The www.CRUISE.co.uk Cruise Community Awards threw up some surprising results this year – especially when Disney were beaten as best cruise lines for kids… with that crown going to Royal Caribbean instead!
So what caused Disney to be knocked from the top spot for families?
We decided to investigate exactly what influenced your decision in deciding Royal Caribbean deserved the award – Best For Kids!
Waterparks and Slides
With all the excitement surrounding the release of Harmony of the Seas we can easily understand how Royal Caribbean won when you consider the waterparks and slides that will be available on-board!
Disney does offer a couple of water slides on board, including the Aqua Duck and the Aqua Dunk where you can either freefall or slide down in a rubber ring into a splash pool. They also have AquaLab waterpark and Nemo’s Reef water play park for younger children (below the age of 8).
However Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas will feature the largest slide at sea which will be ten storeys high (which you can read more about here!). That’s as well as two waterslides and the H20 Zone waterpark for children to enjoy and a variety of pools and hot tubs for adults.
Child Friendly Dining Options
We’ve all been there, sat in a restaurant when your child’s food arrives and they take one look and refuse to eat it… (if you have kids that is!) It’s something every parent fears – will their choice of cruise line provide food their child will like that will include more than burger’s and chips?
In their defence Disney does have options that kids will love, with restaurants such as Pluto’s Dog House, Pinocchio’s Pizzeria and Pete’s Boiler Bites serves American burgers, tacos and other tasty treats. The menus on-board are designed with children in mind with the restaurants orientated around that theme. For example, expect to find bread baskets shaped like Cinderella’s carriage and chandeliers made from glass slippers.
However Royal Caribbean’s Dynamic Dining means that you’ll never be short of a variety of restaurants for even the fussiest of eaters. Sorrento’s Pizza offers tasty slices for a snack and the Dog House, Seafood Shack and Johnny Rockets all provide tasty treats. Johnny Rockets is a particular kids’ favourite because of their strawberry milkshakes but there’s also plenty of healthy choices like the food served at Jamie’s Italian. Other child friendly food spots include the Cupcake Cupboard and a stop at Ben & Jerry’s! No matter how fussy your child is, there is certainly something they’ll eat on-board Royal Caribbean.
And if the worst comes to the worst Royal Caribbean has the Wind Jammer buffet, where kids can choose exactly what they like – a great choice for fussy eaters!
This is where we think the battle was won for Royal Caribbean! No other cruise line offers the North Star (a pod capsule which takes you 300 feet above water), FlowRiders (where you can learn to surf) or the Ripcord iFly (where you can learn to skydive in a skydive simulator).
The Royal Caribbean favourite of Rock Climbing is also a great way for kids to stretch their legs. And if you’re worried these activities are more suited to teens, don’t worry!
Younger kids can enjoy bumper cars, trapeze lessons, a roller disco or games in the arcade in the SeaPlex.
Arguably, both lines offer a great range of children’s clubs and activities. Whether you need to send your toddler to “It’s a Small World Nursery” on Disney or send your teenagers off to “Adventure Ocean” on Royal Caribbean you can rest assured that they are in safe hands.
We wonder if Royal Caribbean won the award because they offer added extras such as the “Babies to Go” service where you can order baby food, formula or nappies on-board and their Royal Tots and Royal Baby schemes which take care of the youngest passengers.
Both lines boast private islands, secluded tropical heavens where kids can play and parents can relax. But which line has the best private island?
Royal Caribbean own the island of CocoCay and Labadee. On CocoCay there’s a pirate ship for kids to play in and the world’s largest inflatable waterslide – reaching 40ft high! Even more impressively, Labadee has a 2,600ft zip line and a mini roller coaster.
Disney’s private island is called Castaway Cay and is a 1,000 acre island with water fountains, pelican plunge water park, a stingray adventure and a dedicated teen beach.
Two private islands instead of one? To us it’s clear why Royal Caribbean won!
If you’re interested you can read more about cruise line’s private islands here!
There’s a big difference between cruising as a couple and sharing a cabin and cruising with two kids or even more, as your cabin can get a bit cramped! So how have the two cruise lines dealt with the needs families have of cabins?
Disney uniquely offer two bathrooms in family staterooms. There’s one room with a shower and sink and another with a toilet and sink, meaning that you can get your family ready in the morning much more quickly. There is also a curtain to divide the kids section from your bed, so that your children can go to sleep earlier than you if necessary.
Royal Caribbean on the other hand offer both four berth and interconnecting cabins on their ships as well as family suites with plenty of extra room for all. Pullman beds, sofa beds and bunk beds are all available so that you can accommodate up to six guests in each room. If you fancy treating yourself the spacious loft suites even stretches out over two storeys!
Finally, which line just has that “magic” for kids on-board?
Disney have always been loved by kids for their full productions of Disney favourites at sea such as Cinderella and Aladdin whilst Royal Caribbean have teamed up with DreamWorks to bring Madagascar to their Aqua Theatres and How to Train Your Dragon to their ice skating shows.
Other things to wow children are the personalised horns on Disney ships which play theme tunes such as “when you wish upon a star” and the fairground rides available for children to ride on Oasis Class Royal Caribbean ships.
Perhaps what finally swung it for Royal Caribbean however was the sheer size of their ships! Weighing in at 225,282 gross tons, Allure of the Seas may well be one of the biggest things your child has ever seen! Whilst the Disney ships are impressive, they weigh in at around 129,000 tons, they won’t have quite the same wow factor.
Which cruise line do you think deserved the award for “Best For Kids?”
Do you agree with our Cruise Communities’ decision to give Royal Caribbean the crown?
Let us know in the comments below!