The Best European Cruises for Families

The Best European Cruises for Families
Many cruise lines that travel to Europe are great for the entire family. Onboard activities can often be as fun as those at destinations, and several cruise lines offer activities just for kids and teens. Sports and recreation are available on cruises, with activities ranging from volleyball, basketball and pool games to yoga and pilates. Of course, on shore cruise vacationers can take guided tours, fish, hike or go on bicycle tours.

Costa Cruises

Costa Cruises travels to many destinations in Europe, including Atlantic cruises, which travel to England and Portugal, an Eastern and Western Mediterranean cruises, and a Norwegian Fjords cruise. Costa Cruises offers a variety of vacation packages and deals and is very kid-friendly.

Costa offers clubs for kids and teens, split into age groups, that are supervised by cruise staff. The clubs participate in arts and crafts, sports competitions (basketball, bowling, volleyball, etc.), games and treasure hunts, and nighttime parties and shows by teenage singers and dancers. Many of the Costa ships have tracks, basketball and volleyball courts on the open deck, where patrons can enjoy the sea breeze and participate in active sports. Yoga and pilates classes are offered, as well as personal trainers. Costa Cruises also offers themed dinners for kids, while the parents can have a night to themselves. Babysitting services are available, as well.

The Costa Fortuna, which travels to the Dominican Republic, the Antilles, Spain and Portugal, offers a family-affordable cruise package (2010 pricing).

Disney Cruise Line

Kids love Disney, and Disney Cruise Line offers active fun for kids and many European destinations and sightseeing opportunities for parents. Cruises include several different Mediterranean cruises, a week-long Barcelona to Dover cruise, and a 12-night Northern European Capitals Cruise, that visits Oslo, Copenhagen, St. Petersburg, Helsinki and Stockholm.

On board, Disney Cruise Line offers musical performances, movie showings, Disney character greetings and many other "Just for the Kids" and teenage activities. Young travelers will find many ways to take in the fresh air while being active while at sea. Disney's ships offer basketball and volleyball courts, where the younger ones might even get the chance to play a game with Goofy or Mickey Mouse. Each ship has a running track, shuffleboard and ping pong, as well.

The Mediterranean Magic Family Cruise Vacation is an affordable option for a family that travels to Malta, Rome, Florence, Naples, Tunisia, Corsica and Monaco.

Norwegian Cruise Line

The Norwegian Cruise Line offers many cruises around Europe, including a Greek Isles trip that departs from Venice, a Mediterranean trip that departs from Barcelona, a Baltic Capitals cruise that departs from Copenhagen and several trans-Atlantic cruises.

Norwegian Cruse Line is home to the first at-sea rock climbing wall, where patrons of all ages can climb and repel while their family watches from the pool area below. The ships feature tennis courts and jogging tracks, as well as indoor fitness centers. Yoga, pilates and spinning classes are offered at the fitness centers. Many other complimentary activities are available for the family, including arts and crafts, treasure hunts and a teen dance club. Many of the ships have onboard just-for-kids pools and a kid's café. Norwegian Cruise Line also offers babysitting services.

Article Written By Jenny Molberg

Jenny Molberg is a Texas native who has worked as an assistant editor at a literary magazine and her poems have been published in several nationally recognized journals. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing.

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