Cruise ship near beach/kids sail free
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Kids Sail Free: 4 Cruise Lines Letting Kids Cruise Free in 2020 and 2021

Considering a cruise vacation when it’s safe to travel again? Many cruise lines are trying to entice travelers—specifically families—with incentives to head for the high seas post COVID-19, including promotions that let kids sail free on new bookings. 

When Will Cruise Ships Resume Sailing?

Some major cruise lines have canceled departures through October or November 2020, while others won’t resume sailings until early 2021. For a complete list of all cruise lines and their expected departure dates for new sailings, click here.

Though many cruise lines won’t start operating again until next year, planning ahead now can help you save big on sailings that likely won’t stay this affordable once travel begins its inevitable rebound. And as more cruise lines start to outline enhanced safety protocols and onboard screening processes for future passengers, it’s easier to imagine a time in which a family cruise is possible again. 

So, whether it will be your first cruise vacation or you’ve lost count of how many sailings you’ve been on, why not do it with free cruise fare for the kids?

Kids Sail Free in 2020 and 2021

With an assist from the experts at Cruise Critic, we’ve compiled a complete list of major cruise lines that let kids cruise free or at a significantly reduced price in 2020 and 2021. Additional cruise fare savings onboard these kid-friendly cruise lines also put a vacation within reach for families looking to balance tighter budgets with the strong urge to return to normalcy and have an adventure together again. 

Royal Caribbean International

New Sailings: Royal Caribbean is expected to resume sailings on Nov. 1, 2020.

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, and even kid-centered spa options. Currently, the cruise line is offering another kid-friendly benefit: a free cruise promotion on select cruises for kids. 

Royal Caribbean is allowing kids aged 12 and under to sail free on select sailings on or after November 1, 2020, when the cruise line is expected to resume cruises. Plus, you’ll enjoy 60 percent off cruise fare for a second guest and 30 percent off rates for third and fourth guests. You can find the latest offers here.

Norwegian Cruise Line

New Sailings: Norwegian Cruise Line is expected to resume sailings on Nov. 1, 2020.

Another of the best cruise lines for families, Norwegian Cruise Line is offering some seriously good deals on 2021 itineraries, including the chance for kids to sail free. 

The cruise line typically offers up to five free promotions: free open bar, free specialty dining, free excursions and port expenses, free Wi-Fi, and best of all, 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). Visit to learn more about this offer. 

MSC Cruises

New Sailings: In August, the MSC Grandiosa resumed sailings in the Mediterranean. All other operations have been suspended through Oct. 31, 2020.

Kids aged 18 and under sail free on select cruise departures with MSC Cruises, while tots aged two and under always sail free. 

MSC also offers an all-in-one pricing option for single parents or guardians traveling with up to three kids. With this offer, the adult is charged full cruise fare, the second guest under age 18 pays 60 percent of the adult fare, and the remaining children are charged reduced fares. For more information or to check the valid cruise departure date for these offers, check out MSC Cruises

Crystal Cruises

New Sailings: Crystal Cruises will resume sailings on Jan. 3, 2021.

Crystal Cruises regularly allows children aged 17 and under to cruise free when staying with the first two qualifying guests aged 21 or older in the same stateroom. The line’s cruise free offer is available on select cruise departure dates. For more information, visit Crystal Cruises

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Amanda Norcross
Amanda Norcross is the former Lead Editor at Family Vacation Critic (a Tripadvisor Media Group Company), where she also served as a media spokesperson. Her travel expertise has been featured in major outlets including Bloomberg, NBC News, The New York Times, and The Weather Channel. When she's not traveling, you'll find Amanda performing on a community theater stage, practicing yoga, sampling craft beer, or obsessing over her mini-dachshund, Rudy.