1050 Caribbean Way
Miami, FL 33132
Website: www.royalcaribbean.com

OVERVIEW: Families give Royal Caribbean high marks for its award-winning youth programs, wide variety of itineraries, and shipboard amenities such as teen discos, rock climbing walls, and ice skating rinks on its Voyager-class ships. In particular, Royal Caribbean wins praise from parents for its well designed children's and teen programs as well as its friendly youth staff. While the line is great for kids of all ages, its programs, facilities and amenities for teens make Royal Caribbean an excellent choice for families with kids in this age group. Approximately 300,000 children will travel on Royal Caribbean ships this year, making it likely that your children will have excellent companionship on your next Royal Caribbean family vacation.

DESTINATIONS: Alaska, Bahamas, Bermuda, Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean, Southern Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Pacific Northwest, Panama Canal, Mexico, New England/Canada and Transatlantic.

KIDS/FAMILY PROGRAMS OFFERED: Adventure Ocean youth and teen programs are offered on all Royal Caribbean ships year-round. The Adventure Ocean program divides its cruisers into five age groups: 3 to 5; 6 to 8; 9 to 11; 12 to 14, and 15 to 17. Programs for these five age groups are offered on every sailing, no matter how many children are onboard. All ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet have both dedicated children's rooms and separate teen facilities. The fact that all ships have separate teen facilities makes Royal Caribbean a standout choice for families with teens. Kids can sign themselves out of the Adventure Ocean program at 6 years of age, as long as they have their parents' consent.

SPECIAL PROGRAMS: An exclusive Royal Caribbean program is "Adventure Science," a hands-on science activities program. Royal Caribbean ships also offer "Adventure Art by Crayola," allowing kids to complete arts & crafts projects themed around the destinations and cultures featured in the ship's itinerary. "Sail into Story Time" is a reading program for 6-8 year old cruisers. Some ships also offer "Adventure Family" activities. In addition, Royal Caribbean has launched a new series of programs for children ages 6 months to 3 years designed in conjunction with Fisher-Price. Aqua Babies targets parents with children ages 6-18 months, while Aqua Tots is designed for toddlers ages 18 months to three years. The daily, 45-minute playgroups offer age-appropriate activities that explore children to new experiences and teach parents tools for incorporating skill-building into playtime through storytelling, creative arts, music, and a variety of Fisher-Price learning toys and games.

CHILDREN'S FACILITIES: Royal Caribbean offers dedicated facilities for the Adventure Ocean program on every ship in their fleet. The size of the facilities and onboard amenities, however, do vary by ship. The largest Adventure Ocean centers are found on the Navigator of the Seas and the Mariner of the Seas, which have 22,000 square feet dedicated to kids. Centers include areas for each age group, as well as computer centers, and a video arcade. The Navigator and the Mariner also feature three ultra-hip dedicated teen areas: Fuel Nightclub, The Living Room hangout, and The Back Deck, a teens-only sundeck.

YOUTH COUNSELORS: There are always a minimum of six youth counselors on each cruise ship, and Voyager-class ships always have a minimum of fourteen youth counselors per sailing year-round. All children's activities are supervised by male and female youth staff, professionally certified in education, recreation and/or preschool, or having qualified experience in working with children ages 3-17.

HOURS OF OPERATION: While ships are at sea, the typical Adventure Ocean program hours are: 9 a.m. to noon, 2 to 5 p.m., and 7 to 10 p.m. for children ages 3-11. For the 12-14 set, the Adventure Ocean operates during the same daytime hours, but evening activities start at 9 p.m. and last until 1 a.m. For older teens ages 15-17, Adventure Ocean daytime hours vary considerably based on the activities planned. In the evenings, 15-17 year olds start their Adventure Ocean activities at 10 p.m. and they can easily run until 3 a.m.

When ships are in port, the Adventure Ocean program for 3-11 year olds starts approximately 30 minutes before the first shore excursion departs, and last until 5 p.m. Activities for that age group commence again at 7 p.m. and last until 10 p.m. The same daytime program hours hold for the 12-14 year old age group, and their evening activities last from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. For older teens ages 15-17, Adventure Ocean daytime hours vary considerably based on the activities planned. In the evenings, 15-17 year olds start their Adventure Ocean activities at 10 p.m. and they can easily run until 3 a.m.

TEEN PROGRAMS: Royal Caribbean's Adventure Ocean program is one of the best cruise ship programs for teens. There are two age groups for the teen program: 12 to 14 year-olds and 15 to 17 year-olds. Teen program hours are geared to the teen lifestyle, reflecting the hours teens are likely to be awake and looking for companions. These tend to be noon to 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. on sea days and 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. on port days. Royal Caribbean's Y Spa, a menu of teen spa treatments and services specifically tailored to the cruise line's teen guests, is also a hit with this age group.

DEDICATED TEEN FACILITIES: All Royal Caribbean ships feature dedicated teen facilities. The sizes of the facilities, however, vary by ship. Teens also tend to congregate in the game/video arcades available on the ships. The Navigator of the Seas and the Mariner of the Seas provide 13,767 square feet of space dedicated solely to teens, featuring three ultra-hip dedicated teen areas: Fuel Nightclub, The Living Room hangout, and The Back Deck, a teens-only sundeck. These ships also include a teens-only internet center.

FAMILY PROGRAMS: Some ships also offer "Adventure Family" activities. Adventure Family is a free, onboard program that allows children ages 3 to 11 years of age and their parents to participate in planned activities within a structured environment to spend quality time together. Activities depend on the length of the cruise and can range from shipbuilding regattas to talent shows and scavenger hunts to quiz show games.

BABYSITTING: Royal Caribbean is one of the few cruise lines that offer private babysitting. Private babysitting is available from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., and children must be at least 6 months of age to be eligible for this service. The cost of private babysitting is $8 per hour for up to two children and $10 per hour for no more than three children. At least 24-hours notice is required, and a two-hour minimum is required for private babysitting. Requests can be made through Guest Services. Group babysitting is available for children ages 3-12 from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily at a cost of $5 an hour per child.

KIDS/TEENS SHORE EXCURSIONS: Supervised activities available in Labadee and CocoCay, Royal Caribbean's private island.

TEEN SPA SERVICES: Cruising teens will appreciate Royal Caribbean's Y spa, a menu of teen spa treatments and services specifically tailored to the cruise line's teen guests. Offered fleetwide to male and female guests ages 13 to 17, Y Spa features treatments including massages, facials, hair and nail treatments, and fitness classes. Teen guests must receive parental consent to receive treatment from the Y Spa menu.

To melt away muscle tension, teens can choose between a 25-minute aromatherapy massage or a Surfers Scrub. The Scrub, an invigorating sea salt scrub with seaweed, is perfect for tired muscles after a day of rock climbing onboard or exploring ashore. Moms and Dads can get in on the special treats and spend time with their teens with a 25-minute Mother and Daughter Paradise Massage or a Father and Son Chill Out Massage. Teens can also tackle skin problems with a 50-minute Acne Attack facial, featuring an advanced oxygen treatment, or enjoy the sweet scents of a Fabulous Fruity facial that deep cleans skin with a mixture of organic, fresh fruits.

For teens, it's always important to return from a cruise with that all-important tan. Teens looking for a safe tanning alternative can take advantage of the Fake Bake--an invigorating body scrub followed by an application of self-tanning cream to the face and body. For special evenings out at the teen disco, Royal Caribbean's salons offer styling sessions with a personalized consultation followed by color and a cut, as well as 25-minute manicures or 45-minute pedicures. At the gym, fitness buffs wanting to stay in shape on vacation can sign up for the Fitness Frenzy package. Participants sweat it out in three specialized boot-camp style classes run by the ships' fitness staff and also receive a personalized metabolism test. Only teens 16 years of age and older can participate in the Fitness Frenzy classes.

SPECIAL KIDS RATES: Except during promotions, children pay the third/fourth person rate. Special children's shore excursion rates are offered in Mexico's Baja Peninsula, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Alaska, and the Mexican Riviera.



CRIBS AVAILABLE: Limited, make sure to request at time of booking. Bed railings are not available.

STROLLERS AVAILABLE ONBOARD: No. Baby foods, diapers and formulas are also not available onboard Royal Caribbean ships, so make sure to plan accordingly.

SPECIAL FAMILY FEATURES ONBOARD: Royal Caribbean offers a wide variety of onboard amenities that will appeal to families. These include children's splash pools and water slides, rock climbing walls, ice skating rinks, video arcades, miniature golf, in-line skating tracks, and computer games. Not all of these are offered throughout the fleet, however. Most staterooms designed for families on Royal Caribbean ships consist of twin beds that convert to a king-size, plus one or two upper berths. A limited number of connecting cabins are available. Cabins on many of the older Royal Caribbean ships tend to be smaller than average, so make sure to investigate cabin sizes. Royal Caribbean's Voyager-class ships have the largest cabins, family state rooms and suites. These include the Adventure, Explorer, Navigator, Mariner and Voyager of the Seas.

DINING OPTIONS: Royal Caribbean offers an extensive children's menu, including such favorites as hamburgers, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, grilled cheese, hot dogs, personal pan pizzas, macaroni and cheese, and chicken nuggets. High chairs for the dining room should be requested at time of booking. All ships have a Windjammer Café buffet alternative for dinner. On three nights during a seven-day cruise, children can eat with counselors from 6 to 7 p.m. On Voyager-class ships, there is also a kids' evening offered in Johnny Rockets.

MINIMUM AGE TO SAIL: There is no minimum age for children to sail, however, the cruise line recommends that no infants younger than 6 months of age are brought on a cruise.

COMMENTS: Royal Caribbean is an excellent choice for families, particularly those with an active lifestyle. Its wide range of programs and activities satisfies a broad age group.

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