Many parents and grandparents are seeking out opportunities to show their children the world and make lifelong memories while learning together. Educational cruises offer families extraordinary opportunities to experience different cultures and learn alongside knowledgeable experts and guides. With the world as their classroom, children bring home a new understanding of nature, history, culture, sustainability and world affairs as a result of their family's cruise experience.
Here are five of the best enrichment cruise options that enable families to learn and bond together while exploring the globe:
1. Europe: River cruises are popular in Europe and some feature exceptional family-friendly opportunities for learning, cultural exploration and discovery. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is the leader in family-friendly river cruising, being named the “Top River Cruise Line for Families” by Travel + Leisure magazine multiple years in a row. Their designated multigenerational cruises feature exciting family programs and special excursions, a dedicated Family Host to supervise kids’ activities, attractive family pricing and much more. Uniworld offers family-friendly departures on the Rhine River, the Danube, the Seine River and other European waterways - and it has nearly tripled its family-friendly sailings due to strong demand. “Uniworld’s all-inclusive, multigenerational river cruises in Europe provide young guests with mind-expanding travel experiences, with opportunities for families to spend quality time together,” says Uniworld Senior Vice President Wesley Bosnic. History comes to life on Uniworld’s sailings, such as their “Castles Along The Rhine” itinerary. On this enchanting cruise, families can view and explore authentic medieval castles along the Upper Rhine River Valley, walk onto the wing of a Boeing 747 airplane at Speyer’s Technik Museum, take rides across vineyards and along scenic winding canals, enjoy hands-on exhibits and tasty samples at Cologne’s Chocolate Museum, and much more. For additional information, visit http://www.uniworld.com.
2. Alaska: Families visiting Alaska's Great Land on smaller ships are rewarded with stunning vistas, spectacular wildlife viewing, enriching excursions and exciting opportunities for adventure. Un-Cruise Adventures, leaders in luxury yacht and expedition cruising, offers families the opportunity to explore Alaska's remote wilderness and see the "real Alaska" on their small ships. Adults and kids learn about the area's history, geography, culture, flora and fauna alongside highly educated naturalists and trained guides as they explore isolated areas on hikes or in kayaks and skiffs. Since Un-Cruise Adventures’ Alaska-going small ships accommodate just 22 to 84 passengers, learning on these cruises is personalized, flexible and fun. Children ages eight and older are welcomed on all ships, destinations and departures with the exception of the 22-passenger Safari Quest, where children must be fourteen or older except on private yacht charters. Special children’s rates are generally available as well, except on holiday sailings. Un-Cruise Adventures offers a number of exciting Alaska itineraries for families, as well as family-friendly voyages in other enticing destinations. For more information, visit http://www.un-cruise.com.
3. Galapagos: Families visiting the Galapagos will return home rich in experiences and new-found knowledge. Here at the earth’s first World Heritage Site, families can see exotic wildlife and experience them up close in their natural habitats. Follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin on a voyage with Ecoventura, a family owned cruise company that has been leading the way in sustainable travel to the Galapagos Islands since 1990. Ecoventura operates a fleet of three identical expedition yachts holding no more than twenty guests. Their cruises are very well-suited for families traveling with children ages seven and older. Families with children ages twelve and older can sail on any Ecoventura departure, while families with children ages five and up can travel on Ecoventura’s specific Family Departures. Excellent naturalist guides, immersive hikes, age-appropriate activities, entertaining lectures, highly personalized service, and small guide-to-passenger ratios (no larger than 1-to-10) are just a few of the reasons why Ecoventura's ships are used by many leading U.S. tour companies for their family-friendly Galapagos trips. Families can choose from several itineraries as well as Ecoventura's specialty departures including Family TEEN and Family College sailings. For more information, visit http://www.ecoventura.com.
4. Tahiti: Paul Gauguin Cruises’ luxury cruise ship, the m/s Paul Gauguin, allows families and multigenerational groups to explore the stunning landscapes, culture, history, and natural wonders found in Tahiti, French Polynesia and the South Pacific. Sailing since 1998, the Paul Gauguin is the longest continually operating year-round luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific. Concentrating on this one region has allowed Paul Gauguin Cruises to develop a unique specialization in these islands, offering families an unparalleled opportunity for experiencing and understanding this unique region. When sailing on the m/s Paul Gauguin on select voyages, kids and teens ages nine to seventeen can participate in the company’s Ambassadors of the Environment Youth Program, created in partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society. In the company of Society naturalists, children participate in entertaining onboard activities and enrichment excursions. Activities include hiking along rainforest trails, exploring coral reefs, swimming with rays, day and night snorkeling, and learning about Polynesian culture and the region’s natural wonders. This enrichment program is just one of the reasons Paul Gauguin Cruises has been named the “Top Small-Ship Cruise Line for Families” by Travel + Leisure magazine. For more information, visit http://www.pgcruises.com.
5. Baja California: Lindblad Expeditions has been leading cruise expeditions to Baja California since 1981. Voyages aboard Lindblad’s 62-guest expedition ships are perfect for families and multigenerational groups. Expedition teams are comprised of naturalists, historians and other experts. Naturalists trained to work with children provide daily nature encounters and activities that are enriching as well as fun. All Lindblad voyages have a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor onboard, so family photos from this cruise are sure to be extraordinary. Learning takes place on daily naturalist guided excursions and shared adventures which might include walks on uninhabited islands, swimming and snorkeling with sea lions, kayaking, whale watching, and wildlife sightings – creating vivid family memories that last a lifetime. In addition, the staff gives daily talks about the highlights of the day as well as special lectures on a variety of topics throughout the voyage. Special rates for children under eighteen are available. Baja California is just one of the many appealing areas where Lindblad Expeditions sails. For more information, visit http://www.expeditions.com.