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

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 European cruises

Costa.BestEuropeCruiseLines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MSC Cruises MSC Cruises

2-for-1 last-minute cruises

Valid for travel until December 2019, including over Christmas. Destinations include Venice, Italy, France, Japan, South Africa and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 42% off P&O cruises + free premium beverage package

Valid for travel on select dates from September 2019 - October 2020. Destinations include Sydney, Brisbane, Noumea, Port Vila and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

50% off deposit + Up to $500 OBC with Holland America cruises

Valid for travel on select dates in 2020-2021. Includes $25 beverage card for kids, complimentary pinnacle grill dinner and more. Destinations include Auckland, Sydney, Christchurch, Tasmania and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Australia: 7-night cruise from $852

Valid for travel on select dates between September 2019 - October 2020 with Pacific Dawn. Includes meals. T&Cs apply.

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Uniworld Uniworld

Vienna: 10% off 8-day cruise

Valid for travel on April - October 2020. Includes 3 meals daily. T&Cs apply.

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Cudo Cudo

Sydney: Christmas lunch or dinner harbour cruise from $69

Valid for travel on select dates in November - December 2019. Upgrade for free-flowing beer, wine, summer cocktail, sparkling wine, soft drinks, tea and coffee, as selected upon purchase. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Perth: 3-day cruise from $355

Valid for travel between 25-27 January 2021. Includes entertainment, daily meals and more. T&Cs apply.

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P&O Cruises P&O Cruises

Get drinks packages with Australia cruises

Valid for travel on select dates. Includes premium beverage package, soft drinks package and more. Departures include Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and more. T&Cs apply.

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P&O Cruises P&O Cruises

6-night Melbourne Cup cruises from $914

Valid for travel on select dates in October 2020 departing from Sydney. Includes premium drinks package, soft drinks package and more. T&Cs apply.

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P&O Cruises P&O Cruises

Moreton Island: 4-night cruise on Pacific Explorer from $565

Valid for travel on 11 November 2019. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to $1,000 air credit with Holland America

Valid on select 2019 and 2020 sailings. Destinations include New Zealand, Australia, Northern Europe, South Pacific and more. T&Cs apply.

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Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

5-night Tasmania cruise from $829

Valid for travel on 18 February 2020 aboard the Carnival Splendor. Includes all main meals and entertainment on board. T&Cs apply.

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Destination International Destination International

15-day Norway cruises + return flights from $4,299

Valid for travel on select dates in June 2020 with MSC Poesia. Sample fare is per person twin share. Includes flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth to Humburg or Germany. Destinations include Molde, Tromso, Longyearbyen, Honningsvag, Stavanger and more. T&Cs apply.

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Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

Up to $800 off stateroom + 50% off deposits with Carnival

Valid for travel on select dates in 2020. Destinations include New Zealand, Tasmania, South Pacific and more. T&Cs apply.

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P&O Cruises P&O Cruises

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

Valid for travel on select dates. 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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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 46% off Celebrity cruises

Valid for travel on select 2020 dates. Destinations include Mediterranean Sea, Southern Europe, Pacific, Hawaii, Canada, USA East Coast and more. T&Cs apply.

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Destination International Destination International

14-day Japan getaway + return flights from $4,499

Valid for travel on select dates between May - October 2020. Destinations include Tokyo, Osaka, Nara, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Kyoto, Takayama, Mt Fuji and more. Includes return flights from Australia, airport and hotel bus transfers, daily meals and more. T&Cs apply.

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Destination International Destination International

12-day Alaska cruises + return flights from $4,999

Valid for travel on select dates between May - September 2020. Includes return flights from Australia to Anchorage and Vancouver, hotel accommodation, daily meals and more. T&Cs apply.

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Destination International Destination International

13-day Russia river cruises + return flights from $3,999

Valid for travel on select dates between May - October 2020. Includes return flights from Australia to St. Petersburg and Moscow, river cruise on MZ Zosima Shashkov or MS Chicherin, daily meals and more. T&Cs apply.

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Destination International Destination International

12-day New Zealand cruises + flights from $1,899

Valid for travel at 9 March 2020 with the 5-star Celebrity Solstice cruise. Destinations includes Auckland and more. Includes hotel accommodation, flights from Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane, daily meals and more. T&Cs apply.

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Destination International Destination International

15-day Italy cruises + return flights from $2,999

Valid for travel at 15 May 2020 with Royal Caribbean cruise. Includes hotel accommodation in Rome, return flights from Australia, daily meals, entertainment and more. T&Cs apply.

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Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

Up to $500 OBC + free drinks package

Valid for cruise on select dates in 2020 - 2021 with Cunard Cruises. Destinations include Japan, Alaska, New Zealand and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Free 2-category cabin upgrade with Azamara Cruises

Valid for travel on select dates in 2020. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Free Europe flights with Viking River Cruises

Valid for 2020-2021 sailings. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 18% off cruises + free flights

Valid for travel from November 2019 - February 2020, including over Christmas with Viking Ocean Cruises. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand and Asia. T&Cs apply.

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Uniworld Uniworld

10% off 10-day Danube & Prague cruises

Valid for travel on select dates. Discount applies for pre-bookings for up to 3 days prior the cruise departure date. T&Cs apply.

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Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

P&O cruises in Australia from $499

Valid for travel on select dates in 2020. Sample fare is for a 3-night Sapphire Coast cruise. Destinations include Moreton Island, Isle of Pines, Noumea, Mare, Vanuatu, Fiji Islands and more. T&Cs apply.

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P&O Cruises P&O Cruises

3-day Sydney cruises from $343

Valid for travel on select dates between 5-8 June 2020 departing from Sydney. Includes entertainment, daily meals and more. T&Cs apply.

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Cudo Cudo

Sydney: Harbour cruise from $29

Valid for travel on select dates. Includes a three-course lunch. T&Cs apply.

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Uniworld Uniworld

Up to 10% off Paris cruises

Valid for travel on select dates between March - October 2020. Destinations include Bordeaux and more. T&Cs apply.

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G Adventures G Adventures

Up to 30% off Mekong riverboat adventures

Valid for travel from 3 October 2019 - 13 January 2020. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to $700 off per cabin with MSC Cruises

Valid for travel on select 2020 and 2021 sailings on 7+ nights. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

20-night USA cruises + flights from $3,799

Valid for travel on select dates in 2020. Destinations include Honolulu, Hawaii and more. Includes flights from Sydney, accommodation, daily meals and more. T&Cs apply.

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MSC Cruises MSC Cruises

Up to 50% off Europe cruises with free drinks and Wi-Fi

Valid for travel on select dates in 2019 - 2020, including over Christmas. Destinations include Barcelona, Civitavecchia, Croatia, Amsterdam, St. Petersburg and more. T&Cs apply.

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MSC Cruises MSC Cruises

Winter sale: 8-day Europe cruises from $399

Valid for travel on select dates in November 2019. Destinations include France, Spain, Italy and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

10-night P&O cruises from $1,329

Valid for travel on select dates in 2021 departing from Sydney. Destinations include Isle of Pines, Mystery Island, Port Vila and more. Includes meals and more. T&Cs apply.

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MSC Cruises MSC Cruises

Up to 20% off MSC shore excursions

Discount applies for pre-bookings for up to 4 days prior the cruise departure date. Includes multilingual guides, expert culinary experiences and more. T&Cs apply.

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Cudo Cudo

4-day Sydney cruises from $274

Valid for departure on 22 November 2019 with P&O cruises. Available on the Pacific Explorer departing from Sydney. T&Cs apply.

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TourAmigo TourAmigo

Up to 40% off Vietnam tours and river cruises

Save on tours and river cruises to Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Mekong River, Ho Chi Minh and more with brands like G Adventures, On The Go, Trafalgar and Contiki.

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Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

11-night Hong Kong cruise from $1,449

Valid for cruise until 2021 with Princess Cruises from Perth. Includes all main meals, entertainment on board, on-board credit and more. T&Cs apply.

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Popular Cruises coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
16 Sep 2019 2-for-1 last-minute cruises ********
28 Aug 2019 Up to 42% off P&O cruises + free premium beverage package ********
21 Aug 2019 50% off deposit + Up to $500 OBC with Holland America cruises ********
19 Sep 2019 Australia: 7-night cruise from $852 ********
19 Sep 2019 Vienna: 10% off 8-day cruise ********
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