Sunday,  December 15, 2019  5:17 am

Cruising together: Caribbean cruises for families


Cruising together: Caribbean cruises for families
Blake Wolfe

Blake Wolfe is an award-winning journalist and editor, who joined PAX after nearly 10 years in Canada’s newspaper industry. In addition to PAX, his work has been featured in publications such as the Metroland Media group of newspapers and the Toronto Sun.

For families looking to see multiple Caribbean destinations in a single trip, there’s arguably no better way than taking a cruise vacation.

READ MORE: ACV unveils first phase of new cruise booking platform

Calling in multiple ports, a cruise allows families to maximize their vacation time beyond the beach at just one resort. In addition, many cruise lines offer plenty of family fun on board, ensuring that kids of all ages won’t get bored on days at sea.

Here’s a look at four cruise lines sailing the Caribbean this winter, with something for every member of the family.

Disney Cruise Line’s Marvel and Star Wars Days at Sea

While Disney Cruise Line’s ships are frequented by the company’s cast of popular characters, there’s a few days each year devoted to two of the studio’s most renowned franchises.

This cruise season, the characters of the Marvel Comics Universe spring to life on the deck of the Disney Magic during its Marvel Days at Sea, where travellers can interact with superheroes such as Spiderman and Black Panther on two Western Caribbean itineraries.

Meanwhile, The Force is strong with Disney Fantasy, which hosts Star Wars Days at Sea on two Eastern Caribbean routes, where fans of all ages can sail to a galaxy far, far away with the heroes and villains of the iconic film series.

Both ships also feature itineraries that call at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas.

About the ships

Disney Fantasy

  • Year of construction: 2012
  • Passengers: 4,000
  • Crew: 1,458
  • Tonnage: 128,000

Disney Magic

  • Year of construction: 1998
  • Passengers: 2,600
  • Crew: 950
  • Tonnage: 84,000

 Next sailings:

Disney Fantasy

Sailing from Port Canaveral and calling in Tortola, BVI; St. Thomas, USVI; Disney Castaway Cay, Bahamas:

  • Jan. 11 – 18, 2020
  • Jan. 25 – Feb. 1, 2020
  • Feb. 22 – 29, 2020

Sailing from Port Canaveral and calling in Tortola, BVI; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Disney Castaway Cay, Bahamas:

  • Feb. 8 – 15, 2020

Disney Magic

From Miami to Disney Castaway Cay, Bahamas and Cozumel, Mexico:

  • Jan. 18 – 23, 2020

From Miami to George Town, Grand Cayman and Disney Castaway Cay, Bahamas:

  • Feb. 1 – 6, 2020
  • Feb. 15 – 20, 2020
  • Feb. 29 – March 5, 2020

MSC Cruises’ Caribbean itineraries

MSC Cruises will become the latest cruise line to welcome families to a private Bahamian island with the opening of Ocean Cay Marine Reserve.

Located in the Bimini island chain of the western Bahamas, once open, Ocean Cay will feature 40 acres of beaches spanning six distinct areas, with various restaurants and entertainment venues spread throughout.

Four MSC ships will call at Ocean Cay in its inaugural season, including MSC Seaside, MSC Meraviglia, MSC Divina and MSC Armonia. With MSC known for its family-friendly atmosphere, each of these ships feature amenities such as clubs for toddlers, kids and teens and dedicated kids’ menus in all restaurants, along with waterparks aboard MSC Seaside, MSC Meraviglia, and MSC Armonia.

Partnerships with LEGO and Chicco have brought the popular toy brands on board MSC’s vessels and on select Caribbean itineraries, kids two and under sail for free.

About the ships

MSC Armonia

  • Year of construction: 2004
  • Passengers: 2,679
  • Crew: 721
  • Tonnage: 65,542

MSC Divina

  • Year of construction: 2012
  • Passengers: 4,345
  • Crew: 1,388
  • Tonnage: 139,072

MSC Meraviglia

  • Year of construction: 2017
  • Passengers: 4,488
  • Crew: 1,540
  • Tonnage: 171,598

MSC Seaside

  • Year of construction: 2017
  • Passengers: 5,331
  • Crew: 1,413
  • Tonnage: 153,516


Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day at Coco Cay 

Designed with every member of the family in mind, Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day at Coco Cay welcomed its first cruisers this past May – setting the stage for the revamped private island’s first Caribbean cruise season this winter!

Following a major renovation over the last year, Perfect Day at Coco Cay offers cruising families plenty to do, including a waterpark featuring Daredevil’s Peak, the highest waterslide in North America measuring at 135 feet.

The improvements will also allow RCI’s four new Oasis class ships – Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas – to call at Coco Cay this season. The newest class of ship for RCI, the Oasis vessels themselves feature plenty of family fun, such as Symphony’s Ultimate Abyss slide, Splashaway Bay and the Ultimate Family Suite.

And perhaps the ultimate perk for families, kids sail free on select RCI itineraries announced throughout the year on the company’s social media channels. (Conditions apply).

About the ships

Allure of the Seas

  • Year of construction: 2010
  • Passengers: 5,400
  • Crew: 2,100
  • Tonnage: 225,282

Harmony of the Seas

  • Year of construction: 2016
  • Passengers: 5,400
  • Crew: 2,193
  • Tonnage: 226,963

Oasis of the Seas

  • Year of construction: 2009
  • Passengers: 5,400
  • Crew: 2,100
  • Tonnage: 225,282

Symphony of the Seas

  • Year of construction: 2018
  • Passengers: 5,518
  • Crew: 2,200
  • Tonnage: 228,081

NCL’s Norwegian Getaway & Norwegian Breakaway

Two of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway class vessels, sister ships Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Breakaway were constructed a year apart – and these near-identical twins have plenty to offer families!

Kids won’t get bored on either ship, with each offering two waterparks – one for everyone and another just for kids – kids’ and teens’ clubs, plus a sports complex featuring ziplining, ropes courses and The Plank, which allows thrill-seeking guests to walk out eight feet over the ship’s edge!

Both ships sail a variety of Caribbean itineraries, including cruises with stops at NCL’s private islands Harvest Caye in Belize and Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas.

About the ships

Norwegian Breakaway

  • Year of construction: 2013
  • Passengers: 3,963
  • Crew: 1,657
  • Tonnage: 145,655

Norwegian Getaway

  • Year of construction: 2014
  • Passengers: 3,963
  • Crew: 1,646
  • Tonnage: 145,655

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