. Cruise Ship Vacation Activity Programs for Toddlers to Teens : Road & Travel Magazine

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Crusising with Kids Cruise Activities for Kids of All Ages

Parents contemplating a family cruise vacation, but concerned that their kids may be bored on any voyage other than Disney's, have nothing to fear. There's plenty to do at sea for children of all ages, on boats of all kinds.

Cruise lines provide plenty of organized activities to keep kids from toddlers to teenagers happily occupied, according to the travel agents that supply quotes to CruiseCompete.com, the world's only competitive cruise pricing website.

"For many parents, the crew members who organize and run the children's activities on a cruise ship are the unsung heros of the vacation," said Steven Gelfuso, CEO of CruiseBrothers.com.

"While most of us think of exotic destinations and lavish meals on a cruise, the first-rate children's programs offered by the major cruise lines provide oodles of fun for the kids, while giving their parents a well-deserved rest and opportunity to enjoy themselves to the fullest."

Bob Levinstein, CEO of CruiseCompete.com, says the children's programs separate kids by age and are typically staffed by fully trained and credentialed child-care providers. As one might expect, security is tight.

"The cruise lines have really stepped up in recent years to make cruises family friendly with plenty of activities for everyone, making it a real win-win proposition for both parents and their kids, who often can't wait to go on their next cruise," Levinstein said. "Mom and Dad can relax and enjoy the ship's amenities, knowing their kids are safe and enjoying themselves in good hands."

The following is a snapshot of children's offerings:

Royal Caribbean offers activities for children ages 3 to 17. To participate, toddlers must be fully potty-trained. Each member of the Adventure Ocean staff has a college degree in education, recreation or related field, or qualified experience.

Adventure Science combines plenty of fun and hands-on science experiments; Adventure Art by Crayola acquaints kids with diverse cultures through a variety of art projects; and Adventure Beach activities on sailings to CocoCay and the Labadee islands include sand castle contests, beach relays, parachute games and other water fun. Additional activities include extreme sports tournaments, musical festivities, behind-the-scenes tours, beach parties and talent shows.

Princess also offers plenty of fun for children ages 3 to 17. Youth activities vary by vessel, but generally include plenty organized activities supervised by a dedicated staff of youth activity professionals. Kids are separated by age- Princess Pelicans ages 3-7; Princess Pirateers ages 8-12 and Off Limits ages 13-17.

Kid cruisers enjoy non-stop activities, including arts and crafts, edutainment events, sports activities, scavenger hunts, deck parties, pizza and ice cream feasts, videos and more. Teens enjoy on-the-go events including dance parties, casino nights, karaoke, hip-hop dance classes, DJ workshops, talent shows, pizza parties and movie festivals.

In addition, most Princess cruise ships feature fully equipped youth and teen centers that keep young travelers entertained with ping pong and air hockey tables, big screen TVs, juke boxes, karaoke machines and the latest in video games. Newer ships include special toddler play areas, featuring doll houses, crawl-through castles and splash pools.

Carnival offers children's programs for youth ages 2 to 14. Each ship provides daily age-appropriate activities for younger travelers and teens alike. In addition, there is supervised "free play" and babysitting services available.

Camp Carnival is designed for families that want to enjoy "quality family time" at sea. Kids also have the option of spending time with their peers on board, whenever desired.

Holland America's childrens program, dubbed Club HAL, offers a variety of age- appropriate activities for younger visitors to the cruise line's private island, Half Moon Cay. The program was recently updated with a horseback riding excursion, a stingray lagoon experience, a new kids aqua park and wave runner park.

CruiseCompete.com saves consumers time and money by enabling them to secure quotes for cruise deals from multiple travel agencies without having to contact each one separately. To date, more than 275,000 customers have accessed CruiseCompete.com to request cruise prices from more than 200 member travel agencies around the country. These agents have provided more than one million quotes to consumers. CruiseCompete, LLC, is an independent company not owned by or affiliated with any travel agency. For more information, visit www.cruisecompete.com.

(Source: CruiseCompete)

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