Thinking about a multigenerational cruise? This year, more families in the United States will take a cruise then ever before, many setting sail with two, three or four generations spread over several branches of the family tree.
Cruising appeals to large or far-flung families for a lot of reasons. Onboard dining venues offer large tables, taking the headache out of making reservations and organizing a large party come dinnertime. Varied kinds of entertainment and excursions cater to a wide range of interests, so whether your pleasure is snorkeling or shuffleboard or stage productions, you’re covered. Childcare services and kids clubs mean that parents can take some time for themselves — a boon during the seemingly never-ending school summer vacation — and you can factor in accommodations and perks packages to suit every budget.
If you’re looking for a multigenerational travel experience the whole family will treasure, taking a cruise is an appealing option that more and more people turn to each year. And if you use Cruiseable's Group Cruises Tool, you'll likely save hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Here are some ideas for your next great family trip.
Paul Gauguin Cruises: South Seas immersion
During summer 2016, you can take advantage of the Ambassadors of the Environment Family Program for a nominal fee aboard the Gauguin from Paul Gauguin Cruises. Jean-Michel Cousteau and his Ocean Futures Society created this program to introduce young travelers ages 9 to 17 to the jaw-dropping natural wonders of Tahiti, Bora Bora and the rest of French Polynesia through direct, hands-on, interactive learning. Ocean Future Society naturalists lead activities such as lectures, day and night snorkeling, swimming with rays and sharks, onboard games and activities, cycling, rainforest hikes and sustainable living lessons. Parents are encouraged to join in, although no one would judge if your own explorations – of the poolside cocktail menus and palm-tree-shaded loungers on nearby private islands, for instance – are commanding your attention.
This program is offered on sailings in June through August 2016 on the following itineraries: 7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands, 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus, 14-night Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands and 10-night Cook Islands & Society Islands.
MSC Cruises: Mother's Day in the Bahamas
What better way to pamper Mom on Mother's Day than joining her on a cruise to the Bahamas? I know I’d take it! MSC Divina from MSC Cruises departs Miami on May 7 for an eight-day, seven-night sojourn in St. Maarten, Puerto Rico and assorted Caribbean islands. Gifting mom onboard experiences such as dinners at slow-food specialty restaurant Eataly and authentic Balinese spa treatments in the MSC Aurea spa will earn you brownie points. Youngsters will love hanging out at kids and teens clubs while Grandma and Grandpa put their feet up in the butler-serviced VIP Yacht Club. And when everyone is ready to spend time together, there's a banner of activities to try each day, from the Lego experience and chilling at the Top Sail lounge and pool to a 4D theater and Broadway-inspired shows in the evening.
Ama Waterways: Danube River cruises
Alongside new tours along the Rhine, Rhone, Seine, Douro, Garonne and Mekong rivers, in 2016 AmaWaterways is offering 20 or so Danube River cruises with group booking incentives and plenty of activities for all. Passengers of all ages can get active on enriching bike tours — or grab a bike and helmet to explore on your own. On board, complimentary Internet and on-demand entertainment will keep anyone with a short attention span occupied during slower moments, and there’s a massage and beauty salon for those in need of some peace and relaxation.
Families will enjoy location-inspired nightly performances, and as small group excursions are offered at three "speeds" — gentle walkers, active walkers and late starters for those who like to sleep in — you can tailor your daily schedule to suit every member of your group. If your party is reaching extended Brady Bunch family-like proportions, the smaller scale of these river cruises means an exclusive full-ship charter might be the way to go. Options range from the 14-cabin Zambezi Queen to ships carrying around 150 passengers, such as the new 158-passenger AmaViola, debuting in April.
Crystal Cruises: A luxury ship for your tribe?
When school’s out for summer, Crystal Cruises steps up with a range of itineraries sure to reduce the stress of keeping kids entertained, if you can afford the price tag off a luxury cruise. During the long vacation months, Crystal Serenity sails to Alaska, stopping by Anchorage, Sitka, Juneau and Canadian destinations such as Vancouver and Victoria. Crystal Symphony journeys to the Mediterranean and Northern Europe to a swath of captivating, cultural ports of call, including Copenhagen, St. Petersburg, Rome and Kotor. And when the holidays inevitably swing by again, you can swap the winter chill for days soaking up the sun on Caribbean beaches and islands in Jamaica, Mexico and Grand Cayman. The best part? Kids sail free.
Oceania Cruises: Alaska explorations by youths
Thinking about traveling with children ages between 5 and 12 years on an Oceania Cruises cruise itinerary from Seattle to Alaska and back? Why not enroll them in the Alaska Explorer Youth Program, designed to help inquisitive young adventurers to experience the Northwest Coast and Alaska in a meaningful, enriching way? Supervised by experienced, chipper and energetic youth counselors, the program includes games, activities and Alaska-inspired special events.
Viking Cruises: Sail Portugal's Douro River
As Viking Cruises offers geography-, culture- and history-focused cruises designed for travelers ages 55 plus, there tends to be fewer youngsters aboard (although children are welcome as long as they share a stateroom with a parent or legal guardian). This means Viking is a good option for adult generations of a family or group looking for a quieter onboard vibe. The 10-day Portugal’s River of Gold itinerary is a good crowd pleaser, kicking off with a two-day exploration of Portugal’s capital city Lisbon, then sailing through the Douro River’s striking terraced vineyards to stop at provincial ports of call featuring craggy, multihued castles, rambling baroque mansions and historic, ivy-wreathed monasteries. In medieval city Salamanca you can sample Portuguese specialties such as salt cod and, of course, the region’s stellar port and tawny wines. A great option for experienced travelers and their kids of drinking age!
Ponant: The ultimate family expedition
A leader in polar expeditions, French-based Compagnie du Ponant offers multigenerational groups the shared experience of a lifetime, cruising from Ushuaia in Argentina through the heart of the Antarctic Peninsula. Each day, you can head out in Zodiac dinghies for close encounters with penguins, whales, seals and sea leopards and be dropped at trails for scenic hikes through terrain few ever get to see. On the Great Austral Loop itinerary aboard Le Boreal in November 2016, you’ll visit the Falkland Islands, South Georgia’s glaciers and black sand beaches and the Northern Peninsula’s floating ice fields and majestic marine mammals. There’s also a new stop for 2016: a visit to the Brown Bluff, located at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula to see volcanoes and thousands of gentoo and Adélie penguins.
To book a Ponant luxury cruise at the best rates, contact a Cruiseable travel advocate.
Norwegian: Lots of options for young cruisers
Norwegian Cruise Line’s larger vessels that sail to Europe and the Caribbean — particularly Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway and the new Norwegian Escape — are good options for families due to the wide variety of accommodations and entertainment offerings on board. Programs such as Norwegian’s kids program, Splash Academy and Aqua Parks are huge draws for the younger crowd. The Haven, a ship-within-a-ship adults retreat, enables multigenerational groups traveling together to book what suits their cruising style and budget while still being included in the family vacation. Cruising solo? Norwegian’s studio accommodations ensure that you can enjoy your privacy without being slapped with a supplement — Norwegian is often the best choice for solo travelers.
Uniworld: See castles along the Rhine
Grandparents, parents, and young children alike will be enchanted by northern Europe on Uniworld’s Castles Along the Rhine, an 8-day itinerary from Basel to Amsterdam along the Rhine River aboard River Empress in July. Days are packed with unique, fun-filled adventures for families to enjoy together, such as stepping into the Middle Ages at Marksburg Castle and riding a cable car high over the vineyards of Rüdeshem. All beverage and meals on board are included and fully customizable based on passengers' dietary restrictions and preferences, keeping even the fussiest eaters of all ages happy. Plus, you can also save 50 percent on rates for cruise travelers ages 4 to 18 years when they travel with an adult.
Royal Caribbean: Enjoy the world's biggest ship!
10The latest in a raft of new launches, Royal Caribbean’s largest, most diverse ship Harmony of the Seas – the largest in the world with accommodations for 5,397 passengers over seven "neighborhoods" – will debut in May for her inaugural summer season showcasing Europe’s most popular cruise destinations on seven-night Western Mediterranean itineraries calling on Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Provence, Florence, Rome and Naples. In the fall, Harmony will arrive at her homeport in Ft. Lauderdale for a season of seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings. Kids will love interactive aqua park Splashaway Bay and the 100-foot slide the Ultimate Abyss. Adults will get a kick (or several) out of the cocktails mixed by robot bartenders at Bionic Bar.
Ready to book?
In fact, to book any of these or other cruise, contact one of our cruise experts who'll guide you to a cruise that fits your travel style and budget.