Here's how a summer adventure sailing can bring your family closer together.
We parents all get a bit weary this time of year -- weary of the winter weather; tired of pushing our kids to do their homework once again; and wondering how we can foster family memories that will last a lifetime when we don't have a spare minute during the school year.
Here's how to change that: Consider a seasonal summer cruise to off-the-beaten-track places with your kids. Seasonal family adventure cruises focus less on the "wow" factors of the ships and instead devote more attention to activities in nature that families can enjoy together. The family experiences that will never be forgotten range from spotting polar bears to taking up-close photos of famed Galapagos turtles.
Below is a round-up of cruise lines offering seasonal family departures this summer.
Abercrombie & Kent (A & K) This year, A&K is offering 13 family-oriented cruises to the Galapagos Islands as well as a family cruise to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands departing on December 17, 2009. The 20-day Antarctica cruise departs from Buenos Aires aboard the 200-passenger Minerva. The ship has triple occupancy on a limited basis. Children traveling with one adult or more in their cabin can save 50% off the cruise fare on this sailing.
The Antarctica itinerary will provide youth and teen activities for those ages 10 to 18. (Minimum age to sail this itinerary is 10 years.) The Young Explorer Program is marine and ecology-based and offers workshops like squid dissection, charting the ship's course, fish printing, and nature interpretation through art. There'll also be a digital photo workshop with a voyage scrapbook complied by Young Explorers during the cruise. Additionally, there will be plenty of zodiac excursions each day for first-hand Antarctic exploration.
Throughout 2009, A&K offers 13 Galapagos departures, the line's most popular family destination. To meet demand, six additional Galapagos crises have been added this year, aboard the 48-passenger Eclipse.
On Galapagos family departures, naturalist guides organize activities to teach children about the unique species found in these islands. The twice-daily activities on land include hikes and snorkeling; and on board ship, there are games and children's videos shown in the lounge. All kids receive an Equatorial Certificate from the captain when the ship crosses the equator. The ship offers child-friendly menu selections on family departures such as pizza, tacos and hot dogs.
To get your child excited about interacting with nature on a future A&K cruise, have them check out the web site: akadventurecrew.com. There they can see a virtual guide to the Galapagos, send electronic postcards, and watch a three-minute video introducing families to worldwide A&K destinations.
Rates for the Galapagos cruises start at $6,425 for adults and $5,125 for children under 12 sharing a cabin with one adult. The minimum age for sailing this itinerary is five years.
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