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8 of the best Europe cruise lines for families

Sail away on a European family adventure with one of these luxurious lines.

European cruises are old-worldly, charming and completely unique. They can range from a summer bask in the Mediterranean to a wintry exploration through the Arctic and often feature multiple countries throughout each journey.

Traversing the waters, you’ll be blessed with skylines of spires that break from historical town centres, crumbling castles and forts that stand mightily above cliff faces, epic monuments that hide behind medieval walls and colourful port towns that welcome you with open arms.

Yup, a European cruise is like no other, and if you’ve got your heart set on a coastal cruise through this entrancing continent with the family in tow, we know a few liners that can take you there.

Searching for river cruises? Check out the top European river cruise companies here.

MSCCruises.BestEuropeCruiseLines

1. MSC Cruises

Make it a grand trip with MSC Cruises and its signature range of MSC Grand Voyages which take you and your brood from one corner of the world to the other.

  • European departure points: Various departure points including Spain, France, Portugal, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, England, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Morocco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Malta and Monaco.
  • On board experience: This Italian liner specialises in Mediterranean cruises and captures the essence of this destination with sleek European-style rooms and freshly prepared cuisine. Yes, this includes pizza, done to perfection.
  • For kids: MSC offers a range of entertainment for children of all ages including an Aqua Park, swimming pools, virtual world, 4D cinema and kids' clubs. Children aged 12 years and under travel free when sharing the cabin with fare-paying parents.

Check the price of MSC's European cruises


Costa.BestEuropeCruiseLines

2. Costa Cruises

Whether you want to sail through the Eastern Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean or the Norwegian Fjords, Costa is Europe’s largest cruise line and sails through them all.

  • European departure points: Multiple ports in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and the Greek Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Montenegro, Morocco, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Scotland, Spitsbergen, France, England, Sweden and Belgium.
  • Onboard experience: Costa is a British/American-owned cruise line based in Italy, and this cultural heritage shows in its European-style furnishings and cuisine. Perfect for those who want a European experience both on and off board.
  • For kids: Costa offers a variety of activities for kids of all ages including activity spaces, kids' clubs and a special baby pool and meet-and-greet with Peppa Pig for little ones.

Check the price of Costa's European cruises


CelebrityCruises.BestEuropeCruiseLines

3. Celebrity Cruises

One of the world’s premium cruise lines, Celebrity Cruises offers over 100 fun-filled cruises throughout Europe for families.

  • European departure points: Southampton, Rome, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Athens and Stockholm.
  • Onboard experience: Celebrity Cruises is based in Greece and features a truly Grecian feel from its sleek blue and white detailing to bevy of Greek island port of calls.
  • For kids: Celebrity is one of the most kid-friendly cruise lines out there. Each ship offers kids' clubs, kid-friendly sports and entertainment. Discounts are available for 3rd and 4th passengers sharing the same room as two full-fare paying adults.

Check the price of Celebrity's European cruises


PrincessCruises.BestEuropeCruiseLines

4. Princess Cruises

Carrying you across the continent, Princess Cruises offers memorable journeys for families through the Mediterranean, Scandinavia and British Isles.

  • European departure points: Rome, Southampton, Athens, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Dover, Berlin, St Petersburg and Venice. As Princess is an American liner, it also offers departures from Fort Lauderdale and New York.
  • Onboard experience: Princess features a modern fit-out with an international atmosphere. European trips often include destination-specific experiences and cuisine.
  • For kids: Princess offers activities the whole family can enjoy. This includes cultural festivals and activities, pools, ship tours, sports and video game rooms. Family suites are available on some ships.

Check the price of Princess' European cruises


FredOlsenCruiseLines.BestEuropeCruiseLines

5. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

British cruise company Fred. Olsen offers a traditional cruise experience to classic destinations around Europe including the Mediterranean, British Isles, and the Baltic and Adriatic seas.

  • European departure points: Belfast, Dover, Edinburgh, Falmouth, Glasgow, Harwich, Liverpool, London Tilbury and Southampton. The cruise line also offers fly-cruises for non-UK departures.
  • Onboard experience: A classic cruise atmosphere featuring a modern fit-out, and entertainment options such as shows, bingo, dance classes and shuffleboard.
  • For kids: On peak holiday cruises Fred. Olsen offers a kids' club with daytime and evening activities for kids under 12.

Check the price of Fred. Olsen's European cruises


NorwegianCruiseLine.BestEuropeCruiseLines

6. Norwegian Cruise Line

Offering over 190 sailings to 65 European ports of call, it’s little wonder this luxury liner has been voted Europe’s Leading Cruise Liner at the World Travel Awards eight years in a row.

  • European departure points: Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Rome, Southampton, Rotterdam, Marseilles and Venice.
  • Onboard experience: Norwegian offers freestyle cruising options which allow you to eat, play and sleep whenever it suits you. Its American-based fleet comprises modern ships with international cuisine and popular American-style entertainment.
  • For kids: Norwegian provides some of the best entertainment options for young and old. This includes musicals, circus and magician shows and rock climbing walls for kids, in addition to the onboard kids' clubs. Connecting and family staterooms are available.

Check the price of Norwegian's European cruises


RoyalCaribbeanInternational.BestEuropeCruiseLines

7. Royal Caribbean Cruises

Sailing much more than just the Caribbean, this Top Cruise Line for Families winner has eight dedicated cruise ships that sail through Europe following both classic and more adventurous routes.

  • European departure points: Dubai, Rome, Venice, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Southampton, Stockholm, Barcelona and Malaga.
  • Onboard experience: This American-based liner prides itself in providing a fun and innovative onboard experience the whole family can enjoy. It offers an international atmosphere with a variety of cultural cuisine options.
  • For kids: Generous family cabins are available on most Royal Caribbean cruises as well as a variety of on-board activities including roller skating, bumper cars, mini-golf and DreamWorks shows and parades.

Check the price of Royal Caribbean's European cruises


DisneyCruiseLine.BestEuropeCruiseLines

8. Disney Cruise Line

For an extra injection of magic that will put a smile on their faces, sail into the enchanting world of fjords and castles onboard a family-friendly Disney cruise ship.

  • European departure points: Barcelona, Copenhagen and Dover. As Disney Cruise Line is a US-based line, cruises also depart from various North American ports including Miami and New York.
  • Onboard experience: Signature Disney stylings run throughout the ships, making them feel like gigantic playgrounds for kids young and old. Some rooms are themed, and restaurants drip with Disney flair.
  • For kids: Each Disney cruise ship comes equipped with family staterooms, Walt Disney theatre, music and dance deck parties and family-friendly port activities and kids' pools.

Check the price of Disney's European cruises


Where to Europe cruises go?

With dozens of countries to see and endless cities, towns and villages to visit, you can explore Europe for years and barely see it all. European cruises are great for giving a taste of what the continent has to offer. Some of the most common itineraries for European cruises include:

  • Western Mediterranean: Spain, Portugal, France and Italy
  • Eastern Mediterranean: Italy, Greece, Malta
  • Adriatic: Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Albania
  • Aegean: Greece, Turkey, Cyprus
  • Baltics and Northern Europe: Norway's fjords, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Denmark
  • British Isles: England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

When should you cruise in Europe?

Mediterranean cruises run year-round, while cruises in cooler European areas, like the Baltic, only sail during the warmer months.

If you're looking for the best time to go, peak season for Mediterranean cruises would be during the middle of European summer in July and August. This is also generally the most expensive time to go. If you're looking for a mix of favourable weather and prices, look into a cruise in the shoulder seasons - May and June or September and October - you should still find warm days where temperatures hit the low to mid 20s, especially for cruises going to Italy and Greece.


Importance of cruise travel insurance

Family holidays don't come cheap - especially when you're flying your brood all the way over to Europe for the cruise of a lifetime. And if something doesn't go as you planned - be it a missed port due to bad weather, a bag getting lost on the way to your cabin or someone in your family gets sick and is confined to the cabin - you'll want to make sure you're covered for it.

All those scenarios can be covered by the right cruise travel insurance policy.


Best Europe cruise deals

Cudo Cudo

Up to 62% off Vivid Sydney cruises

Valid from 24 May - 15 June 2019. Inclusion depends on the selected cruise. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

$1 deposit and up to $900 OBC with P&O

Valid for cruises until 23 December 2019. Destinations include Sydney, Brisbane, Noumea, Port Douglas, Sunshine Coast and more. T&Cs apply.

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Uniworld Uniworld

Free economy airfare with 2020 Europe cruises

Valid for travel between 1 March - 15 November 2020 across Europe. Other destinations include France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Russia and more. T&Cs apply.

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U River Cruises U River Cruises

Europe river cruises from $1,999

Cruise through Germany, Netherlands, Hungary and see Europe's Christmas markets on select dates until December 2019.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 30% off Azamara cruises

Valid for travel between 5 November 2019 - 14 November 2020. Destinations include New Zealand, Australia, Western Europe, Southern Europe,South America and more. T&Cs apply.

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Cudo Cudo

15-day Sydney, Singapore and Bali cruises from $945

Valid for travel between 28 January - 11 February 2020 with P&O's Pacific Explorer. Other destinations include Cairns, Gladstone, Great Barrier Reef and more. Includes daily meals, entertainment, waterslides and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 47% off sailings with Celebrity Cruises

Valid on select 2019 and 2020 dates for sailings of 4 nights or more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Royal Caribbean cruises from $969

Valid for travel on departure dates in 2019 - 2020. Destinations include Noumea, Isle of Pines, Bay of Islands, Airlee Beach, Australia, New Zealand and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Celebrity cruises from $1,505

Valid for travel on departure dates in 2019 - 2020. Destinations include Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, Bay of Islands, Sydney, Newcastle, Wellington, Melbourne and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

$49 deposits + free cabin upgrades with Carnival cruises

Valid for travel on departure dates in 2020. Destinations include Sydney, Melbourne, Mystery Island, Brisbane and more. T&Cs apply.

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Nexus Holidays Nexus Holidays

$1,450 off 19-day Indochina tours with cruises

Valid for travel on select dates in October 2019. Destinations include Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and more. Includes return flights from Sydney or Melbourne, 1-night board on Halong Bay cruise and more. T&Cs apply.

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Nexus Holidays Nexus Holidays

$800 off 12-day Vietnam tours with cruises

Valid for travel on select dates from August 2019 - November 2020. Includes return flights from Sydney or Melbourne, airport and hotel transfers, daily meals, board to Halong Bay cruise and more. T&Cs apply.

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Uniworld Uniworld

Up to $900 off 2020 river cruises

Valid for travel on select 2020 river cruises. Destinations include Europe, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Russia, Asia, Egypt, India and more. Discount applies to River Heritage club members. T&Cs apply.

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Uniworld Uniworld

Early bird sale: Up to 10% off 2020 cruises

Valid for travel on 2020 departures. Destinations include Europe, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Russia, Asia, Egypt, India and more. T&Cs apply.

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MyCruises MyCruises

Get up to $4,000 free in extras with cruise packages

Valid on select 2019 - 2020 cruises. Destinations include Bali, Shanghai, Hawaii, Sydney, Barcelona, Dubai, Tokyo, Italy, Greek Isles and more. T&Cs apply.

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AnyBoat AnyBoat

Christmas cruises from $110

Valid for travel on select dates including Christmas season. Destinations include Sydney, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Whitsundays, Melbourne, Port Stephens and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 48% off Seabourn cruises

Valid for travel on select 2019 - 2020 dates. Destinations include Copenhagen, Iceland, Alaska, Canada and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 30% off Azamara cruises

Valid for travel from 5 November 2019 - 14 November 2020. Destinations include Bora Bora, Auckland, Wellington, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Sydney and more. T&Cs apply

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Travel Talk Travel Talk

Up to 50% off Croatia sailing tours

Valid for travel on select 2019 dates. T&Cs apply.

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G Adventures G Adventures

Up to 35% off Burgundy and Mekong riverboat adventures

Valid for travel until 1 August 2019. T&Cs apply.

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Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

Free flights, upgrades and 2-for-1 deposits on Viking Cruises

Book a Viking ocean or river cruise in destinations like Italy, France, Norway, the UK, Germany, the USA, Japan and more between August 2019 and March 2021.

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Cudo Cudo

4-day Sydney cruises from $274

Valid for departure on 22 November 2019 with P&O cruises. Destination includes aboard to the grand Pacific Explorer departing from Sydney. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 50% off Middle East cruises

Valid for sailings on select dates in 2019 - 2020 including Christmas season. Destinations include Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Doha, Manama, Eilat. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 35% off USA cruises

Valid for sailings on select dates in 2019 - 2020 including Christmas season. Destinations include Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, San Diego, Vancouver, Seattle and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 50% off New Zealand cruises

Valid for sailings on select dates in 2019 - 2020 including Christmas season. Destinations include Auckland, Napier, Wellington, Tauranga, Bay of Islands, Akaroa. T&Cs apply.

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RedBalloon RedBalloon

Tasmanian cruises from $245

Valid for travel on select dates. Includes a Tasman Peninsula day trip from Hobart, 3-hour Wilderness Cruise, entry to the Tasmanian Devil Park and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Fly and cruise packages from $1,700

Valid for cruise on November 2019 with Royal Caribbean. Fly to Singapore and cruise to Darwin, Airlie Beach, Brisbane and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to $600 OBC with Holland America Line

Valid for cruise on select 2019 - 2020 dates. Destinations include Sydney, Christchurch, Auckland, Wellington, Hobart, Melbourne and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 25% off sailings + free drinks with Oceania Cruises

Valid for travel on select 2019 - 2020 dates. Destinations include South Pacific, Western Europe, Mediterranean Sea, Asia, Australia and more. T&Cs apply.

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MyCruises MyCruises

Pay only $200 deposit for cruises

Valid on select 2019 - 2020 cruises. Destinations include Hawaii, Sydney, Barcelona, Dubai, Tokyo, Italy, Greek Isles and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Free cabin upgrade with Carnival Cruises

Valid on select 2020 dates. Destinations include Melbourne, Noumea, Sydney, Brisbane and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Christmas season: 7% off 10-day Sydney cruises

Valid for travel on 20 December 2019 for Christmas season across Sydney with Royal Caribbean. Destinations include New Caledonia, Mystery Island, Lifou, Maré and more. Additional bookable flights included. T&Cs apply.

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Contiki Contiki

Up to $390 off 8-day Croatia sailing tours

Valid for travel on departure dates in July - August 2019. Inclusive of hotel accommodation, daily meals, private transport and more. T&Cs apply.

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AnyBoat AnyBoat

Sydney Harbour cruises from $110

Valid for travel on select dates in 2019 with Christmas cruises on Super Cat. Inclusive of dance floors, dining and more. T&Cs apply.

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Uniworld Uniworld

Early bird sale: Up to 10% off worldwide cruises

Valid for travel on departures dates in 2020. Destinations include Europe, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Russia, Asia, Egypt and India. T&Cs apply.

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Let's Ferry Let's Ferry

Up to 20% off Greek ferry tickets

Valid until 31 October 2019. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Christmas sale: 38% off Australia and New Zealand cruises

Valid for travel until December 2020 across Australia and New Zealand. Destinations include Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Auckland and more. T&Cs apply.

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Let's Ferry Let's Ferry

Blue Star Ferries from just 20€

Valid on select dates for travel until 31 October 2019. Destinations include Cyclades routes, Dodecanese routes and Northern Aegean Routes. T&C's apply.

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P&O Cruises P&O Cruises

Up to $200 on board credit on last-minute cruises

Valid from October - December 2018. Destinations include Moreton Island, Noumea, Hamilton Island, Vanuatu, Brisbane, Sydney and more. Cruises start from $315 per person for 3-night comedy cruises. T&Cs apply.

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Deals.com.au Deals.com.au

Up to 85% off experiences, holiday & shopping

Take up to 85% off experience, holiday & shopping deals at Deals.com.au. T&Cs apply.

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Popular Cruises coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
7 May 2019 Up to 62% off Vivid Sydney cruises ********
14 Jun 2019 $1 deposit and up to $900 OBC with P&O ********
13 Jun 2019 Free economy airfare with 2020 Europe cruises ********
2 May 2019 Europe river cruises from $1,999 ********
17 Jun 2019 Up to 30% off Azamara cruises ********
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