Specifically, the cruise ship experience for the family is all things. A typical cruise is 7 days. Some of that time is on shore excursions where the families are usually together. On days at sea, the together time is at meals and evening entertainment. During the day, people tend to split up and have private time for personal interests. The cruise experience offers something for everyone. For example the last cruise, my wife found a group of women who got together to knit. So she met with them on days at sea. Obviously, that is something I and most kids would not enjoy. But, the professional photographers on board offered seminars that I attended at the same time. This last cruise had a representative from GoPro and I enjoyed attending those to get some hands on the new GoPro Hero 5 and 6 features. They also offered an advanced still photography seminar that I attended. There were also a group of veterans and active military who got together. Years ago, several of us satelliteguys joined with AVS forum and put together cruises with presentations from industry leaders in that industry. Then there are the educational enrichment seminars pertaining to the places we will be seeing. I think cruise ships can offer this unique selection of choices, something for everyone, while going to a theme park and a hotel room 10 miles away, doesn't. It's why it has become the most popular way to vacation for all ages.What you describe sounds more like summer camp where your parents/offspring are less than a few hundred yards away.
The point is when a family takes a vacation together for a week, it is a mistake to feel every minute of every day needs to be spent doing the same things. The 21st century improvements using the smart phone app is just a convenient tool for families and friends to coordinate their plans and find each other on the ship.