Family Fun on New Ships: 2009 by Luisa Frey, CruiseMates Family Editor July 20, 2009
The next generation of vessels has plenty of new options for kids and teens.
There is no way your kids and teens will utter the words "I'm bored" -- yes, even your teens -- if you take them on any of the new ships entering the cruise market this year. From zip-lining aboard ship to the longest slide at sea, and even PlayStation3 in staterooms, this year's new ships will entertain kids of all ages.
CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES -- Carnival Dream
Set to debut in September, Carnival Dream has plenty of family-friendly amenities. Since the Carnival Dream is Carnival's largest ship to date, there is plenty of room for an extensive water park, and the ship will be home to the longest water slide at sea. In addition to the 303-foot-long, four-deck-high corkscrew water slide, there will be another 104-foot-long spiral water slide leading into a large funnel. The ship's WaterWorks park also includes twin double-lane, 80-foot racing slides and plenty of water spray fountains and dump buckets.
Other outdoor activities that will prove popular with families include Carnival's first 18-hole miniature golf course along with basketball and volleyball courts with stadium-style seating for spectators.
Carnival Dream's 5,000 sq. ft. youth activities area includes a section designed for two to five year olds complete with an arts and crafts area. The second area, for six to eight year olds, offers video game consoles including PlayStation2 and Wii. For nine to 11 year olds, the facility includes a karaoke machine, air hockey, foosball tables, PlayStation2 and Wii video game consoles.
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The ship has separate facilities for tweens and teens. Circle "C," the spot for 12 to 14-year olds, measures 1,075 sq.ft. The dedicated space features a dance floor, DJ booth, video juke box and Internet workstations. Adjacent to it is Club O2, a 2,740-sq.ft. "chill out" space for 15 to 17-year olds. Club O2 has a soda bar, music listening stations and state-of-the-art sound and lighting system.
Carnival Dream has dozens of family-friendly staterooms; some interconnect and others can accommodate up to five family members. The ship's deluxe ocean view staterooms have two bathrooms: one full bathroom and a second one with a junior bath tub, shower and sink.
CELEBRITY CRUISES -- Celebrity Equinox
The Celebrity Equinox, which enters service in late July, is a sister ship to the groundbreaking Celebrity Solstice. A unique facility that appeals to children is the Hot Glass Show. Once per cruise, youth counselors bring the children to this glass blowing studio where the youngsters can draw a picture of what they'd like made. The gaffers (glass blowing artists) then create the artwork out of glass and give it to the child to take home.
Since both ships have the only lawns at sea -- real green grass grows out on deck -- children are brought to the Lawn Club once per cruise for a Teddy Bear Picnic, which includes a "Story Time on the Lawn."
In addition, during each cruise, children in the youth program are brought to the Team Earth venue for a kids-only presentation. In partnership with Conservation International, Celebrity Equinox and Solstice feature Team Earth -- an interactive exhibit designed to capture the interest of passengers through nature photography, museum-quality exhibits and touch-screen displays. Children learn about nature, wildlife, conservation challenges and successes in an attempt to make them more aware of their future role as watchdogs of our planet.
Celebrity Equinox and Solstice both have Celebrity's Club X, a hang-out spot with a coffee and soda bar for teens only.