Here's how a summer adventure sailing can bring your family closer together.
Crystal Cruises Crystal's youth program is offered fleet-wide during the summer (usually mid-June through late August), during winter holidays, and whenever 12 or more children are aboard. Crystal receives the most families on its summer Europe cruises.
Youngsters must be age three to 17 to participate in Crystal's Junior and Teen Cruisers program. Some program highlights include: visiting officers on the bridge; computer keyboard classes; mini-Olympics; and making and decorating cookies with the chefs. A Junior Cruisers menu offers kid-favorites.
Both Crystal ships have a dedicated youth room with Sony Playstation games, Microsoft Xbox 360 video games, and computers with kid-friendly software. Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity also feature a teenagers' video arcade called Waves. Other kid-friendly amenities on the ships include a library with a selection of children's books and family-friendly videos to rent (there are VCRs in every stateroom); a pool; putting green; and paddle tennis court.
Private babysitting is available at $7.50 per hour for one child, $10 for two, and $12.50 for three. Baby food, high chairs and booster seats are available upon request. Crystal tracks the number of babies and toddlers on board and reserves the right to restrict the number of children under three if there are too many on a specific sailing. Minimum sailing age is six months.
Crystal Symphony offers 10 connecting staterooms and 89 staterooms with a third berth. There are 40 connecting staterooms and 75 with a third berth on the Crystal Serenity.
Year round, children 11 and under pay 50 percent of the minimum fare when accompanied by two full-fare paying adults. At present, Crystal Cruises is offering many promotional savings in Europe for the 2009 season, from "European Celebration Fares" to a "Crystal Memories" family promotion. The latter offers groups of 10 (related or not) who book and sail at the same time the following: a free third berth for those 17 years and under sharing with an adult; $100 per person shipboard credit; one group portrait per stateroom; and pre-paid gratuities.
Lindblad Expeditions Lindblad Expeditions' special cruises for families include itineraries to Greece, Alaska, and the Galapagos. The Galapagos itineraries are offered year round, while Alaska sailings are available from May through August, and Greece cruises are in July and August.
Lindblad's expedition leaders and staff members have been trained by Lindblad's family travel experts in conjunction with National Geographic's education department and National Geographic Kids magazine.
Activities for children this year include journaling about their trip, short hikes, chart making and map reading, scavenger hunts, and nature skits. Kids' dinners are offered earlier than those for parents and are followed by movie time in the lounge while parents eat.
The ships all have a number of triple cabins but no quads. However, reservationists will put families in rooms next to each other. There is no minimum age to sail.
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