ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISE LINES
Older kids need distractions and special attention; Royal Caribbean gives them both. Depending on the ship, the line taps into the T-sets’ bottomless well of energy with rock-climbing walls, zip-lines, ice- and inline-skating, surf simulators, boxing rings, and basketball and volleyball courts. For its youth programs, RCI wisely splits up tweens and teens into their appropriate age groups.
It also treats the underage crowd like mini-adults with such sophisticated amenities as spa treatments designed especially for the primping generation and their adolescent needs; DJ lessons; teens-only casino nights; backstage tours of the ship; and no-elders-allowed lounges where they can dance, drink cocktails and socialize with their confreres until past their parents’ bedtimes. The packed schedule, overseen by an attentive crew, lets parents enjoy their own downtime without worrying about their kids.
CRUISE LINE PROFILE
Established: 1968 No. of Ships: 25
Most Popular Itineraries: Caribbean, Panama Canal, Alaska, Trans-Atlantic and Europe
Cost: Low to Moderate
Style: High activity and excitement on-board.
Known For: BIG ships! Yes, RCCL has the largest cruise ships afloat today and, at least with RCCL, bigger IS better!
Activity Highlights: Ships are designed to give passengers a flood of sensory excitement in physically and mentally challenging activities; kids, teens and young adults are the target audience, but more sedentary diversions are offered to the older adults.
Food Highlights: While not a gourmet cruise line by most standards, Royal Caribbean's food is usually good enough to please most of its passengers. Many of the ships offer a variety of specialty restaurants beyond the main dining rooms and buffet, including a steakhouse, Italian trattoria, pizza place, quick snack deli, Asian and Mexican options -- some requiring an extra fee. The food and service in these specialty restaurants are typically a notch above what you find in the main dining room.