Family vacation. Those words might cause you to shudder. After all, many of us have memories of being crammed into the back seat of the family car, wedged between siblings on the way to destinations that took forever to get to.

Fortunately, you don’t have to relive those horror stories with your own kids. Instead, you can take your whole family on a cruise. If you know the right one to pick, a cruise with the family can be the relaxing and fun time you were hoping for. Read on for some of the best cruises to take with the whole family.

The Magical World of Disney

Imagine sailing away as Disney princesses sing songs and other costumed characters dance and mime for the camera. Take a Disney cruise and your childhood fantasies come to life as you glide across the ocean in a massive ship.

All Disney cruises are amazing, but a great one for the kids is the Disney Wonder. Decked out in red, black and yellow, the ship is playground for the whole family. The horn plays the familiar first notes of the Disney classic “When You Wish Upon a Star.” Kids can mingle with their favorite Disney characters, dine off Mickey Mouse plates and receive a Disney princess makeover at a special salon. While the kids are having fun, the adults can chill out at the adults-only Vista Spa or Quiet Cove Pool.

The Royal Treatment

When you’re looking for a family-friendly cruise line, you can’t go wrong with Royal Caribbean International. Perfect for active families, this cruise line boasts a dizzying list of amenities. Cool off on a waterslide. Strap on some skates and perfect your Olympic moves at the ice rink. Fly through the air on a zip line or go rock climbing. Get your carnival ride fix by hopping in a bumper car. Enjoy some evening entertainment by watching different kinds of shows. There’s just about something for everyone, and it’s all in one spot.

Sail the Seas the Norwegian Way

Norwegian Cruise Line checks a lot of boxes for family cruises. It has something for all ages. Teens have their own nightclub and kids can attend circus school and learn to juggle. Everyone can participate in a scavenger hunt or even go bowling. If none of this interests your offspring, they can play video games at the arcade,  enjoy mini-golf or splash around on water slides. One of its ships, the Norwegian Escape, features one of the largest water parks to ever sailed the Seven Seas.

Enjoy a Carnival on a Tight Budget

According to, a Carnival cruise costs you about half as much as a Disney cruise. Carnival also provides plenty of U.S. departure ports, so you don’t always have to worry about airfare to get to the cruise ship. But just because it’s budget-friendly doesn’t mean it’s a blah experience. Check out the “Seuss at Sea” program where kids can soak up everything related to Dr. Seuss. The Carnival Horizon even offers a Seuss-themed water park. All Carnival cruises feature movies by the pool, family-friendly comedy shows and camps for the kids. And this is just the beginning. There are plenty of other attractions to keep passengers of all ages happy and busy.