Here's how a summer adventure sailing can bring your family closer together.
American Safari Each summer, American Safari Cruises offers one or more family departures called Kids In Nature. This year, the 36-passenger Safari Explorer hosts the Kids In Nature sailing on June 19 in Alaska, with a 25% discount for children.
In addition, the 12-passenger Safari Spirit can be chartered at an 8 percent savings for families if they have at least two children under 12 years and are sailing between June 6 and August 15. Each year the line offers a warm weather Kids In Nature departure during the late winter/spring break months.
Among the children's activities offered by expedition leaders/naturalists are examining plankton under a microscope; identifying birds from the deck of the boat; a tour of the bridge by the captain; baking a volcano cake with the chefs; and learning how to kayak.
In Glacier Bay a National Park Service Ranger is assigned to join the yacht for two days. Rangers are chosen for their rapport with kids, since they provide narrative while in Glacier Bay.
At the end of each Kids In Nature cruise, families receive a photo disk of their journey, and kids under 12 years get a backpack filled with binoculars, magnifying glass, t-shirt and cap.
American Safari yachts do not have quads, but the Safari Explorer has four staterooms that can be made into triples. The line provides families with a pre-cruise questionnaire that allows for dietary requests, thus kid-friendly food is certainly available.
Cruise North Inuit-owned Cruise North Expeditions specializes in summer cruises to the Canadian Arctic, including the Hudson Strait and Labrador. The line's 122-passenger, ice-class expedition ship Orlova cruises from late June through early September.
While children are welcome all season, special family sailings with extra children's programming this year are scheduled for July 2, 14 and 22. Additional personnel -- one extra staff member for every five children -- will be on board to coordinate kids' activities on and off the ship. There is not a teen program, but "every cruise is very well suited to teens," according to Cruise North.
Kids stay with their parents on most shore excursions, but there will be three excursions just for kids. Unique activities include visiting an Inuit school, playing Inuit games with local children, and guided nature walks. Aboard ship are kids' movie nights, games, and a minimum of one supervised play session daily so parents get some time alone.
Kid-friendly food is served aboard ship on these departures. Children can sit separately at the supervised kids' table if they wish.
The line currently has a two-for-one promotion, but all season long children 12 years and under traveling with two paying adults receive 50 percent off the full retail price, while teens 13 to 18 years get a 25 percent discount. The ship's lower and main deck double cabins have two lower beds and two Pullman beds.
Cruise North recommends a minimum age of seven years because the ship is not child-proof.
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