7 Cruise Lines That Let Kids Sail Free

These major cruise lines are offering deals to let kids sail free, and there are plenty of free perks for everyone else in the family, too.
Kids sail free on select cruises from Royal Caribbean (Photo: Royal Caribbean)
Kids sail free on select cruises from Royal Caribbean (Photo: Royal Caribbean)

Considering a cruise vacation? Many of the world’s most popular family cruise lines offer ongoing promotions that let kids sail free on new bookings for families traveling together, and this year that list is growing with even more kids-cruise-free promotions. Whether it’ll be your first cruise vacation or your fiftieth, why not do it with free cruise fare for the kids?

Which Cruise Lines Offer Kids Sail Free Deals?

With an assist from the experts at CruiseCritic, I’ve compiled a complete list of every major cruise line that will let kids cruise free or at a significantly reduced price. Additional cruise fare savings onboard these kid-friendly cruise lines can also put a vacation within reach for families looking to balance tighter budgets. Note that taxes, fees, port expenses, registration costs, insurance, flights, and airport transfers are generally not included in kids sail free promotions (but you’ll still save a fortune).

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1. Royal Caribbean – Kids Sail Free Promotions

Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas
Royal Caribbean offers kids sail free promotions off and on throughout the year (Photo: Royal Caribbean)

Perennially kid-friendly Royal Caribbean has a loyal family following that appreciates its extensive kid-centric offerings, including kids clubs, family-oriented entertainment options, endless pools and water play areas, menus built with kids’ palates in mind, a private island oasis called Perfect Day at CocoCay, and even kid-centered spa options.

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Royal Caribbean’s kids sail free offers are available at different times throughout the year, allowing children aged 12 years and under to cruise free when booked in the same stateroom as paying adults. You can find the latest Royal Caribbean cruise deals here and a list of additional promotions here. If you don’t see a kids sail free promotion right now, check back often, as they can go quickly once offered, but always pop up again soon after.

2. Norwegian Cruise Line – Free at Sea Deals

Pool deck on the Norwegian Bliss (Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line)
Norwegian frequently offers kids sail free deals and other money-saving promotions (Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line)

Another kid-friendly cruise line, Norwegian offers some seriously good deals to entice traveling families, including a host of “Free at Sea” perks that include kids sail free deals (and some great deals on cruises for couples, too). You can find the latest Norwegian cruise deals here and a list of additional “Free at Sea” other limited time offers here whenever they’re available.

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Norwegian typically offers up to five freebies with its “Free at Sea” promotion: free open bar, free specialty dining, free excursions and port expenses, free Wi-Fi, and best of all for families, kids sail free rates for the third guests and fourth guests in your group (for select cruise departure dates; exclusions on Thanksgiving sailings, Easter sailings, and spring break may apply).

3. MSC Cruises – Kids Cruise Free and All-in-One Pricing

Mini golf aboard an MSC ship
If your kids are 18 or younger, they sail free on MSC Cruises when they stay in the same cabin as a parent (Photo: MSC Cruises)

Kids aged 18 and under staying in the same cabin as a parent can cruise for free with MSC Cruises. Its “kids cruise free” deal is often accompanied by other perks like compimentary drinks and Wi-Fi, and an onboard credit that sometimes goes as high as $400. For more information and to see the valid cruise departure dates, check out the cruise deals offered by MSC Cruises on its website and search MSC deals here.

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MSC Cruises also offers an “all-in-one” pricing option for single parents or guardians traveling with up to three kids even when it’s not running a limited-time free sailing promo for children. With this reduced price for kids, the grownup is charged full cruise fare, the second guest under age 18 pays 60 percent of the grownup fare, and the remaining kids are charged reduced fares.

4. Holland America Line – Kids Cruise Free on Select Voyages

Holland America's ms Koningsdam in Venice (Photo: Holland America)
Holland America offers kids cruise free promotions on select voyages (Photo: Holland America)

Cruising to destinations as far and wide as Asia, Alaska, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, New Zealand, and Indonesia, Holland America offers kids cruise free promotions on select voyages in 2024. Its current deal, valid on some cruises to Mexico, the Caribbean, and beyond, lets kids 18 and under sail free.

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While Holland America Line urges cruisers to “book right away” because “this offer won’t last long,” it’s a safe bet that when one kids cruise free promotion ends another one will begin soon after, because that’s been the pattern for many years now. For more information, visit the kids cruise free page on Holland America’s website and search Holland America cruise deals here. Holland America’s other discounts and deals, which are also perpetually ongoing, include balcony stateroom upgrades and onboard credit.

5. Costa Cruises – Kids Sail Free When Traveling as a Third or Fourth Guest

Costa Fortuna Panoramic View on Nagasaki Port
Costa Cruises, which sails in South America, Europe, and the Middle East, has an ongoing deal where kids (ages 2 to 17 years old) sail free if they’re traveling with two full-priced grownup guests (Photo: Costa Cruises)

You might not be familiar with Costa Cruises unless you’ve looked into cruises around South America, Europe, or the Middle East, which are the cruise line’s areas of focus. But if your cruise vacation dreams involve one of those destinations, you definitely want to give Costa Cruises some consideration. Its family-friendly ships have all the usual fun-at-sea perks you could want, including water parks, mini golf, go-karts, and both a kids club (for ages three to 11) and a teen zone (ages 12 to 17).

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To sweeten the spot, Costa Cruises has an ongoing kids sail free deal for children ages two to 17 when the kids travel as a third or fourth guest with two full-priced grownup guests. Better yet, this free cruise promotion is valid line-wide across all of Costa’s ships and not limited to select sailings.

6. CroisiEurope – Kids Sail Free on European River Cruises

CroisiEurope's MS Michelangelo in Venice, Italy
CroisiEurope offers kids (under 16) sail free deals on select river cruises around France, Portugal, Spain, the Rhine, and Italy (Photo: Alexandre Sattler)

Most European river cruise companies either don’t cater to families or outright discourage people from traveling with kids. That’s not the case with CroisiEurope, which is once again embracing family-friendly European river cruising with kids sail free deals on select river cruises around France, Portugal, Spain, the Rhine, and Italy. The free cruise deal is available for kids up to age 16.

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In addition to the free cruise rates for kids, CroisiEurope offers a 30 percent discount on Croatia coastal sailings for children. Families can also get adjacent cabins when booking multiple staterooms, child-friendly adapted menus at mealtimes, and a waived single supplement fee. For more information about free and discounted cruises for kids with CroisiEurope, visit the family cruise deals page here.

7. Crystal Cruises – Kids Under 11 Pay Half Price

Crystal Symphony at Sea (Photo: Crystal Cruises)
Crystal allows children under 11 to sail for 50% off (Photo: Crystal Cruises)

Prior to changing ownership a few years ago, luxury all-inclusive line Crystal Cruises regularly allowed children 17 and under to cruise free when staying in the same stateroom with two passengers aged 21 or older. The current ongoing policy for kids is a little more restrictive because it only applies to children younger than 11, and the discount is 50 percent rather than kids sail free.

However, the luxury cruise company does sometimes still offer a promotion that allow kids under 18 to sail free when staying as a third or fourth guest. To see if this deal is currently being offered, click here.

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Amanda Norcross
Amanda Norcross is a family travel expert who's previously written for FamilyVacationist. Her expertise has also been featured in major media outlets including Bloomberg, Cheddar, Family Vacation Critic, NBC News, Red Tricycle, SmarterTravel, The New York Times, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, and The Weather Channel. Amanda enjoys traveling with her curious toddler and seeing the world through his eyes.