We love to cruise! My husband and I have been on 3 cruises without our kids and 2 with them. My 16yo son is heading on a cruise with his grandmother 2 days after his high school graduation in May. We know what a great family vacation cruising can be. One of the highlights of cruising with the entire family is always a great kids program. On a cruise vacation your family doesn’t have to be together 24/7! The kids can spend the day in their age appropriate program playing, learning and making new friends, while the adults enjoy some downtime without the kids.
Norwegian Cruise Line recently held a contest to name their new youth and teen programs-as well as the divisions in those programs, here are the winners:
Splash Academy for ages 0-12
- 0-2 Guppies
- 3-5 Turtles
- 6-9 Seals
- 10-12 Dolphins
Entourage for ages 13-17
From the cruise line…
The enhanced curriculum focuses on team building and assisting in developing children’s interpersonal and confidence-building skills. With activities that are tailored specifically to each age group, the new youth and teen programs focus on creative and unique activities, along with more sporting events, through a partnership with King’s Foundation and Camps. A highlight of the program is a circus school in partnership with Hilario Productions Cirque du Jour, a New York-based company that specializes in teaching children real circus skills. The overall curriculum focuses on team building and assisting in developing children’s interpersonal and confidence-building skills.
Both Splash Academy and Entourage will feature a different theme every day. Whether it’s ocean-related, pirates, space cowboys, jungle fever or circus, every day will offer a new surprise that is tailored to the individual age groups with a variety of themed activities. Specific emphasis is being placed on sports through the partnership with The King’s Foundation and Camps, a United Kingdom-based organization that provides high quality sport and activity programs designed to make a positive impact on children. A large variety of sports activities and workshops are being offered including soccer skills; physical challenges; and icebreaker action games. For teens, bowling tournaments, soccer challenges and dodge ball under the stars are just a few of the active offerings. There is also a chance for the whole family to play along with a variety of sports including dodge ball, sports court fun, tug-of-war and King’s Camps’ family challenges.
Creative arts also play a big role in the program. With a focus on theater and the arts, young cruisers will have the chance to participate in puppet shows, mini improvisational acting classes and the ability to act out their favorite spy or survivor in themed activities such as Superspy Mission Impossible and Desert Island Adventures.
Through the partnership with Hilario Productions Cirque du Jour, Norwegian is offering circus workshops for the whole family teaching a variety of skills such as balancing feathers, juggling, plate spinning and even stilt walking. Classes will take place within the youth program and there is also a family circus school performed in a circus ring, hosted by a ringmaster. Hilario Productions Cirque du Jour was established by a team of performers from the famed Ringling Brothers, so kids and parents can learn from some of the best circus entertainers.
Additional offerings for families to participate in together include cupcake decorating; pizza making; a variety of family game shows; family charades; Family Deck Party; and a special Family White Hot Party.
Splash Academy also offers activities for cruisers under three and their parents who can enjoy sensory play classes which include baby art featuring “Wee Can Too” organic art products. There are also fun events such as parent and baby “Rhyme Time” where a storyteller recites popular nursery rhymes featuring puppets or “Motion in the Ocean,” a parent and baby mini workout.
Norwegian’s youth counselors have a degree or relevant in child care or sports education. The company has recruited staff with leadership qualities and those who can serve as positive role models. The counselors will continue to use cute, catchy nicknames which the children enjoy.
Splash Academy and Entourage are currently available on Norwegian Gem and are rolling out to all of Norwegian’s ships. Launch dates are as follows: Norwegian Jewel on April 21; Norwegian Star on May 6; Norwegian Dawn on May 25; Norwegian Epic on May 27; Norwegian Pearl on June 17; Norwegian Jade on June 30; Norwegian Sky on July 16; Norwegian Sun on July 24; Norwegian Spirit on August 14 and Pride of America on August 25. Norwegian Breakaway launching in April 2013 will also feature the new youth and teen programs.
The new programs sound AMAZING and I’m sure my 16yo would love them! He has bowled on a homeschool bowling league for 8 years so I know teen bowling tournaments at sea would really excite him as would the creativity of the circus school. As a mom of a 19yo though, I have felt for years that there is one demographic that the cruise industry as a whole has left out in the cold…the 18-20 year olds. I have talked to many parents who have taken their 18 year olds on cruises for their high school graduation only to find out that there isn’t much for them to do. They are too old for the teen programs and too young for the nightclubs and 21+ activities. Hopefully someday the cruise industry will offer activities for ALL age groups.