazaki, Japan, and the legendary street food scene in Hong Kong. Back on the ship, families can expect enrichment programs and all-inclusive meals and beverages. Even better, the ship's spacious cabins can easily fit two adults and two children. As for onboard cuisine, families can choose from a variety of dining options, from fast food (think: burgers and French fries) at the pool deck to a sophisticated Italian eatery to a popular steakhouse.

Tour Australia with Princess Cruises

For a far-flung family vacation this winter, consider exploring Australia aboard the Sea Princess this winter. Leaving Brisbane on Dec. 17, the Sea Princess will take passengers to Airlie Beach, a launching pad to the Whitsunday Archipelago and the Great Barrier Reef. And on the ship, little ones can enjoy a variety of onboard activities and entertainment, from dance classes to volleyball to enrichment classes. Best of all, kids are divided into three different clubs with age-appropriate programming (think: pajama movie nights, talent shows and treasure hunts). In the evening, parents can retrieve their kids and enjoy "Movies Under the Stars" kid- and teen-friendly film screenings or check out one of the ship's versatile dining venues.

Cruise to the Caribbean with Disney

Disney Cruise Line's four ships offer plenty of bells and whistles for families. Aboard each Disney ship, you'll find numerous kid-friendly activities and services that are well-suited for the young – and the young at heart. Disney characters pop up frequently throughout the kids club and in communal spaces. Spend a day at sea with beloved different characters and enjoy family-friendly activities like Pirate Night soirees. Best of all, there are plenty of family-friendly stateroom category options that cater to budget-conscious broods. Depart from Port Canaveral, Florida, on a four-night cruise aboard the Disney Dream on Dec. 22 for a fun and action-packed adventure through the Bahamas, with stops in Nassau and Castaway Cay, Disney's privately owned isle.

Discover Patagonia with Seabourn

Celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, Seabourn offers one of the most unique family-friendly trips in winter. For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, start planning next year's winter trip early. The epic journey to Antarctica and Patagonia aboard the Seabourn Quest departs on Nov. 29, 2018, and includes a jampacked agenda. Animal lovers of all ages can admire penguins, seals and other fascinating wildlife up close via daily Zodiac boat trips. Back onboard the ship, kids can unwind in the hot tub, catch shows, play board games and curl up with a book at the library. What's more, the onboard dining options are versatile and include kid-friendly offerings.

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About En Route

Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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