If pictures of unbelievably fun playrooms are what drew you to your cruise line, make sure you've done your research about who can play in them. Each cruise line has its own rules, and you don't want your lil one to be disappointed about where he can play on his vacation (or Mom either!). Here's what I've found based on my research:
- Celebrity Cruises: The cruise line's Toddler Time program caters to kids under the age of 3 with age-appropriate toys and activities. If children aren't potty trained, they must be accompanied by an adult. The Celebrity X-Club Youth Program provides activities for children and teens 3 to 17, with kids divided up into smaller age-specific groups — Ship Mates (ages 3-5), Celebrity Cadets (ages 6-8), and Ensigns (ages 9-11).
- Cunard: On the Queen Mary 2, The Play Zone offers supervised play (art, crafts, books, puzzles, toys) for children 2-7 years old. For older kids, The Zone offers 8- to 12-year-olds game consoles, sports competitions, arts and crafts, and scavenger hunts.
- Disney Cruises: Children under 3 years old can play in Flounder's Nursery, where age-appropriate toys and movies are available. For older kids (3-12), the Oceaneers Lab and the Oceaneers Club are packed with games, science experiments, dance parties (with the characters), arts and crafts, cooking classes, movies, and more.
- Holland America: The kids clubs start at 3 years old. Club HAL, for children ages 3-7, offers pirate treasure hunts, hands-on pizza making, storytelling, crafts, ice cream sundae parties, and a farewell pajama party.
- Norwegian Cruise Line: The minimum age to join in the drop-off kids programming is 2 years old (parents are paged to change their children's diapers if necessary). Kids in the new Splash Academy are divided up by age and can participate in everything from circus school with Cirque du Jour and arts and crafts projects to Wii competitions.
- Princess Cruises: The Kid's Crew Juniors program is open to tots ages 2 to 5 and includes games, Kindermusik, ice cream parties, activities, and arts and crafts.
- Royal Caribbean: Royal Babies is a 45-minute play session (for 6- to 18-month-olds) where tots and their caregivers enjoy Crayola workshops and Fisher Price toys in addition to gymnastics and discovery play sessions. For slightly older tots, Royal Tots offers 18- to 36-month-olds chaperoned play time and story time with their parents. Aquanauts for ages 3-5 and Explorers for ages 6-8 offer more traditional play room activities.
Source: Holland America