After browsing the offerings of Splash Academy and Entourage, Norwegian Cruise Line's onboard program for kids and teens, you may scratch your head and wonder how your kids will find the time to take part in all the cool activities and visit each port of call. In fact, many children are slightly disappointed when it's time to go ashore because they'd rather enjoy the shipboard activities.
Norwegian just introduced a new dimension to its Splash Academy offerings: the interactive "Guppies" program that's exclusively for children ages six months to three years old. Think of it as mommy-and-daddy-and-me time. A series of sensory-based programs are offered, including baby art, featuring vegetable-based Wee Can Too art products; a storytelling session called "Rhyme Time," which centers around traditional nursery rhymes told by puppets; and a parent-child mini-workout called "Motion in the Ocean." These fee-free activities allow families to bond with their babies during onboard playtime.
The cruise line also rolled out updated programs for other age groups as well. Splash Academy refers to the "youth" programs for ages 3–5, 6–9, and 10–12 and Entourage options are for the teen crowd (ages 13–17). Regardless of the age group, NCL youth counselors change up the theme each day so children want to return and experience something new every day.
Sports activities like soccer skills, physical challengers, bowling tournaments, and "dodge ball under the stars," are popular with the teen crowd. The entire family can also take part in group sports like dodge ball and tug-of-war challenges.
If you know any kids who've sailed with Norwegian Cruise Line recently, they no doubt told you all about the new Cirque du Jour circus workshop where the whole family can learn how to juggle, spin plates, and walk on stilts.
If the circus isn't your thing, families can participate in other group activities like cupcake decorating, pizza making, charades, and a fun interactive game show.
Complimentary kids club activities are available on all 11 of Norwegian Cruise Line's vessels, including the forthcoming megaships Norwegian Breakaway, home porting out of New York City, and Norwegian Getaway, which will home port out of Miami.
Four NCL ships—Gem, Jewel, Epic, and Breakaway—offer another family-friendly program that was developed with Nickelodeon. Kids can hang out and have breakfast with characters like SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer (for a small fee), attend Dora's Music Party, and even "get slimed" during games with Team Nick.
No matter the age of your kids, Norwegian can help keep them happy.
Andrea M. Rotondo is a freelance writer based in New York City. She covers cruise news and luxury travel trends for Fodors.com and writes for a variety of outlets, including her website Luxury Travel Mavens. Follow her on Twitter: @luxtravelmavens.
Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line