The secret’s out that value-packed cruises make for great family getaways, what with fun-for-everyone, multigenerational appeal at every port, and via the plentiful activities, entertainment, and dining options on board. Now, cruise lines are upping the ante on their accommodations, too, in response to the ever-rising demand of multigenerational family travelers. These days, you can choose from a wide selection of suites and connecting staterooms that are specifically designed to keep the whole clan connected at sea. Touting plenty of space for you to spread out in comfortable digs (with must-have features like multiple bathrooms), these 4 leading cruise lines are your best bets for finding the perfect suite for your family.
Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean ranks tops for multigenerational appeal with its lively ships that brim with diverse shows, sports, games, kids’ clubs, and more; happily, its stateroom options are no exception. The line has numerous family-friendly accommodation options across its fleet, but you’ll find some newer additions that really stand out on its Quantum Class ships (which include the 4,180-passenger Anthem of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, and coming this spring, the Ovation of the Seas). We especially like the 16 spacious 575-square-foot Family Connected Junior Suites, combining three bedrooms (two of which feature sitting areas), three bathrooms (one with a tub), and a balcony (providing an additional 216 square feet of space) that can accommodate eight to 10 guests.
Alternatively, try an upscale two-bedroom, two-bathroom Royal Family Suite (the number of units vary on the 21 ships where they’re featured, but include four units apiece on each Quantum Class ship), measuring 543 square feet and trimmed by a spacious wraparound balcony (that adds an additional 166 to 263 square feet)—they sleep up to eight (with a master bedroom with a king-size bed that can break down to two twins, a second bedroom with two twin beds and two Pullman beds, and a living area with a sofa bed for two). Debuting in May 2016, the Royal Suite Class will additionally offer guests staying in any suite on Quantum and Oasis Class ships a series of new perks, like free access to the Spa Thermal Room, priority boarding, complimentary Internet, and more.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian caters to families with a slate of family-friendly suites sprinkled across its fleet, but for the newest and most noteworthy of the bunch, look to The Haven, an upscale ship-within-a-ship concept that’s found aboard the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, and 4,200-passenger Norwegian Escape. It’s here that you’ll find a tempting selection of roomy two- and three-bedroom suites, like one of 20 Two-Bedroom Family Villas with Balcony (measuring 543 square feet) aboard the Breakaway or Getaway, where up to six guests can bunk down in a master bedroom (with a king-size bed, and bathroom with both a tub and separate shower) and second bedroom with a double sofa bed, pull-down bed, and extra bathroom; there’s also a living room and dining area with an additional sofa bed for one. Alternatively, try the Escape, which offers 25 slightly smaller versions of the Two-Bedroom Family Villas (measuring in at 540 square feet).
Or, for the ultimate in space (and splurge!), sign up for one of two Three-Bedroom Garden Villas that are exclusively available on the 2,340-passenger Norwegian Dawn—at a whopping 6,694 square feet (no, that’s not a typo), up to seven guests can sprawl out in three rooms, each with their own king- or queen-size bed and private bathroom with bath and shower. And don’t forget about the living room, dining room, terrace with dining table, and, oh yeah: a private garden with hot tub. Twenty-four hour butler service will help ensure you make the most of it all.
Holland America Line
Launched in April 2016, Holland America’s new 2,650-passenger ms Koningsdam will feature several firsts for the line, including its notable 32 Family Ocean-View Staterooms. Accommodating up to five guests, the family-friendly staterooms tout two separate bathrooms (one with a shower, one with a shower/bath) and extra closet space. While measuring in at a fairly snug 222 to 231 square feet, sleeping for five is made possible via a queen bed (that can be converted into two singles), a pullout sofa for two, and an upper Pullman bunkbed.
Disney Cruise Line
Unsurprisingly, the Disney brand is built upon catering to family groups, and their staterooms clearly reflect that, with plenty of family-friendly connecting staterooms and balconies to go around. But some of their staterooms step things up a notch: For instance, try their 240- to 300-square-foot Deluxe Family Ocean Staterooms (some with a veranda) that are available fleet-wide (with as many as 1,100 units per ship). They sleep up to five with a queen bed, pullout couch for one or two, and one or two pull-down bunks (a curtain helps create a sense of privacy), plus, two bathrooms in each unit (one with a bathtub).
Or, upgrade to the luxe Concierge Suites and Staterooms (with more than 20 units on each of Disney’s four 2,713- to 4,000-passenger ships), with a similar configuration for five (or seven) guests, with one- or two-bedroom suites, but with extra perks like 24-hour concierge, access to a private lounge and sundeck, and more. Plus, they’re much roomier at 524 to 898 square feet, and all have balconies with whirlpool tubs, a living room and dining salon, and some even connect to adjoining staterooms for very large/extended families.
Finally, consider splurging on one of the ultimate in upscale Disney suites: A duo of 845- to 898-square-foot Concierge Royal Suites make a haute home base for five to seven guests (depending on the ship). They come with two bathrooms (one with a whirlpool tub), walk-in closets, a living/dining room, veranda, and separate master bedroom, along with the option to connect to another stateroom for even more space.
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