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5 best cruise lines for families, according to travelers

It seems to be smooth sailing ahead for the cruise industry, according to recent reporting. A study by Cruise Lines International Association shows that traveling by cruise is becoming one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors.

And an October survey from Condé Nast Traveler revealed that 47% of people said they would be interested in setting sail on a ship.

In October, U.S. News and World Report published its 2023 ranking of the best cruises for families. The report ranked the top five ships out of 17 of the most popular ocean cruise lines and gave them a rating of one through five.

U.S. News and World Report assessed the cruise lines based on the following categories:

  1. Each line’s overall rating
  2. The aggregate traveler rating by “families with kids”
  3. The percentage of reviews on Cruiseline.com that are left by family travelers

For a cruise line to qualify for this ranking, at least 20% of its total traveler reviews had to come from families.

No. 1 cruise for families: Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line is the best cruise line for families, with a rating of 4.46.

The cruise line has five ships: Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy and Disney Wish. A sixth ship, Disney Treasure, is set to set sail in December 2024.

According to the report, Disney receives accolades from families for its whimsical amenities and well-equipped staterooms. The size of Disney’s ships varies, but each vessel promises to have approximately one crew member for every three passengers, according to the report.

Disney Cruise Line is the best cruise for families, travelers say.

Horacio Villalobos | Corbis News | Getty Images

Disney Cruise Line allows customers to travel to the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Caribbean, Australia and the Pacific and trips can last between two and 15 nights.

On board, Disney Cruise Line offers youth clubs, movie theaters and themed pools. Guests also get to eat in Disney-themed main dining rooms, attend character meet-and-greets and experience Disney-inspired entertainment.

Disney Cruise Line is typically more expensive than other family-friendly cruise lines, the report states. If planning a trip, you should expect to pay at least $1,000 on a cruise for two passengers and the price goes up from there, according to NerdWallet.

The 5 best cruise lines for families

Royal Caribbean International is the No. 2 cruise for families.

James D. Morgan | Getty Images News | Getty Images

As of 2022, the cruise line operates 26 ships and two privately owned resorts: Labadee on the northern coast of Haiti and Coco Cay, a private island in the Bahamas.

In 2019, Royal Caribbean International announced it has plans to open a private island in the South Pacific.

Itineraries range from two to 28 nights. Royal Caribbean International also offers The Ultimate World Cruise, which lasts 274 nights and goes to over 60 countries.

Carnival Cruises is one of the top three cruise line for families, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Aaronp/bauer-griffin | Gc Images | Getty Images

The No. 3 best cruise for families is Carnival Cruise Line, with a rating of 3.90.

Carnival has 25 ships that depart from all over the world, including New York, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami and more. The cruise line offers trips to Mexico, Hawaii, Europe and the Caribbean, to name a few.

Like Disney, each Carnival ship carries approximately one crew member for every three passengers.

Unlike other cruises, Wi-Fi doesn’t come free on Carnival ships. To get connected, you’ll have to purchase a package, according to NerdWallet. [I don’t know if there is free WiFi on most cruises? Definitely not Norwegian which is also in the top 5. Let’s confirm or remove this line. Swap in another detail]

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