Guaranteed Departures, Guided Land Adventures Make Expedition Small Ship Cruising Popular Choice for Family Vacations
Tahoe City, CA, April 22, 2010 – Consider guaranteed departures of floating base camps that steer families into natural spectacles, unpacking once for daily guided paddling and land adventures with the pleasure of returning aboard for meals and sleep. These are a few of many reasons why families choose small, expedition ships that ply global sanctuaries for vacations that secure diverse experiences with minimal hassle.
Todd Smith, president and founder of AdventureSmith Explorations (ASE - http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/) that manages an extensive portfolio of these vessels, offers tips for families – small, large and multigenerational – considering this increasingly popular family vacation concept.
Minimize flying time and jet lag. Choose destinations close to North America. The five top family destinations are Costa Rica (December-August), Galapagos (year-round), Alaska (May-September), Baja (November-April), and Hawaii (November-April).
Match climates and size of boat to ages of children. Think larger boats (48-148 passengers) in warm weather destinations (Baja, Costa Rica, Panama, Galapagos, Hawaii) affording beach and water play pleasures for younger children (ideal minimum age 6) and first time cruisers; shift focus to smaller expedition vessels (12 to 40 passengers) and larger ships going to hardier climes (Alaska, British Columbia, Arctic, Antarctica) for older offspring whose curiosities require more active programs and shore excursions. Consider exotic Asian destinations as families mature.
Seek “family exclusive” cruises with kid-friendly pricing. Dedicated family departures during summer and spring break feature specialized itineraries, on-board programs, activities and sometimes menus adapted to keep youngsters active and engaged. In general the rate for children under age 12 is one half of the adult rate, and for ages 12-18 between 20 and 30 percent of the adult rate. As most cabins are for maximum two people, ask for adjoining cabins.
Consider activities and “style” of cruise. Vessels can vary widely from luxury yachts with culinary school-trained chefs and hot tubs to small expedition ships with shared bathrooms. Activity levels may range from challenging treks to easy nature walks with options for everyone in between. Private charters for as few as 12 people are also an option for large families, families traveling together and extended clan reunions.
Analyze the “togetherness” quotient. Some family-exclusive cruises provide separate meals and game time for children so parents can have a much-needed breather.
ASE offers this sampling of upcoming family trips and specials for the 2010 season:
Alaska Safari Kids in Nature – Children under 12 save 25% on family departures http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/itinerarydetails.php/advid/19
Galapagos ELF & Eclipse family departures – 25% off (kids under 12) 15% off (kids 12 to 14) http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/itinerarydetails.php/advid/46 http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/itinerarydetails.php/advid/64
Lindblad Expeditions is offering the first child free, second one half off – Alaska, Arctic, BC, Columbia River, Galapagos destinations
Cruise West is featuring kids half off – Alaska, Columbia River, BC
CR Connoisseur Family Departures – Kids under 12 save 25% http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/itinerarydetails.php/advid/5
AWA Explorer Alaska Family Trips – Kids are 25% off http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/itinerarydetails.php/advid/1
Hawaii Kids in Nature (coming spring 2012) http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/itinerarydetails.php/advid/200