FOURTH IN A SERIES
Every year more families sail with their children and major cruise lines are offering more onboard options than ever before. A decade ago it was a matter of being able to keep kids busy and safe. Now, cruise lines find themselves in a race to attract families and go beyond warehousing children while parents have a good time. Now, cruise lines are being called on to engage children and provide a unique sailing experience for them too. From live-action cartoon characters to onboard events and activities, families are being considered seriously with several lines adding family-specific programming.
Royal Caribbean International has entered an alliance with Dreamworks that will bring their own set of characters, Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and more on some of their ships.
“Royal Caribbean and DreamWorks Animation share many of the same philosophies when it comes to high-quality family entertainment, so there is quite a lot of synergy going into this strategic alliance,” said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “We are constantly striving to offer dynamic and engaging programming onboard our ships and couldn’t think of a better brand than DreamWorks Animation to help take it to the next level.”
Norwegian Cruise Lines has a similar relationship with the family-friendly Nickelodeon brand that continues with onboard programming including:
- Ultimate “sliming experience” offers a chance for the whole family to get “slimed” together.
- Meet & greets with the stars of Nickelodeon’s hottest live-action shows. Special cruise guests have included stars from iCarly, True Jackson VP, and the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants
- Special viewings and premieres of never-before-seen episodes of Nickelodeon’s hit TV shows like iCarly, Victorious and SpongeBob SquarePants.
- Meet & greets with some of your favorite Nickelodeon characters including SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Aang the Last Airbender and others.
- Nickelodeon’s signature messy game shows like Slime Time LIVE! and poolside events.
- Breakfast with Nickelodeon characters every day of the cruise.
Disney Cruise Lines, soon to be doubling the size of their fleet, continue to nail the family market with the most innovative programming for kids of all ages
• The new Disney Dream will feature a first-of-its-kind water coaster, called the “Aqua-Duck” that will send guests racing above and around the upper decks of the ship.
• Animator’s Palate restaurant will magically transform into an undersea wonderland with live, impromptu interactions with Crush, the animated sea turtle from Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Nemo.”
• Themed children’s spaces will immerse children in their favorite Disney stories and feature some of today’s most innovative technology.
• Inside staterooms will have a “special” view thanks to a cruise industry first virtual porthole concept.
Carnival Cruise Lines hosts more kids every year than any other cruise line in their ever-evolving branded and engaging youth programs.
- Camp Carnival is for children ages 2 through 11- toddlers, Juniors and Intermediate aged kids
- Circle “C” for ages 12-14 features video games, talent shows, parties, outdoor movies and more
- Club O2 ages 15-17 includes activities and excursions with this age group in mind
As example of how the line goes beyond daycare-like programming, Carnival recently began a fundraising effort on board to raise $3 million for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s fight against pediatric cancer including
- Groove for St. Jude: A $10-a-head dance activity held once each cruise, with the ship’s DJ spinning the tunes. Guests get a Care to Play T-shirt and wristband, and 100% of their donations go directly to St. Jude.
- Teddy Bear Workshop: Children participating in Camp Carnival can create their own St. Jude keepsake bear, dressing it in scrubs, a surgical mask, and a lab coat, just like a St. Jude’s doctor. Profits all go to the hospital.
- The Dream Plucker of Perrysport: Copies of this children’s book, based on stories and illustrations submitted by Camp Carnival participants, will be sold at each ship’s kids’ center for $5.95
On most all cruise lines what was once a sleepy just-enough-to-get-by program for children has come front and center, demanding attention and development. Sailing into the future, look to see more age-specific programming, activities and even entertainment just for kids on most ships.
Stay tuned as we explore these programs and more in-depth in coming posts