Family Cruise: Tips for Cruising with Kids on Carnival


Our knowledge was very limited for a family cruise. Mr. Serious had been on one when he was much younger, and I had never been. So we had no idea of what to expect with the girls and cruising. After taking our cruise partnering with Carnival, I thought I would share the things that we learned about our cruise that would work for a cruise for family of 4, 6, 8 or even more. We figured out the right amount of “stuff” to bring, how to navigate child care options (Camp Ocean) and the best family activities on the ship.

FAMILY CRUISE-tips for cruising with kids

Check out what we made sure to splurge on during our cruise.

>> You’ll want these bags! Suitcases make a difference. You’ll want one that is easy to load on the ship, but most importantly, will it under the bed during your cruise and will easily roll through baggage claim and waiting in line at customs at the end of your trip. We big puffy heart these American Tourister carryons. They fit everything we each needed for a week on our cruise. They are easy enough to roll on all four wheels so the kids can help pull or push them, too! You can see four of ours here (the black, the green, the blue and the flowered one! They go everywhere with us!) <<

American Tourister Splash LTE Spinner 20 Carry On Luggage, BlackAmerican Tourister Splash LTE Spinner 20 Carry On Luggage, BlackAmerican Tourister Ilite Max Softside Spinner 21, BlackAmerican Tourister Ilite Max Softside Spinner 21, Black

What to Bring When Cruising with Babies/Kids on Carnival

family cruises | cruise for family of 4, or 6.jpg

Family Cruise | JuJuBe BFF

Take Advantage of Camp Ocean

Camp Ocean | Family Cruise Carnival

Register your children online for Camp Ocean when you purchase your all-inclusive family cruise, because Camp Ocean is included. When you do it online, you fill everything out including parent info and allergies saving you time when you get onboard.

Camp Ocean is not available for children under the age of 2.

Family Cruise | Camp Ocean Penguins

{Camp Ocean: Penguin room}

Penguins is for ages 2-5.

They do not have to be potty trained. B did a ton of crafts and activities which included: Playing Wii Games, Circus, Parachute Games, Play-doh Fun, Seuss at Sea, Seuss Story Time, Totally Trains, Creepy Crawly Bugs and More.

Family Cruise | Camp Ocean Sting Rays

{Camp Ocean: Sting Ray room stacking competition}

Sting Rays is for ages 6-8.

N was our Sting Ray. She played basketball in the sports cage, created paper airplanes, did speed cup stacking, paper plate crafts, played elephant soccer, ocean bingo, created spin art and more.

Family Cruise | Camp Ocean Sharks

{Camp Ocean: Shark room with the magician}

Sharks is for ages 9-11.

Sharks, with parental permission are able to sign themselves in and out of camp. They must be able to sign out for scavenger hunts, which our 9 year old loved doing. Admittedly, we were nervous about allowing her to sign out, but we let her test it out. She also went and grabbed soft serve and signed herself out to get a different dinner than the one offered during camp. In addition to scavenger hunts, our oldest also did paper plane competitions and speed stacking, had special movie nights, played bingo, competed in giant Jenga and more.

Grab a camp schedule on the first day.

The schedule has everything for the entire week for each of the camp ages. I was worried it was going to be just a free-for-all. But it’s very structured with activities lasting 30 minutes to an hour and being scheduled very well to keep them engaged, crafting and having fun.

On excursion days, Camp Ocean has longer hours. In fact, on those days, they will take your children to lunch and/or dinner on the Lido Deck. When your family cruises at sea, the camp is a little more limited and you have to come and get your children from camp for mealtimes, but they can typically go right back.

Everyday, the camp was open until 10pm, but opening times varied by the day’s port times and activities.

Camp Ocean Night Life

{Camp Ocean at night}

From 10:00pm-1:00am, you can take advantage of Night Owls for children ages 0-11 at a rate of $6.75/hour/child plus 15% gratuity per child. We were too tired everyday to take advantage of this, but I noticed at pickup, there were mobile cribs set up and children with pillows and blankets sleeping.

Family Activities

In addition to camps and excursions, there are a lot of family activities included in a family cruise package. We enjoyed activities on the ship including:

Family Cruise Seuss-A-Palooza

{Seuss-A-Palooza Story Time}

  • ping pong
  • miniature golf
  • Seuss-A-Palooza Story Time
  • shuffleboard
  • foosball, cards
  • dancing on the pool deck with a DJ
  • walking around the deck of the boat
  • swimming
  • movie nights on the pool deck
  • trivia
  • bingo
  • playing in the Water Works area
  • and more

Family Cruise | Water Works

{WaterWorks Water Play Area}

With so much to do onboard a cruise ship, you can decide how involved and rigorous your actives are. There are so many simple things that kids love (E still talks about the slides every day and B just talks about walking around on the boat and the elevator). There is definitely something to do at pretty much all times that will make any person happy.

Check out this video recap of all of the fun things we were able to do on one of the best cruises for the family (and this is just when we remembered to stop and take a picture!)

What are your best tips for cruising with kids? Or what other questions do you have?


Similar Posts


  1. Pat Chance says:

    Looks like a lot of fun. The video is great

  2. Red will be totally set come our cruise!! Scarlett will be in two with us – she’ll be 6 months too shy to be in kid’s camp, but I know he will have loads of fun. Maybe I should think on how to cruise with a 2 and under!

  3. Leigh Anne Borders says:

    It looks like you had so much fun! Going on a cruise with my fmaily is on my bucket list.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *