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A Sea Change In Family Cruising

Written by: Kuki

In just the last few months a sea change has occurred in family cruising. The cruise lines have always been very aware of the family cruise market. Almost every cruise line has had children’s programs, with areas devoted to keeping “the kids” entertained, employing kids counselors and programming to interest and challenge them, and at the same time “baby sit” them, enabling parents to have some time on their own to enjoy the more adult oriented activities available on the ships.
Over time the cruise lines have expanded programs to cover just about every kids age grouping; creating separate areas for toddlers, pre-teens, teens, and more recently paying more attention to those over 18 but younger than 21.

When Disney entered the cruise business they forced the other major cruise lines to devote more of their attention to at least attempt to compete for the family cruise market business.

Now there’s been a virtual explosion of innovations and established partnerships which has taken the competition for that family cruise market to an entirely new level.

The newly floated Disney Dream, Norwegian Epic, and Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas are making anyone who’s considering a family cruise sit up and take notice.

Even before they entered the cruise business Disney’s entire business was built on kids and families, and there’s not many businesses that do it better than Disney. But, at least in terms of the cruise business, the competition is making some pretty dramatic innovations to attempt to grow and get a bigger share of that market.

With the three previously mentioned cruise lines debuting new ships in so close a time span, Norwegian Epic was first out of the shipyard, showcasing their new partnership with Nickelodeon on the new ship. All the characters the kids are familiar with from Nickelodeon, like Sponge Bob Square Pants, and Dora the Explorer, will be featured onboard in various activities, such as a character breakfast which families can book.

Aside from all the Nickelodeon characters the Epic offers water parks, including water slides which will be a hit with the entire family.

The next ship to debut was Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas; the largest ship in the world. Aside from it’s shear size, and features like the Flo-Rider, Ice Skating Rink, rock climbing walls, and Waterworks, which already existed on earlier Royal Caribbean ships, the Allure debuted the new partnership with the Dreamworks Studio. The partnership with Dreamworks bring Shrek, Fiona, the cast of Madagascar and all Dreamworks’ characters to sea, along with 3D theater technology showing Dreamworks movies (including new releases, as they are playing in land based movie houses).

In January the new Disney Dream will debut, and this ship is sure to WOW the family cruise market, with a combination of everything Disney and all the current technology to make it come to life like never before on a ship.

Paul Motter, our Editor In Chief has covered all three of the details of these new ships in depth over the past few months, and that information can be accessed and reviewed easily from our Home Page.

While I’m sure there’s some cruisers who would prefer to see less children on their cruises, rather than more, with the major investment in family entertainment that these three cruise lines have made in these three ships, it should be obvious just how important they believe the family market is going to be to their future.

It seems they’ve made cruising for families as complete a package as any land based facility catering to the family vacation. It’s a boon to families, but frankly won’t hold any appeal to me personally… at least until I have some grandchildren. – A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising

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Comments

Comment from Paul Motter
Time December 15, 2010 at 1:03 am

While it does seem like an unusually deep commitment, especially by Royal Caribbean, I think they are trying to fill a void in the vacation world which has left the entire kids-based market to Disney.

Disney is a wildly successful cruise line – look at what they get per day for a balcony cabin (3 to 4 times the dollar average for a Carnival cruise).

NCL has not seen that kind of benefit yet, but the commitment to kids by RCL is a lot bigger – 3D movies, stage shows, etc.

There’s gold in them there hills. I am looking forward to seeing moore Disney myself, the shows are just plain good, and they are enjoyable by adults as well as kids. The same wth RCL – their ships have something for everyone.

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time December 15, 2010 at 6:26 am

The family cruise that is unique and original, is the Disney product. Personally do not think that RCCL will even begin to capture what Disney has pioneered.

That being said, however, RCCL, correctly RCI, will capture the family cruise business by offering cruises to adults that love the RCI product, and will provide a total family experience.

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time December 16, 2010 at 6:13 am

Costa Cruises, LONG before Carnival bought them up, tried very unsuccesfull, in the mid-1980′s to run a family based cruise line, called American Family Cruises. This was also long before Disney had their cruise line. I think the ship that was used was the Eugenia C, renamed, and painted, with a black or dark blue hull. I can not vouch for the cruises, nor the interior of the ship. Popular cartoon characters were to be aboard for the cruises.

Premiere also tried the family theme, with one of their Big Red Boats.

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time January 8, 2011 at 8:24 am

Interestingly, as some more demand, who’s demand I can’t imagine, for family cruises seems to be in vogue, AGAIN, P & O the veddy British side of Carnival/Princess, has allocated yet one more of their cruise liners to be exclusively all adult, no kids.

The chosen ship ORIANA, replaced the ageing Artemis, November 2010. The Oriana is more liner than cruise ship, her exterior lines are graceful, her interiors are upscale.

Oriana joins Adonia and Arcadia on the lucretive adults only market.

Adults only, you say. Oceania has NO pricing for children and absolutely NO activities for them. So, there is a market for adult only cruises.

P&O offers a wonderful all family experience on their other ships, and the addition of adults only cruising has worked out well for P&O over the last 10 years.

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