Kid-Friendly Cruises

Sample European Style

Norwegian Epic?s tube slide

Courtesy of Norwegian Epic

Norwegian Epic's 7-day Eastern Caribbean Cruise

Families love the flexibility of the Epic's "Freestyle Cruising" philosophy: no preset dinnertimes or dress codes and plenty of entertainment choices. The "Freestyle Free Play" program lets kids of all ages socialize and have fun together for designated time slots throughout the day (at other times, kids are assigned to groups based on age).

Fun for First Mates: The Epic Plunge tube slide -- it does a major drop into a splash pool -- is a thrill, though there are two milder ones in the Aqua Park, which also has a children's Splash and Play Zone with pools, sprayers, water sculptures, and a kiddie slide. Kids can try out the bungee trampoline or bowling lanes and play Wii on a jaw-dropping two-story screen. At Kid's Crew, a supervised program, children as young as 2 can run around in an outer space -- themed play area, dance on a light-up floor, or watch a movie in the cinema.

Cruise Care: There isn't a traditional nursery or private babysitting on board. But the ship offers two group-care services for 2- to 12-year-olds: "Late Night Fun Zone" (nightly from 10:30 P.M. to 1:30 A.M.; $6 per hour) and "Port Play" (when the ship is in port, from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.; $6 per hour).

Ocean Eats: The ship has two main restaurants, but you can choose to dine at 18 others as well, including a family-style Italian place and a neighborhood grill open 24/7. There's also 24-hour room service.

Port Report: Introduce your kid to European style at the Dutch- and French-influenced island of St. Maarten. In St. Thomas, explore the ocean at Coral World's underwater observation tower. Take a day trip to Atlantis Resort's awesome Aquaventure water park in Nassau.

Rates: Start at $879 per person for 7 days in an inside room.

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