Ship: Norwegian Breakaway
Best for: The Whole Crew
If you're traveling with a big brood of kids, cousins or grandparents — or all of the above — the nearly 4,000-passenger Norwegian Breakaway offers several room configurations to accommodate everyone: Choose from interconnecting staterooms or multi-room suites. The ship debuted in May 2013 and journeys to the Bahamas and Florida in winter and to Bermuda in summer. Seven-day cruises start at $879 per person; ncl.com.
Ship: Carnival Breeze
Best for: The Whole Crew
For the family who's brave when it comes to dining and activities, this ship doesn't limit you to one type of thrill: Opt for a heart-pumping adrenaline rush or a tickling of your taste buds. Adventurous eaters will love the more than 15 restaurants — including Indian, Mexican and BBQ — and free cooking demonstrations. Too much fun in the sun? Chill out in the Thrill Theater, an interactive, multidimensional viewing experience that takes you inside the movie and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Six-day cruises start at $359 per person; carnival.com.
Ship: Royal Caribbean International Anthem of the Seas
Best for: Beach Bums
Talk about a Caribbean dream. Sail to tropical ports of call on one of the world's first smartships for an average price of $220 per person per day (royalcaribbean.com). Eat well without gaining an ounce thanks to celebrity chef Devin Alexander's special menu that sounds indulgent (pizza! enchiladas! brownies!) but is actually light on calories and fat. Then soar to new heights on North Star, a jewel-shaped capsule that gently ascends more than 300 feet above sea level, providing 360-degree views.
Ship: Disney Wonder
Best for: Nature Lovers
Explore the awe-inspiring beauty of Alaska with a hit of the Disney magic your kids know and love. Off-ship, spot bald eagles, bears, sea otters and whales — plus marvel at ice-blue glaciers, rushing waterfalls and snowcapped mountains. Back on board, encounter Disney characters and enjoy first-run movies and exclusive live productions in the plush theater. Wonder offers seven-night round-trip cruises from Vancouver in summer, starting at $1,414 per person (disneycruise.disney.go.com). This year, on select sailings, the ship will turn into a Frozen-themed wonderland complete with deck party, character meet-and-greets and even "Let It Go" sing-alongs.
Ships: Celebrity Cruises
Best for: Movie Buffs
Got a budding movie director on your hands? Celebrity Cruises has launched a workshop for wannabe teen directors called iTake. First, they brainstorm storyboards for short flicks. Then, armed with GoPro Hero3 waterproof wide-angle video cameras, they'll head out to get the shots. After filming, they'll learn how to edit footage to create amazing vacation videos. Seven-night cruises start at $649 per person (celebritycruises.com). While the kids are brushing up on their cinema skills, you and your husband can take a salsa or ballroom dance class, book a healing acupuncture or chiropractic session, or join a friendly pick-up game of bocce or croquet on the ship's lawn. Combine land and sea by encouraging your kids to document the line's just-announced Celebrity City Stay vacation packages, which include three nights in a four-star hotel with breakfast; transfers to and from the airport, hotel and cruise ship; and a full-day guided city tour with lunch. Prices vary according to destination.
Ships: Holland America Cruises
Best for: Go Your Own Wayers
In vacation and in life, sometimes you and your kids would each rather do your own thing. Enter Holland America's programs tailored to tweens and teens. Eight- to 12-year-olds can join karaoke disco parties, while 13- to 17-year-olds learn how to make a mean mocktail and dabble in yoga and hip-hop. Grown-ups can take in culture with self-guided walking tours of the impressive onboard art collection on select ships. Then taste your way through two different levels of wine courses or learn how to make classic cocktails. Top the night off by kicking back at the newly expanded B.B. King's Blues Club, featuring an eight-piece house band. Seven-day cruises start at $599 per person; hollandamerica.com.
Ship: Royal Caribbean International Quantum of the Seas
Best for: Gamers
The 4,180-passenger Quantum of the Seas launched in November 2014 with diversions galore. Feeling daring? Experience the thrill of a free fall without leaving the deck with RipCord by iFly, the first skydiving simulator on a cruise ship. For the big kid in your life (aka your husband), robot bartenders are sure to enthrall. There's also an outdoor running track, a rock climbing wall, a surf simulator and SeaPlex, the largest indoor active space on any ship, which features roller-skating facilities. Cruises average $220 per person per day; royalcaribbean.com.
Originally published in the April 2015 issue of Family Circle magazine.