Voted Best Transportation Service in Cape Canaveral & Cocoa Beach!
Voted Best Transportation Service in Cape Canaveral & Cocoa Beach!
Voted Best Transportation Service in Cape Canaveral!

Cruising with Kids: Family-Friendly Tips

Embarking on a cruise with the whole family is an exciting adventure, and Port Canaveral serves as a fantastic gateway to family-friendly cruise experiences. As parents gear up for the high seas, navigating the waters of planning a cruise with kids can present its own set of challenges and delightful surprises.

From choosing the right cruise line to identifying kid-approved excursions on Florida’s Space Coast, this guide aims to be your compass, offering a treasure trove of family-friendly tips for a smooth and enjoyable cruise departure from the vibrant Port Canaveral.

Port Canaveral Cruise Lines

There are a variety of cruise lines sailing out of Port Canaveral, offering you an exciting voyage no matter who you choose to sail with. Typically, cruises from Port Canaveral range from short getaways of 3 to 4 nights to longer voyages of 7 nights or more.

  • Disney Cruise Line: Known for its family-friendly atmosphere, Disney Cruise Line sails from Port Canaveral, and sailings are designed to provide a magical experience for guests of all ages. With Disney-themed activities, character meet-and-greets, and entertainment, it’s no surprise that families find irresistible allure in embarking on magical journeys with Disney.
  • Carnival Cruise Line: Offering a range of itineraries from Port Canaveral, Carnival caters to various preferences and budgets. With a lively and fun atmosphere, Carnival ships provide an array of activities, entertainment, and dining options.
  • Royal Caribbean International: Royal Caribbean operates some of the world’s largest cruise ships, including those departing Port Canaveral. Ships often feature amenities like rock climbing walls, surf simulators, ice skating rinks, zip lines, and state-of-the-art fitness facilities.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL): Enjoy Freestyle Cruising with Norwegian’s relaxed and flexible approach, which provides passengers more flexibility on their cruise experience. Guests can dine at various restaurants with no fixed dining times, and casual dress codes are embraced.
  • MSC Cruises: This international cruise line provides a mix of European style and modern amenities. MSC Cruises are family-friendly, providing facilities and programs for children of different age groups. The Doremi Club offers age-appropriate activities, and family-friendly stateroom options are available.
  • Celebrity Cruises (starts sailing in Dec. 2024): Celebrity Cruises offers a more upscale cruise experience, with sophisticated dining, entertainment, and amenities. While it is a family-friendly cruise line, it is a premium cruise line recognized for its sophisticated and modern approach.

Kid-Approved Excursions on Florida’s Space Coast

Whether Port Canaveral is your port of call or you’re planning to arrive before your cruise departure on a Stay & Cruise package, the following activities are some of the top recommendations for kid-friendly excursions on Florida’s Space Coast.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex:

Explore the Kennedy Space Center, where kids can see real space shuttles, rockets, and learn about the history of space exploration. Don’t miss the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit, the Shuttle Launch Experience, and the Astronaut Encounter. 

Rocket Launch Viewing:

Check the schedule for upcoming rocket launches from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station or Kennedy Space Center. Viewing a live rocket launch is a thrilling experience for kids, and there are designated viewing areas for visitors throughout the Port Canaveral and Cocoa Beach area.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge:

For a nature-focused excursion, visit the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Kids can participate in wildlife observation, bird watching, and perhaps spot manatees, alligators, and various bird species.

Cocoa Beach:

Enjoy a day at Cocoa Beach, where kids can play in the sand, swim, and build sandcastles. Places like Cocoa Beach Surf Company offer daily rentals where you can get your beach chairs, umbrellas, and surfboards. It’s also one of the top family beaches in Florida.

Airboat Tours:

Experience the thrill of an airboat tour in the nearby wetlands. Kids will love seeing wildlife like alligators and various bird species in their natural habitat.

Brevard Zoo:

The Brevard Zoo in Melbourne is a family-friendly destination. It features a variety of exhibits, including a giraffe feeding experience, a splash park, and a children’s play area. Not to mention, it has been voted the No. 3 zoo in North America, and the top zoo in Florida, in the USA Today’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice awards. 

The Dinosaur Store:

Home of the Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures, The Dinosaur Store in nearby Cocoa Beach, is a unique and family-friendly attraction that combines a museum, gift shop, and interactive exhibits centered around dinosaurs. It caters to visitors of all ages, especially those with an interest in paleontology and prehistoric creatures.

Family-Friendly Tips for Sailing Out of Port Canaveral

1. Plan Early

Start planning your cruise well in advance. Once you have your cruise itinerary selected, it’s time to consider if you need to drive to Port Canaveral or fly into Orlando International Airport (MCO). We have an entire guide to flying before your cruise here.

2. Plan Your Pre-Cruise Activities

Most passengers choose to arrive before their cruise departure to ensure that they don’t miss the boat. Arriving the day of your cruise departure puts undue stress on you and does not provide you any flexibility in the event of a delay. Here are 10 reasons why you need to arrive early for your Port Canaveral cruise.

Most area hotels in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral offer Stay & Cruise Packages, which can be tailored to meet all your needs. 

  • Fly, Stay & Cruise: These packages often include round-trip airport transfers, overnight accommodations at a nearby hotel, and shuttle services to the cruise terminal, making it an excellent option for those flying into the area.


  • Park, Stay & Cruise: These packages are designed for those arriving by car, offering a secure parking space for their vehicle, a comfortable stay at a hotel, and round-trip transportation to the cruise terminal.


  • Park & Cruise: This package is designed for those who are arriving the day of their cruise departure and looking for off-site parking options. Check out all the Port Canaveral parking options here.

We cannot recommend arriving early enough, especially with kids involved. 

3. Relax and Enjoy

While it’s important to plan and be organized, be sure to leave room for relaxation and spontaneity. Enjoy the vacation with your family, create lasting memories, and take advantage of the amenities and entertainment offered before your cruise and on your cruise.

Embarking on a cruise from Port Canaveral with your family promises not just a voyage but a shared adventure filled with laughter, discovery, and cherished moments. Bon voyage to the extraordinary world of family cruising from Port Canaveral!

Booking your pre-cruise stay on Florida’s Space Coast doesn’t have to be a hassle. Trust our team at Sail Port Canaveral to find the best price and accommodations for you.

CALL US TODAY!  321.783.8655

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