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Family cruises

Seafaring families are exploring new depths with these adventurous alternatives to traditional cruising.

When most families think cruising, ten-storey super liners, Hawaiian theme nights and sun loungers come to mind. While thereís plenty of fun to be had on traditional itineraries, a collection of more adventurous encounters and destinations make for an invaluable learning experience.

WHO: Lindblad-National Geographic
VIBE: Other-wordly

Travellers have responded to the unique experiences and unexplored destinations of expedition cruising with utter enthusiasm. Families can share in the excitement with Lindblad-National Geographic on weekly year-round itineraries ranging from 10 to 16 days in length. A voyage to the Galapagos Archipelago aboard the Endeavour and Islander enables children to walk among bird and animal colonies comprised of 100-year-old tortoises, iguanas, penguins and sea lions, just to name a few. Between ports, children are kept busy with stargazing, scavenger hunts, drawing and poetry workshops and lessons in knot-tying, all appealing to their exploratory spirit. Best of all, families are free to wander the islands at their leisure, making the most of glass bottom boats, kayaks, zodiacs and the knowledge of local naturalists. Every day brings a new education in nature; however a particularly memorable highlight is visiting Isla Santa Cruz, home to a Charles Darwin Research Station.

WHO: Moorings
VIBE: Awe-inspiring

Pursue your fascination with fabled faraway lands and the rich culture of South East Asia on a crewed Moorings cruise, combining the independence of a self guided journey with the peace of mind that onboard experts afford. On your journey through Thailand, limestone cliffs, coral reefs and white sand beaches provide spectacular surrounds. The southern peninsula is where your explorations will take place, beginning in Phuket before cruising westward to Krabi Province. At the completion of six days families will arrive in Koh Rang Yai, having witnessed natural landscapes that challenge and inspire the imagination. Sailing onboard a modern, air-conditioned catamaran complete with private guestrooms, ensuite bathrooms and a personal chef enables families to experience the rich and vibrant cultural characteristics of Thailand in a way not possible on a large liner. Access to secluded bays and coves is virtually unlimited, making for world-class snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities.

South Africa
VIBE: Wild encounters

South Africa; itís the place where safaris meet the sea and a cruise along the coastline makes for an incredible family voyage. MSCís itineraries beginning in this country combine all of the usual trademarks of comfortable family cruising with an added sprinkling of adventure. Itineraries vary to a maximum of seven nights. If you choose to begin in Durban, the weeklong voyages combine urban cityscapes and unspoiled territory, like Portugese Island in Mozambique. You also have the option of shorter itineraries departing from Cape Town. Aboard the MSC Sinfonia, families can unwind into the comfortable, cruising lifestyle with additional extras that will make your trip all the more special. A Virtual Golf Simulator will ensure your most picturesque swing to date and a video games room and teen area cater for young passengers while mum and dad take a well deserved day (or longer) off.

WHO: Le Boat
VIBE: Gaelic fantasy

Enter tartan territory on one of Le Boatís bareboat tours of Scotland, an entirely independent itinerary offering you total control and the unrivalled experience of captaining your own boat through the Caledonian Canal. Far from a daunting task, Le Boatís cruises through Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Holland, Poland and Belgium are designed for even the most inexperienced sailors, with a pre-departure briefing and demonstration equipping you with all you need to know. Those that are familiar with the bareboat lifestyle insist that it is the most relaxing way to cruise. Kids scramble over their floating palace and perfect the art of tying a knot, all against the backdrop of the Scottish Highlands. The ultimate destination for active families, children will relish exploring the rugged valleys of Great Glen, stumbling upon hilltop castles and monitoring the surface of Loch Ness on Le Boatís Great Highland Fling Cruise.

South America
WHO: Royal Carribean
VIBE: Colourful and fun

If thereís one continent on everyoneís lips itís South America, and as the world scrambles to explore it, family-friendly ways of doing so are rapidly increasing. Its tropical beaches and dense forests make for spectacular natural discovery, but itís the lively and unique culture of the cities and towns that make this collection of countries so enchanting. Royal Caribbean offers families the ideal introduction on itineraries that range from three to 14 nights, departing Brazil, Chile or Argentina on board the action-packed Rhapsody of the Seas. Children will be pleased to know their favourite cruising attractions are near, including rock-climbing and swimming pools aplenty, ensuring at sea days are far from lacklustre. When docked, the abundance of shore excursions promises to satisfy every desire on your lengthy South America bucket list. Kids will especially love a visit to Argentinaís Punta Tombo Penguin Rookery, home to thousands of nests.


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