I wasn’t even two years old when I went on my very first cruise in 1985, and back then Princess Cruises’ original Royal Princess didn’t even have a kids facility onboard. Since then, children’s programs have become exponentially more elaborate. Now at a time when Generation Z is greatly influencing family purchasing decisions, youth cruise options are more crucial than ever to include.
Now 32 years old, I’m a millennial who has seen the evolution of cruise ship kids programs from their nonexistent start. Three decades ago, children on cruises were an afterthought, which makes sense given that they were then frequented by retirees over families.
After a couple of cruises on the Royal Princess, my family began to sail rather regularly on the then-new Crystal Cruises upon its 1990 launch. Back then, passengers turned heads when they saw a child onboard, but at least the Crystal Harmony actually had a kids space. Mind you, it was just a single room with a simple padded incline to crawl on, some activity tables and a few classic Nintendo NES video game consoles. By the time the Crystal Symphony emerged, the space grew to include a ball pit and several arcade games but not much more.
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