(12:48 p.m. EDT) - Carnival Cruise Lines will debut Camp Ocean, a marine-themed children's program, onboard Carnival Freedom on May 24 and roll it out fleetwide by 2016. The program, which will replace the line's Camp Carnival program, will immerse kids ages 2 to 11 in the "wonders of the sea" through fun, educational onboard activities. The activities will span 11 categories of play including active play, games, arts and crafts, role play, music, party time, social and food fun, among others.
Children will be divided by age groups within the Camp Ocean program with kids ages 2 to 5 in the "Penguins," those 6 to 8 in the "Sting Rays," and 9- to 11-year-olds in the "Sharks."
"We are constantly looking at our shipboard programming to keep it fresh and interesting. Since families are such a core market for us, it's very important to us to make sure our youth programming is constantly evolving," Carnival spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz said. "The thinking behind Camp Ocean, which reflects a nice blend of educational and entertaining activities, grew out of consumer research we conducted. Cruising and the ocean are obviously closely connected and kids are fascinated by the marine world. Our research told us that parents place a lot of value on having kids learn more about the sea, its characteristics and inhabitants."
Among the 200 ocean-inspired activities will be games such as Sea Creature Discovery, Marine Life Trivia, Under the Sea Mad Libs and Ocean Artifacts Memory Tray, as well as creative arts exercises like Design Your Own Aquarium, Make Your Own Sailboat, Sea Salt Art and Create a Penguin from Oreos. Camp Carnival also will incorporate a Badge Challenge, which gives kids the chance to earn and collect badges for completing special tasks such as trying new foods, making an aquatic animal towel or riding the water slide.
Children's spaces also will be redesigned. Penguins will find miniature play igloos, while the Sharks get interactive gaming stations. Carnival Freedom, which begins a multimillion dollar refurbishment this weekend, will be the first ship to receive the new spaces. Camp Ocean will next be introduced on Carnival Magic, Breeze and Triumph this year, with the balance of the fleet rolled out by 2016.
In developing the Camp Ocean program, Carnival created a Carnival Play Panel consisting of experts in child education, media and play.
Carnival's programs for tweens and teens, Circle C and Club O2 will remain unchanged.
--By Dori Saltzman, News Editor