Cruising With Kids, Cruise Line Policies for Infants, Toddlers and Teens

For me, the beauty of a cruise is that I can have my cake and eat it too. There’s plenty of opportunity for family togetherness and much-needed time apart as well. If you’ve got little ones, it’s key of course to know the cruise lines’ age policies for kids programming. You don’t want to show up at the gangway only to realize yours are too young for the drop-off playroom (nightmare!). For those of you with older teens, it’s equally as important to know when your young adults can (and can’t) drink and gamble. Read on for the skinny.

Carnival Cruise Lines

  • Minimum age to sail: 6 months on most cruises (12 months on select longer itineraries, such as transatlantic, Hawaii and South America)
  • Minimum age to join drop-off kids programming: 2 years old (Carnival does change diapers)
  • Minimum age for drop-off group babysitting after hours: 6 or 12 months to 8 years old (Carnival does change diapers)
  • Drinking: 21 years old to drink alcohol no matter where the ship is sailing
  • Gambling in casino: 18 to gamble in the casino
  • Occupying own cabin: Those under 21 must share a cabin with a person over 25, unless you’re a married couple with a marriage certificate to prove it.

Celebrity Cruises

  • Minimum age to sail: 6 months on most cruises (12 months on select longer itineraries, such as transatlantic, transpacific and South America)
  • Minimum age to join drop-off kids programming and/or after-hours group babysitting: 3 years old (and completely toilet-trained)
  • Minimum age for private in-cabin babysitting: 12 months old
  • Drinking: 21 years old to drink alcohol (with the exception of Europe, South America and Australia cruises if parents cruising with their children sign a waiver allowing their 18 to 20 year olds consume alcohol)
  • Gambling in casino: 18 to gamble in the casino (and 21 in some Alaska ports)
  • Occupying own cabin: Those under 21 must share a cabin with a person over 21, unless minor children are cruising with their parents or guardians and staying in an adjacent cabin.

Costa Cruises

  • Minimum age to sail: 6 months on most cruises (12 months on select longer itineraries, such as transatlantic, transpacific and world cruises)
  • Minimum age to join drop-off kids programming and/or after-hours group babysitting: 3 years old (and completely toilet-trained)
  • Drinking: 21 years old to drink alcohol on cruises departing from US ports and 18 from non-US ports
  • Gambling in casino: 18 to gamble in the casino
  • Occupying own cabin: Those under 21 must share a cabin with a person over 21 (exceptions include certain times of the year, like Spring Break, when passengers ages 21 to 24 must have one person at least 25 years old in the same cabin).

Crystal Cruises

  • Minimum age to sail: 6 months
  • Minimum age to join drop-off kids programming: 3 years old (and toilet-trained)
  • Minimum age for private in-cabin babysitting: 6 months old
  • Drinking: 18 years old to drink beer and wine, and 21 to drink the hard stuff; however when the ship is docked or anchored in an American port, within the 3-mile limit, the drinking age is 21 for all alcoholic beverages
  • Gambling in casino: 21 to gamble in the casino
  • Occupying own cabin: Those under 18 must share a cabin with a person over 21

Disney Cruise Line

  • Minimum age to sail: 12 weeks
  • Minimum age to join drop-off kids programming: 12 weeks
  • Drinking: 21 years old to drink alcohol no matter where the ship is sailing
  • Gambling in casino: No casinos on Disney ships
  • Occupying own cabin: 18 to occupy a cabin without an adult.

Holland America Line

  • Minimum Aae to sail: 6 months on most cruises (12 months on select longer itineraries)
  • Minimum age to join drop-off kids programming: 3 years old (and toilet-trained)
  • Drinking: 21 years old to drink alcohol no matter where the ship is sailing
  • Gambling in casino: 18 to gamble in the casino
  • Occupying own cabin: Those under 21 must share a cabin with a person 21 and over.

MSC Cruises

  • Minimum age to join drop-off kids programming: 3 years old
  • Drinking: 21 years old to drink alcohol no matter where the ship is sailing
  • Gambling in casino: 21 to gamble in the casino
  • Occupying own cabin: Those under 21 must share a cabin, or be in connecting cabin, with a person 21 and over.

Norwegian Cruise Line

  • Minimum age to sail: 6 months
  • Minimum age to join drop-off kids programming: 2 years old (if a diaper is soiled, parents will be beeped to changed it)
  • Drinking: Passengers ages 18 to 20, with the written consent of their parents or guardian, can purchase beer or wine for themselves only when the ship is sailing in international waters (except in Alaska and Hawai`i, where you must be 21 years of age to consume or purchase alcohol or any kind).
  • Gambling in casino: 18 to gamble in the casino
  • Occupying own cabin: At least one person must be 21 or older in the cabin or a connecting cabin (unless cruising with parents in an adjoining cabin or if you can prove you’re a married couple under age 21).

Princess Cruises

  • Minimum age to sail: 6 months on most cruises (12 months on select longer itineraries)
  • Minimum age to join drop-off kids programming: 3 years old (and toilet-trained)
  • Drinking: 21 years old to drink alcohol no matter where the ship is sailing
  • Gambling in casino: 21 to gamble in the casino
  • Occupying own cabin: Those under 21 must share a cabin with a person over 21

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

  • Minimum age to sail: No official minimum, though for babies under 6 months, parents must sign a waiver
  • Minimum age to join drop-off kids programming: 5 years old (programming offered on select cruises only)
  • Drinking: 21 years old to drink alcohol no matter where the ship is sailing
  • Gambling in casino: 21 to gamble in the casino
  • Occupying own cabin: Those under 21 must share a cabin with a person over 21

Royal Caribbean

  • Minimum age to sail: 6 months on most cruises (12 months on select longer itineraries, such as transatlantic, Hawaii and South America)
  • Minimum age to join drop-off kids programming: 3 years old (on Oasis of the Seas, it’s 3 months, since that ship has a nursery)
  • Drinking: 21 years old to drink alcohol, with the exception of Europe and South America cruises if parents cruising with their children sign a waiver allowing their 18 to 20 year olds to consume alcohol
  • Gambling in casino: 18 to gamble in the casino (and 21 in some Alaska ports)
  • Occupying own cabin: Those under 21 must share a cabin with a person over 21, unless minor children are cruising with their parents or guardians and staying in an adjacent cabin or if underage married couples can show proof of marriage certificate.

Seabourn Cruise Line

  • Minimum age to sail: 6 months on most cruises (12 months on select longer itineraries)
  • Drinking: 21 years old to drink alcohol (though in presence of parents wine may be served at meals to guests under 21)
  • Gambling in casino: 18 to gamble in the casino
  • Occupying own cabin: Those under 18 must share a cabin with a person over 18

*As for cabin age minimums, many cruise lines make an exception for parents traveling with children and occupying two adjoining (or nearby) cabin — even if it’s not officially condoned, it’s often overlooked.

*Only the lines where it’s mentioned offer private in-cabin babysitting.

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