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Best Cruises for Families

Pick your dreamboat and sail away on one of these cool new megaships.

By Ellen Parlapiano

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Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas
Courtesy of Royal Caribbean
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Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas

World's largest cruise liner: 7 neighborhoods, an open-to-the sky park, and a zip line overhead.

Leaves from: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Sails to: Eastern Caribbean (Nassau; St. Thomas; St. Maarten) or Western Caribbean (private island of Labadee; Costa Maya, Mexico; Cozumel, Mexico)

Family Features: Extreme thrills await in the Pool & Sports Zone: Fly across the ship on the 9-story zip line and catch waves at the FlowRider surf simulator. Life's a carnival down on the Boardwalk—ride the carousel and grab some cotton candy, then head to the Opal Theater for fresh talent.

Teen Time: Kids can chill in three VIP lounges (there are specific times allotted to various age groups). The Living Room has comfy furniture, big-screen video games, poker tables, and a music studio with drum kits and Fender guitars. Pool parties rage on the adjoining back deck. Fuel Disco offers dancing, open-mike nights, and scratch DJ lessons.

Parent Portal: Find your Zen in the spa or the serene, romantic Solarium, which has four hot tubs and a freshwater pool. Stroll through Central Park, then sip cocktails at the Rising Tide Bar, which moves vertically to transport you from the park to the lively Royal Promenade three floors above.

Innovative Eateries: Grab a slice at Sorrento's Pizzeria, a dog at the Boardwalk Hot Dog House or a sweet treat at the Cupcake Cupboard ($2.50 each; or take a decorating class and create your own for $22). For dinner splurge at Brazilian-style Samba Grill ($25 per person), where skewers of meat and seafood are sliced tableside, and you signal gaucho servers when you've had enough.

More Info: 7-day cruises start at $729 per person; $399 each for 3rd & 4th passenger in cabin; 800-ROYAL CARIBBEAN; royalcaribbean.com

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