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The Ultimate Guide To Cheap Cruises For Families

All aboard for the ultimate cruise guide! Join us as we tell you everything you need to know to plan cheap cruises for families.

Picture this: the sun sparkling on the open sea, laughter echoing from the onboard water park, and your little ones’ eyes widening with wonder at each new port of call.

It’s the dream getaway for any family, but let’s face it – finding cheap cruises for families that keep the kids entertained requires some savvy strategy.

In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to plan cheap cruises for families.

All aboard!

family cruise vacation

Finding the Perfect Cruise Line for Your Family

Cheap cruises for families start with the ideal cruise line that caters to the needs and preferences of every member of your family. Here’s how you can navigate the seas of options to find the perfect fit:

1. Research Family-Friendly Cruise Lines

Start your quest by researching cruise lines renowned for their family-friendly offerings. Look for those that prioritize entertainment and amenities tailored to children of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers.

Places like OTAs, cruise line websites, Cruise.com, and social media offer tons of information about cruises, so be sure to visit them to do your research!

Consider Kids’ Clubs

Check if the cruise line offers supervised kids’ clubs and youth programs, providing parents with some well-deserved relaxation time while ensuring the little ones are entertained and engaged.

These clubs often organize age-appropriate activities, games, crafts, and themed parties, catering to various age groups and interests.

Assess Amenities

Assess the onboard amenities and entertainment options available for families, focusing on features that will appeal to both kids and adults.

Water parks, swimming pools, miniature golf courses, and sports courts offer endless opportunities for family fun and bonding.

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2. Make A Budget-Friendly Itinerary

Here’s how you can plan an itinerary that fits your budget while maximizing fun and adventure:

Decide On Cruise Length

Begin by selecting a cruise length that aligns with your budget and preferences.

Shorter cruises typically cost less than longer ones, making them a budget-friendly option for families looking to save money.

Consider opting for a 3-5 day cruise rather than a week-long voyage, especially if it’s your first time cruising or if you’re on a tight budget.

Select The Right Cruise Destinations

When choosing a destination, look for ports of call that offer a variety of affordable and family-friendly activities and attractions.

Consider destinations known for their natural beauty, cultural experiences, and outdoor adventures, such as the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico, or Alaska.

Keep in mind that certain destinations may be more expensive than others, so be sure to factor in those additional costs.

Pick Shore Excursion Options

Researching shore excursion options at each port of call is key to crafting a budget-friendly itinerary.

Look for affordable activities and attractions that appeal to the interests of your little ones like beach days, nature hikes, or exploring local markets and landmarks on your own.

Keep an eye out for discounts, promotions, and group rates, and be sure to read reviews and testimonials to ensure the quality and safety of the excursions you choose.

Set A Spending Allowance

Setting a realistic daily spending allowance is essential for staying within your budget during your cruise vacation.

Take into account all potential expenses, including onboard purchases, gratuities, shore excursions, dining, and souvenirs, and divide your total budget by the number of days of your cruise to determine your daily spending limit.

cheap cruises for families

3. Pack Smart

Packing smartly for cheap family cruises is essential for saving money and avoiding unnecessary hassles along the way. Here are some tips to help you pack efficiently and make the most of your cruise experience:

Make A List Of Essentials

Packing the essentials can contribute to a stress-free and enjoyable family cruise vacation. Here’s a checklist of essential items to ensure you have everything you need:

Travel Documents

  • Passports & Visas
  • Cruise Ticks & Boarding Passes
  • Identification
  • Travel Insurance
  • Health & Vaccination Records


  • Versatile clothing
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Jackets & Hoodies
  • Sunglasses
  • Hats

Personal Care

  • Toiletries
  • Medication
  • Deodorant
  • Brushes
  • Combs


  • Phones
  • Cameras
  • Chargers
  • Travel Adapters

plan a family cruise vacation

4. Keeping The Little Ones Entertained

Cheap family cruises will definitely have some activities to keep the little ones entertained during the day. But if you’ve got some downtime, here are some things you could do as a family.

  • Pool Time: Many cruise ships feature kid-friendly pools with water slides, fountains, and shallow areas for younger children to safely enjoy.
  • Family Shows: Attend family-friendly shows and performances onboard, such as Broadway-style musicals, magic shows, comedians, or acrobatic performances.
  • Sports Games: From basketball and mini-golf to ping pong and shuffleboard, there are plenty of opportunities for friendly competition and active play.
  • Game Shows: Put your family’s knowledge to the test and compete against other families for fun prizes and bragging rights.

3 Cheapest Cruises For Families

With everything we’ve told you above, you should be able to find cheap family cruises without a problem.

But, if you prefer to skip straight to booking, here are 3 of the best cheap family cruises.

1. Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line offers “Freestyle Cruising,” allowing guests to enjoy flexibility and freedom in their vacation experience.

They also frequently have promotions and special offers, including reduced fares for kids.

2. MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises offers Mediterranean-style cruising with an emphasis on family-friendly activities and entertainment.

They have competitive pricing and promotions, especially for families traveling with children.

3. Cheap Cruises

Cheap Cruises offers… you guessed it! Cheap cruises.

They’ve got competitive pricing, and over 5450 cruise options to choose from, making them competitive, and great for families with kids.

cheap family friendly cruises

How Air Doctor Can Help

Did you know if you need to find a doctor abroad you can use the Air Doctor app to find one – anywhere, anytime.

Air Doctor gives you:

  • Access to over 20,000 multi-lingual doctors worldwide
  • Choice of clinic, at-home (hotel), and video visits
  • Local, valid prescriptions through our cross-border services
  • Quality medical care, including urgent visits
  • 24/7 multi-lingual customer support
  • Video consultation services in up to 21 languages
  • Partnered with leading insurance providers

Download the app, just in case.

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Jenny Cohen Drefler

Jenny Cohen Derfler

Air Dr CEO & Co-Founder

Jenny is the CEO and one of the Co-Founders at Air Doctor. She spent more than 20 years at Intel, most recently as general manager of its manufacturing facility in Israel and before that in various engineering and manufacturing roles in Silicon Valley. Air Doctor is her second startup having previously founded electric vehicle company ElectRoad.