Carnival Takes Other Lines To School With Kid Travel Effort

A perennial favorite with family travel,  Carnival Cruise Lines took their time updating the award-winning Camp Carnival program and with good reason:  it was rated tops with both parents and kids for quite some time.  Parents were happy.  Kids were happy.  No need to rush into anything here.  Business as usual.   Still, as family entertainment icon Disney Cruise Lines prepared to double the size of their fleet not long ago, other cruise lines started to sweat.

Bringing onboard b-list cartoon characters and children’s programming, other lines tried to ramp up their position with families with mixed success.  All are better off than they were a few years ago but still don’t come close to winning a race with Mickey, Minnie, Donald and the gang their at-sea persona’s fueled by Disney‘s rich heritage of laser-focused family programming.  Carnival chose not to enter the popularity contest, going a different direction entirely.

In much the same interesting way that Carnival Cruise Lines revolutionized the sleepy cruise industry decades ago, they waited until the timing was right, bouyed by their still-successful Camp Carnival program and happy kids from tots to teens.  I know, our “kids” were some of those.  When the time came for Carnival to revolutionize onboard programming for children, they turned to a different icon, a tried, true, tested and trusted source:  Dr Seuss.  Brilliant.

Now, with summer travel season in full swing, at a time when other cruise lines are focusing on day to day operations and business as usual,  Carnival is introducing the new Dr. Seuss Bookville family reading venue and Camp Ocean marine-themed children’s program on Carnival Freedom.  Live. On a ship packed with family travel experts.  Brilliant.

Just emerging from a $multi-million makeover, Carnival Freedom is featuring more than 200 new ocean-inspired activities as part of a simultaneous fleetwide rollout of new children’s programming, designed to build upon Carnival’s rock-solid position in family cruising.

Want all the details and more than a bullet point list of features?  
On board Carnival Freedom right now is family travel expert Nancy Schretter, (@KidTravel) our go-to source for family travel information as well as Stefanie Fauquet (@MommyMusings) both of which are reporting live from the ship. Follow both as well as a slew of others including travel blogging icons JD Andrews (@earthXplorer), MidLifeRoadTrip‘s brand ambassadors Rick Griffin (@RickGriffin) and Sandy McKenna (@SandiMcKenna) posting with the tag #CarnivalFreedom on Twitter for all the details

We’ll have that list of features later. For now, know that Carnival hosts more than 700,000 kids a year – the most of any cruise operator and roughly double what the line carried a decade ago.  That little item alone should be good reason for those interested in the family travel market to take notice of what Carnival is doing.


Flickr photo by Elizabeth