Norwegian Cruise Line values family fun, and to balance out Pearl's bars, clubs and adult spaces, kids and teens have their own clubs and play areas as well. A video arcade (all ages) is even located next to the kid and teen spaces, to encourage open play (just be wary of letting young ones swipe at will -- the games and video games run an additional cost). Splash Academy, the line's kids club, is located on Deck 12.
All parents are required to register their kids on the first day of the cruise, when there is a meet and greet with the counselors and a tour of the Academy. All kids (not teens, 13 or older) must be signed in and out at drop-off and pickup, unless they are 10 or older and parents have granted permission for them to sign themselves out. All kids get colored wristbands, depending on age and whether they can sign themselves out.
Norwegian splits its Splash Academy program into the following groups, with age-appropriate activities:
Turtles (3 to 5 years): Turtles activities emphasize sports and arts and crafts. Among the offerings are: Circus School, where the kids get to learn circus acts like feather balancing; developmental activities, such as simple counting using blocks or games; sensory and messy play; storytelling; and treasure hunts.
Seals (6 to 9 years): Seals might dress up as super heroes and villains in a battle of good versus evil, build a fort, head to the Wild West, test their animal knowledge in the Jungle Room and take part in a host of sports activities almost every day, both in the Splash Academy and on the sports courts. Activities likely include a treasure hunt, circus show at the end of the cruise and, on certain port days, organized trips to sights in ports of call.
Dolphins (10 to 12 years): Dolphinstake part in age-appropriate activities, such as trivia, themed events and sports. A typical sea day might offer "Commotion in the Ocean" (playing and learning about the ocean at the same time), a sports session and themed night like "Hurray for Hollywood" or "Mission Impossible Spy Night." Evening events could be a dance party or Glow Party.
You may leave your child onboard on port days, unless he or she has special needs or is in diapers; in those cases, one family member must stay onboard. Norwegian also marks which of its shore excursions are especially kid-friendly.
Splash Academy is open from 9 a.m. (sea days) to 1:30 a.m., with two-hour breaks at lunch (noon to 2 p.m.) and dinner (5 p.m. to 7 p.m.). It opens earlier on port days, depending on when the ship gets in, and includes a Breakfast Club for parents who have early tours.
Programming is free for children aged three to 17 years old until 10:30 p.m. After that, it turns into a Late Night Fun Zone, and a fee of $6 per child, per hour ($4 per hour for each additional sibling) applies. A $6 per-child fee applies for supervision during mealtimes, which are escorted and take place in O'Sheehan's or the Garden Cafe. There is no in-cabin babysitting.
Entourage Teen Club is also located on Deck 12, but is a world apart as far as programming is concerned. With a more freeform approach (hey, they're not kids after all), teens can participate in organized sporting events, dance socials, Guitar Hero or late-night movies, pool parties, quizzes and karaoke.
It operates completely differently from Splash Academy, with teens allowed to come and go as they please; parents sign a waiver, and staff do not have the authority to make kids stay. The lounge's open hours are around 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on sea days and 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. on port days.
Entourage features a video jukebox and dance floor, gaming stations with Wii U, air hockey and foosball. Teens love it, and it's a great place for them to meet other teens. (It's also unlikely you'll see much of yours for the duration of the cruise.)