Family Cruise Travel Planner, 2019 Edition

2019 Family Cruise Travel Planner

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Chapter XX- Ultra-Luxury Cruises

Except for Crystal ships, which carry about 1,000 passengers, the ships in this category carry about 500, while the yachts serve only about 100 passengers. Some offer luxury with all the attendant bells and whistles (like formal evenings, dramatic penthouses, and over-the-top meals by celebrity chefs), while others maintain an atmosphere of casual elegance. All provide impeccable service. The larger ships offer sophisticated enrichment programs and entertainment, such as language instruction and wine tasting. Here, too, the smaller ships access smaller, out-of-the-way ports worldwide and spend more time docked.

These lines are well suited for:

  • Seasoned travelers.
  • Adults who are destination-oriented and enjoy the finer things in life.
  • Adults looking for a boutique type of experience with excellent service aboard intimate ships.
  • Cruisers seeking a destination immersion with unique shore excursions.
  • Travelers seeking an over-the-top experience with ultra-luxury everything.
  • Cruises seeking an international atmosphere.
  • Travelers seeking a large ship with high-end amenities.
  • Cruisers with a great deal of knowledge about the fine arts and cuisine, and experts in matters of taste.
  • Travelers looking for exceptional service and a level of comfort and style rare in today’s world.

Crystal Cruises

Minimum Age: Six months

Children’s Programs: Extensive

Babysitting: Yes


See the Top 10 chapter for complete information! Click here for full line info.


Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Minimum Age: Eight months when sailing within Europe; two years for all other destinations. Age recommendation for voyages for young discoverers: 10 to 17 years

Children’s Programs: Moderate

Babysitting: Yes

Pregnancy Policy: Expectant mothers who are or will be less than 24 weeks pregnant at the time of embarkation must produce a certificate from an appropriate medical specialist (gynecologist) confirming that they are fit to travel in the territory covered by the cruise itinerary. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is unable to carry expectant mothers in the 24th week of pregnancy at the time of embarkation or who will enter the 24th week of pregnancy during the cruise.



Hapag-Lloyd is a luxury German cruise line. Their ships, the EUROPA and EUROPA 2, have both been given five star–plus ratings by Berlitz Cruise Guides. While cruises aboard the EUROPA are now conducted in German, cruises aboard their other ships are conducted in both German and English. You will find a high level of service and an elegant atmosphere aboard all their ships.


Middle East


Western Mediterranean

Eastern Mediterranean

USA and Canada

The Caribbean


Pacific and South Seas


Central and South America

North Sea and Baltic Sea

Minimum Age

Eight months when sailing within Europe; two years for all other destinations


Babysitting service is available at an additional cost.

Pregnancy Policy

Expectant mothers who are or will be less than 24 weeks pregnant at the time of embarkation must produce a certificate from an appropriate medical specialist (gynecologist) confirming that they are fit to travel in the territory covered by the cruise itinerary. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is unable to carry expectant mothers in the 24th week of pregnancy at the time of embarkation or who will enter the 24th week of pregnancy during the cruise.

Children’s Programs

Infants and Toddlers (0–4 years)

Hapag-Lloyd’s aim is for their guests to feel comfortable and happy in every respect, even if they are only learning to crawl on board. Therefore, they offer a free Baby-Welcome-Paket package aboard the EUROPA and the EUROPA 2. It contains all baby-care products for toddlers up to three years of age—and reduces parents’ luggage significantly. Children who can already walk enjoy strolling across the ship holding the paw of Käpt’n Knopf and playing with the family captain in the Knopf Club aboard the EUROPA 2.

Children (4–10 years)

Hapag-Lloyd offers a Kids’ Club for children four years or older, plus age-specific programs with activities such as game-filled afternoons, karaoke, arts and crafts, and treasure hunts. There are special children’s excursions without parents, and spa offers for children aged eight and older, such as the chocolate body wrap or chocolate massage. As for meals, Hapag-Lloyd offers dinner as a group with child minders and delicious kids’ menus.

Tweens and Teens (11–17 years)

For older kids, there is the Teens’ Club, which also offers age-specific programs, with activities such as a photo workshop, hip hop courses, and pool parties. In the Teens’ club, there are also special teen excursions without parents, special spa treatments, and group dinners.


Paul Gauguin Cruises

NEW FOR 2019

  • Paul Gaugin Cruises no longer offers babysitting

Minimum Age: One year

Children’s Programs: Extensive

Babysitting: No



Luxury comes in many forms aboard the Paul Gauguin, which was built to sail the shallow waters of French Polynesia and can access ports unavailable to larger vessels. It is the only cruise ship that sails year-round itineraries in the Society, Tuamotu, and Marquesas Islands.

A recent $7 million refurbishment included enhancement of the dining experience and spa offerings. All staterooms have an ocean view, marble baths, full-sized tubs and showers, refrigerators stocked with soft drinks and mineral water, and complimentary mini-bar setups. Almost seventy percent of staterooms have private balconies.

The passenger-to-crew ratio of 1.5:1, with 332 passengers and 217 crew, makes for excellent, personalized service. Crew members know the islands very well and share that knowledge with passengers, as do the archeologists and marine biologists who sail each cruise.

There is no regimentation and no formality aboard the Paul Gauguin. Dining is open seating in three restaurants: L’Etoile, which has a French Art Deco style; La Veranda, a modern venue with both indoor and outdoor seating; and Le Grill, located near the pool, which offers a buffet and open-air dining. As the cruise price is all-inclusive, complimentary wine is served at dinner.

The ship has a retractable water sports platform, so guests can kayak, paddle board, or windsurf. It also has a pool, spa, and fitness center, as well as a lounge (entertainment and lectures). Wifi hotspots are available throughout the ship, though Internet access incurs an extra charge.

Dress is as relaxed as the atmosphere: Casual attire by day and elegant resort wear by night—men in trousers and shirts with collars (not golf shirts) and skirts or slacks with blouses for women. On Tahitian Night, women are encouraged to wear pareos and men to wear Polynesian shirts. Announcements are made in English and French.

On the Paul Gauguin, though the average age of passengers is 50+, you’ll also find honeymooners, young professionals, and retirees. During school vacations, families with children will be on board. The line attracts guests from all over the world.

The Paul Gauguin is best for affluent travelers who want a luxury experience in Tahiti, the South Pacific, and Southeast Asia with a line that specializes in the area.


Tahiti and the South Pacific

Minimum Age

Paul Gauguin Cruises is unable to accommodate infants less than one year of age.


Babysitter services are not available.

Pregnancy Policy

Pregnant women should consult with their doctor prior to sailing with Paul Gauguin Cruises, as there is no pre-natal care on board. Paul Gauguin Cruises will not accept any guest six months (twenty-four weeks) or more into pregnancy at the time of sailing due to the lack of neo-natal care facilities on board. Pregnant guests under six months (twenty-four weeks) must provide PGC with a doctor’s written permission prior to sailing that states she is fit to travel by sea and air (if PGC booked their air). This must be faxed to Reservations, Attn: Special Requests-Medical at 1-425-732-7198. On the fax, please reference your name, ship name, and sailing date. The permission must be dated within thirty days of the departure date. The Master in conjunction with the Ship’s Doctor has the right to deny boarding if in their professional opinion there may not be adequate shore-side medical facilities available in port during the cruise.

Children’s Programs
Paul Gauguin Cruises offers a unique program that introduces young travelers (ages 7–17) to the extraordinary natural wonders of French Polynesia through direct, hands-on, interactive experiences with marine and island ecosystems. The Stewards of Nature Program is a partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). WCS naturalists will be on board and there will be island and beach excursions, science activities, crafts, games and other activities. The Steward of Nature Program is available on select summer and holiday cruises for a nominal fee. The program must be reserved at the time of booking.


Minimum Age: Three years

Children’s Programs: Moderate

Babysitting: No



Ponant is a French cruise line that operates nine yachts that sail across the globe. Their ships hold no more than 264 passengers. Their small ships allow them to visit ports of call that larger ships would find inaccessible. On board their ships you will find gourmet cuisine and attentive service.







Latin America

North America

Northern Europe

Ocean Voyage

Pacific Ocean and Oceania


The Adriatic

The Arctic

The Mediterranean

Minimum Age

Children under three years of age are not authorized to embark PONANT ships. Children under six years of age are not authorized to embark PONANT ships for Polar Expedition cruises.  For all Expedition Cruises, children must be able to act fully independently during all organized outside activities. During disembarkation in rubber boats, they must be tall enough to sit on the inflatable sides of the boats, and old enough to understand, and immediately respond to the orders given by the persons in charge. As a result, children’s participation in any activity in an inflatable boat shall be subject to the agreement of the Captain and of the Expedition Leader, depending on the sea conditions and the difficulty of disembarking at each location visited. The ships do not carry parkas in children’s sizes. Parents must arrange to bring a suitable parka for each child.


This line does not offer babysitting services.

Pregnancy Policy

Women who are over six months pregnant are not authorized to sail.

Children’s Programs

Infants and Toddlers (0–3 years)

Children under three are not permitted on board.

Children and Teens (3–17 years)

Flexible or communicating cabins, children’s menus, fun tea parties, games, piano lessons, and a host of other activities are available.