Ship: Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean International
Itineraries: Seven-night Western Caribbean and Eastern Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Price: From $749 per person based on double occupancy; third and fourth berth fares from $399
Standout Perk: Kids can rub shoulders with Shrek, Po the Panda, and other DreamWorks characters
You’d be hard-pressed to find a Royal Caribbean ship that doesn’t indulge pint-sized passengers, but Allure and Oasis are the latest and greatest in the 22-ship fleet. They boast loft-style staterooms, the cruise line’s first nursery for infants and toddlers (6 months or older), the first carousels and zip lines at sea, 43-foot-tall rock-climbing walls, two surf simulators apiece, and a special spa for kids and teens. Thanks to a partnership with DreamWorks Animation, guests get to mingle with characters from Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and other animated faves. Serious fans should choose Allure, the exclusive venue for a Madagascar-themed aqua show and How to Train Your Dragon on ice.
The 16-deck, 5,400-passenger ships have expansive “youth zones” with dedicated spaces for 3- to 5-year-olds, 6- to 8-year-olds, and 9- to 11-year-olds. A packed calendar of supervised activities for kids and teens—from finger painting and scavenger hunts to DJ training and themed dance parties—means parents get plenty of “me time” (or maybe even sexy time!). Western Caribbean itineraries include a stop at Labadee, Haiti, Royal Caribbean’s private peninsula. With five beaches, a 4,000-foot-long zip line, and a water park complete with floating trampolines, it’s a hit with both kids and their parents.
Parents of infants will appreciate Royal Caribbean’s Babies 2 Go program, which allows you to order organic baby food, and Huggies diapers, wipes, and creams for delivery to your stateroom. Don’t worry about packing toys either. The cruise line’s Fisher-Price Toy Lending Program lets you borrow them like library books.