Explorer of the Seas is an outstanding choice for family cruisers. The facilities on this ship are among the largest in the industry -- encompassing more than 16,000 square feet -- and include large playrooms, a video arcade and a teen nightclub (Optix) with a dance floor, DJ booth and soda bar.
Late-night Party Zone is a group sitting program for kids available from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. that comes with a fee of $U.S.7 per hour, per child.
Royal Caribbean's excellent Adventure Ocean Youth Program divides kids into age-appropriate groups. For instance, Aquanauts (the program for ages 3 to 5) may feature activities like Space Night, Camp Aquanauta, plus circus-themed activities. Explorers (ages 6 to 8) play backwards bingo, enjoy late-night parties and engage in basic science activities. Voyagers (ages 9 to 11) play foosball and capture the flag, as well as engage in science experiments that demystify everything from earthquakes to hailstorms.
Open from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. activities at Adventure Ocean cease during lunch and dinner times (children's menus are available in the main dining room), but there is the occasional organized meal outing (to Johnny Rockets, for instance). Plus, My Family Time Dining offers an option that lets kids finish dinner in the main dining room in 45 minutes, then get escorted by Adventure Ocean counselors back to the kids' club to play while Mom and Dad enjoy a more leisurely meal.
Adventure Ocean kids club offers activities for children of all abilities with families encouraged to consult with staff regarding any special needs their children may have so activities can be modified where necessary. Specially selected Autism-friendly toys are also available for families to borrow and play with in the privacy of their stateroom.
The teens are divided into two groups. Navigators (ages 12 to 14) have "open-mic" karaoke contests and a rock-wall challenge. And, the coolest group (ages 15 to 17) -- so cool, they don't have a kitschy name -- has its own dance parties, dodge ball tournaments and arcade competitions.
There's even something for cruising tots with Royal Babies and Tots Open Play Sessions for children under the age of three who are accompanied by mum or dad. Other scheduled activities for families to enjoy together include scavenger hunts, family discos at Optix and bingo.