Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cruising "Like A Norwegian" For Kids

Norwegian Cruise Line has long been known as a family-friendly cruise vacation option and, in recognition of the needs of the growing family vacation market, the line has announced that it is revitalizing its current youth program to meet the demand. The re-branded new best-in-class program will be introduced next month on Norwegian Gem and will subsequently be rolled out fleetwide.

The current program, Norwegian’s Kid’s Crew in place since 1999, will be renamed and the age groups are being redefined to better address the skills and interests of children. The new age groups will be: 3 to 5 years; 6 to 8 years; 9 to 12 years; along with two teen groups: 13 to 14 and 15 to 17 years. There will also be programming for babies and toddlers ages 6 months to 2 years.

The new fully developed and enhanced curriculum tailored to each age group is being produced in conjunction with The King’s Foundation and Camps, a UK-based organization that provides high quality sport and activity programs designed to make a positive impact on children. More focus will be placed on sporting activities, arts and crafts, theater,and technology. Activities will change every 30 to 60 minutes depending on the age group and will be set within blocks of programming time in the morning, afternoon and evening.

The new curriculum will also include creative themes, such as circus day, theater/technology/sports and port of call day. The company has engaged Cirque Du Jour, a NY-based company that specializes in teaching children real circus skills such as scarf juggling, ball juggling, plate spinning, clowning, and acrobatics. Circus workshops and shows will also be offered for the entire family. In addition, the youth programs will be expanded to utilize other areas of the ships, including the sports courts, rock walls, theaters, lounges, and public spaces. More family events such as parades and scavenger hunts will be featured.

Norwegian is also investing in its youth staff by increasing the ratio of staff to children and establishing new criteria for the hiring of counselors, including the requirement of a college degree in recreation or child care (or the equivalent experience).

The line currently offers exclusive Nickelodeon family events, shows and activities on three ships: Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Jewel, and Norwegian Gem (beginning mid-February). Activities include pool games, breakfast with the characters, where kids–-and adults–-can eat, sing and play with SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Patrick, Diego, and more; Dora’s Dance Party, where kids can join Dora and the Nickelodeon cast to dance and sing along; meet and greets with popular Nickelodeon characters, including SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and many more. In addition, there are also other family activities offered, including Nick Jr. story time, family trivia and special arts and crafts sessions.

“More and more families are choosing a cruise for their vacation since it represents such a good value and offers so much for the entire family. In fact, close to 150,000 children sailed on our ships in 2010 and that number continues to rise,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “We’ve already taken family programming to the next level by offering Nickelodeon experiences on some ships. Now, we want to make sure that we are continuing to offer the best possible experience for families. To do this, we are investing millions of dollars in revamping our youth and family programming.”

More details of the new youth and teen program will be released in the coming months. Further information on Norwegian’s family offerings can be found on the line’s website at

Image Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

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