Considering a cruise vacation? Many cruise lines are trying to entice travelers—specifically those looking for family cruises—with incentives to head for the high seas, including promotions that let kids sail free on new bookings. So, whether it’ll 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 Cruise Deals for 2023
With an assist from the experts at CruiseCritic, we’ve compiled a complete list of major cruise lines that will let kids cruise free or at a significantly reduced price. 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 have an adventure together.
Editor’s note: In most cases, taxes, fees, port expenses, registration costs, insurance, flights, and airport transfers are not included in kids sail free promotions.
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1. 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 offers kids sail free promotions at certain times throughout the year, allowing children aged 12 and under to cruise free. You can find the latest Royal Caribbean cruise deals here and a list of current promotions here. If you don’t see a kids sail free promotion, check back often, as they can go quickly once offered.
2. Norwegian Cruise Line
Another kid-friendly cruise line, Norwegian offers some seriously good deals to entice families, including a host of “Free at Sea” perks that include kids sail free deals (and some great deals on cruises for couples, too).
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The cruise line 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, 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 aged 18 and under staying in the same cabin as a parent can cruise for free with MSC Cruises. The cruise line also offers an “all-in-one” pricing option for single parents or guardians traveling with up to three kids. With this reduced-price-for-kids 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.
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4. 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. 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. For more information, visit the kids cruise free page on Holland America’s website and search Holland America cruise deals here. Note that Holland America’s other discounts and deals offer perks like balcony stateroom upgrades and onboard credit.
5. Crystal Cruises
Prior to filing for bankruptcy and ceasing operations in January 2022, Crystal Cruises regularly allowed 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 cruise line has since been purchased and promises to return to the seas again, though it’s unclear whether the new Crystal Cruises will offer the kids sail free deal at that time. For more information, visit the Crystal Cruises’s revamped website.
Many European river cruise companies either don’t really cater to or outright discourage families traveling with kids, but CroisiEurope is embracing family-friendly cruising with kids sail free deals on select river cruises to Portugal, Spain, the Rhine, and Italy this summer. The free cruise deal is available for kids up to age 16. There’s also a 30 percent discount on Croatia sailings.
In addition to the free and reduced rates for kids, CroisiEurope offers families adjacent cabins when booking multiple staterooms, child-friendly menus at mealtimes, and a waived single supplement fee.