Royal Caribbean’s third Oasis-class ship, Harmony of the Seas, will feature a wide variety of entertainment options when it launches this May. The main theater entertainment will consist of two shows: Grease and Columbus, The Musical! The AquaTheater, which comprises two 10-meter-high diving platforms and a deep hydraulic-floored pool, will feature two shows: The Fine Line and Hideaway Heist. The former is a gravity-defying diving and acrobatic display, while the latter melds a comedic whodunit with high-flying performance tricks set against the background of a 1950s holiday resort. In the ship’s Studio B ice skating rink, your family can take in two multimedia shows on ice. In 1887 a young woman travels through time and space, discovering the wonders of the universe. In the iSkate Showcase, skaters show off their best moves to songs of their choice. In the Escape Room –players must work with others to find clues needed to solve a collection of puzzles that ultimately lead to the way out of the room, in just 60 minutes. Other entertainment will include a Totally Awesome 90s dance party; a high-energy Red Party featuring surprise performances and special effects; the pop-up piano player known as the Stowaway Piano, who shows up on the elevator, by the pool, in the buffet or anywhere else a piano can fit; and the Let’s Celebrate Promenade Parade. Harmony of the Seas launches May 2016 with seven-night Western Mediterranean cruises out of Barcelona through October. The ship will then reposition to Fort Lauderdale where it will operate year-round seven-night Western Caribbean cruises.
Uniworld has added 11 new family-friendly European river cruise departures in 2016 including cruising the Rhine, the Danube, the Seine and Po rivers. On board the cruise ships, your children can try their hand at dessert making with the ship’s pastry chef, take a VIP behind-the-scenes tour with the Captain, taste local soft drinks with the resident Soda Sommelier or take part in craft workshops and fun local language classes. In port, a variety of hands-on activities are included such as glass blowing and mask making, bike rides and culinary treasure hunts. The Young Travellers Lounge onboard is complete with a PlayStation, a great selection of games, movies and jars of sweets. Every family-friendly cruise itinerary also features on board visits from local children or teens who introduce guests to the daily life of their culture. Parents can also treat themselves to a romantic evening onshore leaving children in the hands of two onboard Family Hosts for Junior Cruisers (ages 4-11 years) and Young Cruisers (ages 12-18 years).
For 2016 Southeast Asia river cruise line Pandaw River Expeditions is offering select family sailings including cruises in Myanmar, Halong Bay and the Red River in Vietnam and on the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia. On designated family departures, children under age 4 travel for free if they sleep on a cot in the same cabin as two adults and ages 4 to 18 travel at a 50 percent rate if they share a stateroom with two adults. To accommodate younger passengers on these sailings, Pandaw will feature more kid-friendly cuisine, will have cooking lessons onboard, offer more active excursions, have bike tours at larger port calls and will feature movie nights onboard. The family-friendly departures are July 30 and December 24 on a seven-night Myanmar cruise. Alternatively, there will be a family-friendly August 6 departure of the seven-night Classic Mekong itinerary. Sailings are under $1,600/adult!
Children sail for only $999 for 29 different cruise options in 2016 with Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Choose from departures between March 25 and August 16 to the Caribbean, Europe and Alaska. These are also the sailings where their children’s program for ages 5-17 is offered with a variety of activities. Children just need be the 3rd or 4th passenger in your suite and accompanied by an adult 21 years or older. With Regent, all of your shore excursions (as many as you want!), specialty dining, unlimited beverages including fine wine and premium spirits, open bar and lounges and prepaid tips are included. Some of these sailings are also part of Regent’s Smithsonian Collection by Smithsonian Journeys. This engaging enrichment program is led by a wide range of specialists, from noted art historians to leading authors to former diplomats, who are eager to share their first-hand knowledge and expertise. More than a lecture series, this program is completely interactive, encouraging you and your family to participate in insightful discussions with informative Q & A sessions and exchange ideas on a personal level in a social setting.
This month the Disney Magic will premier Tangled the Musical. The show features the work of a Tony, Grammy and Emmy award-winning creative team, as well as three original songs written by Alan Menken, famed composer of Disney films including The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. With a running time of one hour, the stage production condenses the popular Disney animated movie by about 40 minutes, but doesn’t leave out any of its charm. Outside of the theater, your family will notice little Tangled touches around the ship on the day of the show. The most dramatic change is the transition from O’Gills Pub to the Snuggly Duckling, a tavern full of colorful characters central to the story.
Holland America Line is partnering with BBC Earth that will bring your family closer to the ocean and natural world through groundbreaking concerts, films, shows, children’s activities and theme cruises. This exciting program is set to roll out across the fleet starting in April 2016 and will be on all ships by September 2016. A highlight of the partnership will be a live concert specially adapted for the line based on the Frozen Planet program, which will take you on a journey into the majestic wilderness of the Polar Regions. The production will feature Frozen Planet footage and be accompanied by live musicians, making it a feast for the senses. Your family can also enjoy enriching activities including a game show uncovering the weird, wonderful and obscure in our natural world and BBC Earth theater screenings with special introductions by the film crew behind the programs. Your children can get in on the adventure too with an on-board explorer trail, fun workshops, and BBC Earth animal and dinosaur fact shows. They will even have the opportunity to try their hand at being a journalist. Those who want a deeper BBC Earth experience can join a featured theme cruise that will include access to the creators of your favorite BBC Earth shows who share their behind-the-scenes stories of how the programs are made and conduct master classes in their craft. Younger guests will also have the opportunity to have film workshops with the BBC Earth YouTube team. Featured cruise dates will be announced at a later time.
Disney Cruise Line will be adding a seasonal flair to its ships this winter. Starting in early November, each ship will be transformed into Very Merrytime Cruises, featuring Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s-themed events and celebrations. Some of the events being held onboard the ship include Mickey’s Tree-Lighting Magic, Santa’s Winter Wonderland Ball, the Deck the Deck Holiday Party, holiday story time, caroling and seasonally themed crafts and activities. For Thanksgiving specifically, expect a full feast featuring all of the typical food associated with the holiday. Add in Mickey and Minnie Mouse dressed in traditional Thanksgiving attire for the kids and NFL football on the jumbo LED screens for the adults, and guests will be treated to a unique experience. For the December holidays, Christmas will be celebrated at the atrium lobby tree in the morning, and a traditional dinner will be served in the evening. Christmas services will be held on December 24, with a midnight mass on December 25. Services for Hanukkah will be held each day from December 6-14. To celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, voyages will include a special party featuring live music, sparkling wine in commemorative flutes and a midnight countdown.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises wants your family to cruise Alaska with them next summer by offering a child’s rate of only $999 for sailings in May, June and early July. Regent is a fully inclusive and luxury cruising experience with ALL of your excursions, drinks, tips and internet included. Great restaurants, spa and gym are featured on board. The ship also offers kids and teen clubs for ages 5-17. The Seven Seas Mariner will sail for 7-nights from Vancouver to Seward (near Anchorage) or reverse through the Inside Passage with a variety of ports and a wide array of outdoor and nature adventures. Lectures by Terry Breen, Regent’s resident Alaska expert, will bring each port to life for the entire family.
Harmony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s newest generation ship, debuting May 2016, will span 16 guest decks, carry 5,497 guests at double occupancy, contain 2,747 staterooms, and for the first time in Royal Caribbean’s history, feature Splashaway Bay, an aquatic adventure park for children. The vessel will be the first of its kind in a new line of Oasis class ships, all of which boast seven “neighborhoods”—Central Park, the Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, the Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place, and Youth Zone. At Splashaway Bay, small children and toddlers can splash around with their friends using sea creature water cannons, glide down winding slides, and swing on a multi-platform jungle-gym. Adults and older children can get in on the action by taking a plunge on the 10-story-high Ultimate Abyss, as well as the Cyclone, the Typhoon and the Supercell waterslides. Harmony of the Seas’ inaugural 2016 season includes 7-night Western Mediterranean sailings in the summer and 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings in the fall.
Costa Cruises has developed a program that lets children be Captain for a Day. The program features an exclusive behind-the-scenes look into the role the master fulfills onboard and learn a few tricks of the trade. There are three levels of packages available. At the basic level captain trainees get a uniform to wear for the day, full captain’s training plus dinner at the captain’s table with other participants. Your children will learn about signal flags, nautical weather and how to navigate with their own map and compass. After dinner, the junior captains get a diploma and two 8 x 11 photos. The program will initially be offered on Costa’s Fascinosa and Diadema ships.