Eileen’s guide to family cruising – 2011

Kids are everywhere—on cruise ships anyway—whether you are in the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska or far flung destinations

The Wind Surf from Windstar Cruise Lines during our cruise from Venice to Rome last summer

like the Galapagos Islands and even the Arctic.

Cruise Lines International Association reports that some 1.5 million kids now are cruising every year—more than 1,000 on some sailings. And cruise lines have never done more for them, from featuring hip teen and tween hang-outs with the latest music and video games, to centers for the littlest cruisers (that are better equipped than many preschools) and even nurseries at sea.

Parents love cruising because they get a lot of bang for their vacation buck—activities, meals and lodging all for one price, including supervised morning-till-night programming for kids, at considerably less than many resorts charge. Grandparents are fans because cruises can prove an easy way to get the whole gang on vacation, especially in Alaska and Europe. Kids—especially tweens and teens— give ships a thumbs-up because they love the freedom they can have onboard and the chance to make new friends. Kids and parents alike love the major lines’ private Caribbean islands, too.

Kids with special needs and severe allergies routinely are accommodated in organized programming.

Another plus: there have never been more ports, from New York to California, eliminating the need for many families to fly. And you can cruise for just a few days or more than a week, checking out beaches or historic sites. Visit the Cruise Lines International Association website for a list of ports. Find online cruise guides complete with deals and specials.

And if you don’t want to go on a large ship charter your own boat with a crew or without as we have done several times in Tahiti or the Caribbean.

I’ve cruised with my family around the world, from the Caribbean to Europe to Greece to Alaska. I’ve written The Kid’s Guide: Cruising Alaska. I’ve found along the way that key is to choose the right cruise for your family and age kids. Here are some great options to consider:

  1. AdventureSmith Explorations partners with small capacity, specialty-oriented ships around the world including domestic North American regions as Alaska, British Columbia and Oregon & Washington’s Columbia River and far flung locales as Alaska, Baja, Costa Rica, Belize, Ecuador and the Galapagos, Peru, the Arctic, Antarctica and Australia. They can steer you to special family sailings and deals, like the second guest sailing at half off in the Galapagos. Company founder Todd Smith helped pioneer the concept of wilderness cruising that combines the comforts of a small cruise ship with the adventure of sea kayaking, hiking and exploring remote wilderness areas ashore seldom associated with more mainstream cruise itineraries, The company also has launched a carbon free cruising initiative and include family programs as well as substantial savings. Look for deals like free airfare for Galapagos cruises aboard the Beluga yacht and kids under 12 cruising at half price.
  2. CARNIVAL carries 670,000 children a year, the most in the industry and six times the number of kids they carried just a dozen years ago.
    What’s new: The Carnival Magic including a first-ever ropes course, WaterWorks aqua park with a gargantuan water dump bucket, a two-level mini-golf course, singing waiters in the Italian restaurant and staterooms with two bathrooms and five berths, and more than 19,000 square feet of space catering to kids and families. After the summer in Europe, Carnival Magic will launch seven-day Caribbean service from Galveston, Texas, Nov. 14, 2011, becoming the port’s largest year-round cruise
    Kids Program Camp Carnival starts at age two and features indoor play areas – some as large as 5,500 square feet — stocked with games and toys — “activity walls,” indoor climbing mazes computer labs, are on many vessels, while on-board programming emphasizing reading, art, music, geography, and physical fitness. Kids can eat with their counselors so parents can enjoy an adult meal, though the counselors won’t get the kids in the dining room as some other cruise line staff will.
    For TweensCircle “C” 12- to 14-year olds have a place of their own to dance, watch movies and music videos, play video games and get together with new friends for organized activities from basketball to late-night pool parties.
    For Teens —The teen clubs (O2) include a dance floor with a DJ, a “Coke-tail” lounge serving non-alcoholic specialty drinks, a library with teen-oriented books and magazines, a 16-monitor “video wall,” music listening stations and more. There are some special teen-only shore excursions.
    Around the Ship outdoor games and activities, along with children’s wading pools, and main Lido deck pools offering the line’s signature “Twister” water slides, some as long as 300 feet. Outdoor play areas with mini basketball hoops, jungle gyms and other playground equipment, as well as game rooms offering the latest video and arcade games, are available fleet wide. Room Sitting is not available but Camp Carnival offers late-night babysitting services at $6 per hour for the first child and $4 per hour for each additional child. On shore days, Camp Carnival is in session.
  3. CELEBRITY CRUISES are known for their sophisticated cuisine, upscale ambiance, destination-focused itineraries and themed cruises focusing on art, food and wine. Still, families cruise Celebrity and the line offers children’s programming, just not on every sailing.
    What’s New: The Industry’s first premium kosher meals, the largest-ever Europe line up this summer and new Asia itineraries. Celebrity Eclipse made headlines with the introduction of the first Celebrity iLounge, the Apple-based internet café available to guests complete with MacBook workstations, a retail space featuring Apple products and courses on their use.
    For Kids: Programs start at age three and run up to age 17. Thanks to a partnership with LeapFrog Schoolhouse there is special LeapFrog Edutainment, designed exclusively for Celebrity Cruises that allow kids to virtually “explore” the ports they’re visiting. The newest Solstice Class ships also tout a Leapfrog “Fun Factory” area while some ships have a working studio where kids can produce their own newscast. There are late-evening activities at $6 an hour per child. And kids can eat with counselors at least once during a cruise.
    For Teens: their own X-Club with teen-oriented entertainment, a dance club, and a Coffee Bar, though not fleet wide.
    Around the Ship: Kid’s pools, slides and basketball, but not on every ship. In-room sitting is $8 per hour for up to two children. On Shore Days: Some programming is available for an extra fee.
  4. Costa Cruises is Europe’s top cruise line and will give your family a chance to get to know European families and offers a youth program fleet wide. There are reduced rates for kids under 17 sharing a cabin with parents and periodic kids-sail-free deals.
    What’s New: Between 2009 and 2012 Costa will have launched five new ships with activities, including Grand Prix race car driving simulators, and music studios. When Costa Favolosa sets sail this July, the ship will feature a new youth swimming pool area and water park. The newest ships will have an enclosable pool deck — great for the occasional rainy day.
    For Kids: Youth programs begin at age three and youth counselors will take kids to dinner. They might interview with the captain, stage junior Olympics, take dancing lessons, have parades and more.
    For Teens: A dedicated teen room, but not fleet-wide, Capoeira, Hip-hop dance Latin and group dances, magic and micro magic, juggling, pantomime, clownery Video recording and editing.
    Around the Ship: Kids pools, water slides, basketball and arcade, but not fleet wide Volleyball, basketball, football, tennis, table tennis, rotating table tennis, table football, water polo, water basketball, water volleyball, darts, hoops, bowling, shuffleboard, video games on giant screen. In-room sitting is not available but there is free late night group sitting. On shore days programming is complimentary.
  5. CRYSTAL, which will go all-inclusive next year, reports that growing numbers of families and multigenerational groups are opting for the line’s six-star service and designated spaces for kids and teens—rare at this level. The ships carry less than 1000 passengers with all of the amenities you’d expect on a cruise line touting luxury, service, space and enrichment programs. Cruise Thanksgiving on the Pacific Coast cruise and kids cruise free when they are the third in a cabin. Generally, kids in a “third berth” (three is the most allowed) who are 11 and under are charged 50% of the minimum cruise-only fare.
    What’s New: An extended Junior Activities program, this summer and an alliance with the National Park Service for a “Junior Rangers” program in Alaska through which kids can become park Junior Rangers, earning official badges and certificates as part of its new “You Care, We Care” program, there are complimentary voluntourism excursions focusing on both conservation and helping disadvantaged children.
    For Kids: Programs begin at age 3 with arts and crafts, video games, scavenger hunts, sushi-making and more. There are kid-friendly movies, books, even piano and French lessons, Galley Tour and Cookie Decorating.
    For Teens: Waves is a separate teen club with video arcade with Xbox 360?s, Wii’s, and Playstations. Golf lessons, special sessions with on-board experts, late night pool parties, movies and more.
    Around the ship: Keyboard lessons, language immersion, wellness seminars, stone sculpting, wine appreciation, sushi-making, and art workshops are among dozens of classes offered through Crystal Cruises’ Creative Learning Institute (CLI). The Library offers more than 3,000 titles, including a selection of children’s books and children’s DVD’s for use in the cabins. In-Room Sitting is available $10 per hour for 1 child, $15 per hour for 2 children, $20 per hour for 3 children. On shore days some organized activities may be offered.
  6. Cunard Cruise Line continues the tradition of luxury cruising that began in 1840 complete with fencing, croquet, and the only ship offering regularly scheduled Transatlantic service between New York and Southampton, England.
    What’s New: The Queen Elizabeth sailing her first full season.
    For Babies: children can be cared for from age one with professionally trained nannies on board.
    For Kids: youth program year round on the Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2. The program was developed in conjunction with King’s Sport Camp, a UK-based company.
    Teens Have their own space but not fleet-wide
    Around the ship: playground equipment, kids’ pool, kids’ disco. In-room sitting isn’t available nor is there late night babysitting. On shore days, programs operate.
  7. DISNEY CRUISE LINE has raised the bar for creative kids’ programming and shore excursions, and a ship design that enables every member of the family—from infants (there is a stand-out nursery to seniors) to have a real vacation—complete with fireworks at sea. Dine and Play” means kids are served dinner in an expedited fashion with youth activities arriving 45 minutes into dinner to escort them to organized activities so parents can linger. Special shore excursions are designed so parents get a break part of the time. What’s New: The Dream, with an “AquaDuck” high-speed flume ride spanning four decks in height to the inside staterooms’ virtual portholes though which Mickey Mouse and pals may pop by. A signature Disney Cruise Line restaurant brings the magic of Disney animation into the dining room for an amazing experience that will captivate the entire family. During the meal, the room becomes immersed in a vivid undersea environment and Crush, the surfer-dude sea turtle from Disney Pixar’s “Finding Nemo,” makes a special appearance, swimming around the restaurant and engaging in live impromptu interactions with guests. The Disney Dream has a concierge level. Families are welcome to enjoy the exclusive concierge lounge and the private concierge deck. For the first time this summer, Disney will cruise Alaska and has announced new ports including New York, Seattle and Galveston.
    For Babies: On the Magic and Wonder, Disney offers nursery care at Flounder’s Reef Nursery ($6 per hour per child, $5 per hour for additional sibling) starting at three months from 9 am to 11 pm (port and sea days). On the Dream there is the expanded It’s a Small World Nursery. All baby products needed can be pre-arranged and delivered directly to your cabin. The littlest cruisers will love Mickey’s Splash Zone, for children not yet toilet trained and in swim diapers.
    For Kids: Starting at age three there are activities in the Oceaneer Club complete with pirate ship, costumes, character activities and more. In the science-themed Oceaneer Lab, kids can make Flubber, play video games, have PJ parties, or play music. There are sessions on how to be a princess or pirate, cook, learn how they can help endangered animals and follow the ship’s progress on video screens. There are character activities daily and counselors will take children to meals. There is no charge either for port programs or late night babysitting.
    For Tweens: The 11-13-year-olds have their own EDGE club with couches, computer games, plasma-screen TVs, dance parties, sports contents and more.
    For Teens: Teens 14-17 have their own VIBE club and on the Disney Dream, their own sundeck. Open all day (and half of the night), the areas are the perfect chill-out spots with comfy couches, plasma-screen TVs, the Teen Only Resource & Communication Hub (T.O.R.C.H), where teens can check out videos and photos posted throughout the cruise and leave messages on the main message board for other teens. There are special Teen shore excursions like the Teen Exclusive Helicopter Glacier Trek in Juneau (Alaska cruises) and Teen Surfin Safari in Cabo San Lucas (Mexican Riviera cruises).
    Around the Ship: Everything from character meals and meet-and-greets, to first-run movies to Broadway caliber entertainment to adult-only restaurants and deck areas. Families love Disney’s private island Castaway Cay with its 12-acre snorkeling lagoon, fishing and kayaking, the chance to swim with the stingrays, play in the water park, or head to separate adult and teen beaches. In room sitting—not available but there is no charge for late night programming for kids three and older. On shore days, Youth Activities spaces remain open during port days at no charge.
  8. Holland America, once was considered a haven for seniors cruising Alaska, now carries more than 25,000 kids and their families aboard its 14 ships every year—including so many multi generational groups that they have designed a special Family Reunion Program with reduced group rates (if you book eight cabins), free Fountain Soda Cards for everyone, a family photo per cabin and more. The junior foodies in your gang will love the kids and teen Culinary Arts Center with cooking lessons. All the kids will like the Cartoon Network offerings that air on the in-cabin television. What’s New: More cruises from New York to Bermuda this summer, with multi-day stays in each port. The ms Niewu Amsterdam, dedicated last summer, will cruise the Med.
    For Babies: You can arrange baby food, diapers and refrigerators for a nominal fee and. Toddler Times for kids under the age of three to play in the children’s facilities with their parents.
    For Kids: The Club HAL program has been expanded to include ages three to 12—the youngest in areas where paintbrushes serve as pillars, enormous pencils adorn the wall, a paint bucket is a play area, and a huge tape dispenser serves as a slide. Counselors will take kids to meals on request.
    For Tweens: kids, ages 8 to 12, have an area featuring arcade games, air hockey, foosball, Karaoke, family-safe Internet access (minimal charge similar to Explorations Cafe) and Sony Playstations. They may participate in the national Park Service Junior Ranger program in Alaska. There are special kids and teens culinary workshops.
    For Teens: A separate teen program with The Loft, a teen lounge, and Oasis, a teen-only sundeck with an array of organized teen activities.
    AROUND THE SHIP: Kids’ pool, basketball, volleyball and tennis. Families love the private island Half Moon Cay. In room babysitting is available for children three and older, $8 per hour for the first child and $5 per hour for each other child) and there’s a late-night program at Club Hall ($5 per hour per child). On shore days, youth programs are offered.
  9. MSC Cruises offer innovative itineraries and Kids 17 and under Sail Free on MSC Cruises (always off the early booking rates) when traveling as the third and/or four guests in a stateroom with two adults and get discounts on shore excursions as well. There is a special concierge MSC Yacht Club level. What’s New: All of the fleet’s 11 ships will be in the Mediterranean region at some time in 2011, with two of its newest vessels MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida, sailing year round. Guests can select from a variety of Mediterranean itineraries, with cruises of varying lengths (from weekend cruises to 11-night itineraries.
    For Kids: Organized activities start at age three until age 17. Club leaders will take youngsters to eat.
    For Teens: The Fantasia-class ships feature a teen disco with dancing and karaoke, a 4-D interactive cinema, and Italian lesson.
    Around the Ship: miniature golf, tennis and basketball. Several of the newest ships, including MSC Musica, MSC Orchestra, MSC Poesia, MSC Magnifica, MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida offer designated children’s pools and outdoor play areas as well—even on MSC Poesia, a Stone Age dinosaur play area. On the Fantasia-class ships you’ll find an exciting interactive 4D-cinema, as well as a Formula 1 racing simulator on MSC Fantasia and two mini bowling alleys on MSC Splendida. In room babysitting is not available. On shore days, organized activities continue and operate during port days as well.
  10. NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE enables you to cruise with your kids from New York, Boston, Tampa, New Orleans or Venice Each ship has its own children’s themed wet and wild fun areas. The line is famous for “free style” cruising which means you eat when and where you want—just be sure to make reservations for the specialty restaurants (20 on the megaship Epic) and be prepared to pay extra to sample them.
    What’s New: Norwegian has teamed up with Nickelodeon to provide special family cruise vacations. Their private island Great Stirrup Cay is being enhanced with a new kid’s play area, beach volley ball court, floating Aqua Park, a stingray encounter and more. For the kids: Junior sailors program starts at age 2 Epic.
    For Kids: activities start at age 2 that might range from pizza making to treasure hunts to teen parties, Each cruise features live Nickelodeon-themed interactive shows, including SlimeTime LIVE!; breakfast with Nickelodeon characters; Nick Live Poolside entertainment; Nick-themed dance parties and more. Nickelodeon-themed elements will also be incorporated into Norwegian’s Kids’ Crew program. They can’t eat meals with their counselors, however.
    For Tweens: Programs for 10-12 year olds Aboard Epic, The Tween Zone has a futuristic feel that includes multiple Wii and PlayStation 3 areas, along with a private karaoke performance stage which doubles as a cinema.
    For Teens: Entourage is Norwegian Epic’s high energy, exclusive teen zone for ages 13 through 17, located at the top of the ship on Deck 16. This funky space includes air hockey, pinball, foosball, a video jukebox, and large flat screen televisions, a few of which are located around a central video game console featuring PlayStation® 3. In the evening, Entourage transitions into a hip nightclub with a space for dancing or just hanging out on comfy couches. Directly below is the video arcade.
    Around the ship: some of the ships offer jungle gyms with ball pits and tunnels for Epic has its own water park complete with a splash and play zone for little cruisers and Nickelodeon–themed family entertainment that includes character meet and greets and interactive game shows (ready to get Slimed?) and family entertainment including the Blue Man Group and. the only big top at sea with Cirque Dreams. There’s a rock climbing wall, bowling and ice skating. On the Jewel-class ships, there is a ship-within-a ship courtyard area which comes with concierge and butler service. In room babysitting is not available; there is organized late night programming for 2 to 12 year olds ($6 per hour). On shore days, Kids Crew isn’t running but there is “Port Play” ($6 per hour).
  11. Paul Gauguin Cruises, the operator of the longest continually-sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific. No other ship has offered such single-destination focus year-round. What’s New: Free roundtrip airfare from LA.
    For Kids: Ambassadors of the Environment Youth Program, created by explorer and environmentalist Jean Michel Cousteau and his Oceans Future Society. The program is designed to introduce young cruisers 9-17 to the natural wonders of French Polynesia with hands on experiences like exploring coral reefs, hiking, rainforest trails and visiting marae (ancient Polynesian temples). They’ll learn how black pearls and vanilla are cultivated, how volcanic islands become coral atolls, and how to paddle an outrigger canoe. Parents are encouraged to join children on eco-excursions and other activities aboard and ashore. This program is available on all cruises from June through August and on select holiday cruises for an extra fee.
  12. PRINCESS There is music and even yoga for kids and teens along with the regular activities. Families love the private island and family-friendly shore excursions. Be forewarned that on the line’s smaller vessels (Pacific Princess, Ocean Princess ) don’t have dedicated youth spaces but children’s programs operate when 20 or more children ages 3 to 17 are on board. What’s New: Many ships have been updated. There are seven-day California Coastal itineraries and special cruise tour opportunities in Alaska designed for families complete with dog mushing at the Iditarod Headquarters, gold panning and campfires in Denali National Park. There are new Kindermusik at Sea classes designed especially for kids from 18 months to four. A leading music and movement program for young children, Kindermusik features research-based class activities that get kids to enjoy music and learning, taught by Kindermusik-trained youth counselors.
    For Babies: There is a special outdoor deck exclusively for toddlers and their parents.
    For Kids: Princess Youth Programs start at age three; younger children are welcome to use the youth center facilities as long as they are accompanied by an adult. There are three, age-specific programs, starting with Princess Pelicans for ages 3-7. There are some special group dinners and activities such as pizza and ice cream parties offered, but generally the kids centers are closed during meal hours when at sea.
    For Tweens: (ages 8-12) Shockwaves includes talent shows, backstage tours, PJ parties and a Jr.CHEF@Sea program. There is “Science on the Seas,” an award-winning program developed in conjunction with the California Science Center, along with the regular programming
    For teens: Remix (ages 13-17). Offers teen-only deck parties, hip-hop dance classes with the ship’s professional dancers, DJ workshops, hot tub parties and more. Princess also offers the cruise industry’s only Teen Makeover program, where young participants can learn make-up and skin care techniques. On the Grand and Golden Princess, teens have a separate hot tub and deck area.
    Around the Ship: kids pools, Princess’ private island Princess Cay, arcades, basketball court and moor. Families love the giant outdoor movie screens. In room babysitting is not available but there is late night group setting at $5 per child. On shore days, youth programs are offered.
  13. Regent Seven Seas Upscale families love that the cabins are all suites, the cruise all-inclusive and there is special pricing for kids. Because the ships are smaller—700 guests as opposed to triple or quadruple that number– there may just be 50 youngsters on board instead of 20 times that number.
    What’s New: all amenities, soft drinks, wine, liquor, tips, etc and shore excursions are part of the deal which includes 2-1 pricing on many ships, free air from 20 cities, complimentary pre-cruise hotels and transfers.
    For Kids: Programming starts at age 5 but the Club Mariner youth program is only available on select voyages. There are no separate facilities for teens and tweens, though separate activities are offered. A couple of nights a week, kids may eat together with counselors while pizza is offered during kid-friendly movies
    In-Room sitting is officially not available but staff members sometimes will babysit upon request. On shore days, kids activities are available
  14. ROYAL CARIBBEAN Think family vacation – on steroids. Think every kind of food t and entertainment you could want aboard the world’s biggest—at least for the moment—ships Oasis and Allure of the Seas. There is even a youth spa. No worries about keeping track of the tweens and teens either as they roam the ship thanks to a sleek new Royal Connect device that looks like a sleek phone that you can rent for roughly $18 a week which allows the kids to call you from a house phone anywhere on the ship (or their own device).
    What’s new: Europe 2011 marks Royal Caribbean International’s biggest ever European deployment with 10 ships slated to sail Baltic and Mediterranean waters and offering 109 unique itineraries
    For Babies: Aboard select ships, the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery for toddlers 6-36 months old offer parents a childcare drop-off options in the daytime and evening.. Free-time play also will be offered daily, with a variety of Fisher Price developmental toys in specially-designed programs offered exclusively which parents can also borrow for their cabins. The Crayola Beginnings line of toddler art tools will be featured in unique developmentally-appropriate art activities designed for parents and children to enjoy together. The Babies 2 Go program, where parents can order organic baby food and diapers, wipes and creams by Huggies – the world’s leading diaper brand – for delivery to their staterooms upon their arrival. These baby essentials can be ordered online through Royal Caribbean’s Gifts & Gear section at www.RoyalCaribbean.com .
    For Kids: Organized programs start at age three. Families enrolled in our My Family Time Dinning program are assigned an early seating time and children are picked up early by their counselors. There’s Adventure Science (complete with Environmentation Stations) Adventure Art, Adventure Theater and more. You can track the under-12 set thanks to a special chip in their Adventure Ocean bracelet from the kids’ club and the teens by the location of the phone. You can also text back and forth.
    For Teens: (12 – 14 years) and older (15-17 have their own separate activities)—everything for DJ Training to Karaoke to Dance parties.
    Around the Ship: entertainment (“Hairspray” to synchronized divers performing in an outdoor AquaTheater and children’s puppet shows) and activity (mini-golf and water playground, teen disco and giant arcade, carousel and junior spa). There’s a rock wall, and on the newest ships–Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas (the largest ships afloat)–a huge water playground complete with a diaper-friendly pool. On some ships, you’ll find in-line skating track, mini-golf, basketball and more. Every ship has a rock wall. Adventure Family is a free, onboard program that allows children and their parents to participate in planned activities within a structured environment to spend quality time together. Activities depend on the length of the cruise and can range from family discos to talent shows and scavenger hunts. In room sitters are available ($12 an hour for two kids) come equipped with the latest Fisher-Price and Mattel toys; There is also late-night group babysitting ($5 per hour per child). On shore days, children’s activities are ongoing.
  15. SeaDream Yacht Club is generally a product geared towards couples, they welcome children and young people sailing with their families. With a maximum of 112 guests and a crew of 95, each guest feels truly pampered and that includes the children. What’s New: SeaDream is marketing one special voyage in 2011 to families traveling with children. The SeaDream II’s, Voyage #21131 sailing from Rome to Nice, August 6-13, 2011 will feature specially selected movies, water sports, mountain bikes for shoreside explorations, crew-led shoreside events, Wii, swimming, special meal selections, karaoke and golf classes in the Golf Simulator.
  16. UNIWORLD RIVER CRUISES (with just 134 people aboard is a different kind of experience for families seeking five-star luxury and the chance to explore new places without the hassle of moving from place to place Tour old-world German villages practicing the German you’ve learned on board. Visit a Chocolate Factory or Europe’s biggest theme park; take a special children’s walking tour. Relive The Hunchback of Notre Dame as you climb the bell tower made famous by Quasimodo. See the site where Joan of Arc was martyred while in Rouen, and join a scavenger hunt looking for the special chocolate candies called, Joan of Arc tears. Onboard, spend time with the Captain in the wheelhouse learning about river cruising. Kids between 4-18 can save as much as 50 per cent.
    What’s New: Multigenerational Family friendly program with special summer dates visiting Paris & Normandy, Prague and the Rhine Normandy include special programs for children and family shore excursions.
    For Kids: While there are no separate facilities, children’s programs start at age four. One cabin is converted to an entertainment center where kids can play Wii or PlayStation.
  17. WINDSTAR CRUISES operates three sailing yachts known for their ability to visit harbors and ports larger ships can’t get to. The ships carry just 148 to 312 guests and call on 100 ports throughout Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas with complimentary water sports platform available when the ship is in anchor, subject to weather of course—water skiing, kayaking, sailing, windsurfing and complimentary scuba. The ambiance is relaxed (no jackets or ties needed) but upscale. While these ships aren’t meant for kids, they’re ideal for parents who want a getaway without the kids or a special trip with grown kids.
    What’s New: new Baltic, European, Costa Rica and more voyages and deep discounts on Greece sailings, including two free nights in Athens

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