MANY CRUISE LINES are only too happy to keep the whole family entertained these days, as some 42 percent of parties now sail with children under 18. Mid-sized to mega-sized ships offer the widest range of programs and facilities dedicated to kids and teens, although these playgrounds at sea are not the only option. Some all-inclusive luxury liners and smaller expedition ships are also family-friendly.
Among major premium line choices, Disney Cruise Line takes center stage. Not only do Mickey and friends roam the decks, but dashing figures from Star Wars and the superheroes of Marvel Comics also come to life. Especially popular with children ages 4–11, Disney runs programs for every age group, from babies to teens and beyond, capped by its 1820 Society, which sponsors exclusive get-togethers for passengers ages 18–20. Although Disney dedicates nearly a full deck of space exclusively to kids, many onboard activities bring families together, from themed deck parties, Broadway-style musicals and character breakfasts to mother-daughter and father-son spa treatments.
Disney’s top rivals offer plenty of kid-friendly diversions, too. Royal Caribbean International’s big ships feature some spectacular attractions, including bumper cars, zip lines, rock climbing walls and ice rinks. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Splash Academy teaches circus skills, from tumbling to juggling, that children (ages 3–17) then perform in a special show for parents. Holland America Line and Princess Cruises both offer extensive kids’ clubs and slightly lower-key, more “mature” activities. Princess, for example, provides Ping-Pong and bocce as well as family shore excursions with Animal Planet-themed tours focused on whales, sharks and other wild critters.
While high-end, all-inclusive cruise lines lack the full onboard facilities and array of programs for children of the larger mainstream operators, several are quite welcoming to parents with kids, especially on summer and holiday cruises. Celebrity Cruises maintains “fun factories” for children and a GenNXT program for 18- to 20-year-olds. On the final evening of some voyages, Celebrity’s Parents Night Out gives parents a night of dining and entertainment to themselves while children attend a pizza feast and slumber party on their own. Many of Crystal Cruises’ luxury sailings also set aside special spaces with Junior Activities programs for 3- to 17-year-olds that include water polo and teen discos.
A third but rarer option is an expedition cruise designated as a family adventure. Forget water parks and disco parties; instead, these educational cruises focus on parents and children interested in exploring nature, both separately and together. On select Galápagos and Alaska sailings, for example, Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Global Explorers Program enables kids to earn a Zodiac “driver’s license” while recording wildlife sightings and participating in guided field activities on shore.
Since Cheval Blanc, an extraordinary, newly designed and refurbished 72-room hotel owned by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey, launched in September 2021, it has been the talk of the town. Le Tout-Paris remarks about its WOW factor … and the hard-to-get reservations for the 30 seats at Plenitude, the intimate, first-floor gastronomic outlet headed by chef Arnaud Donckele, who earned three Michelin stars at Cheval Blanc Saint Tropez. Reservations are also recommended for Limbar, the ground-floor bakery/café/tea shop/bar where we watched Pastry Chef Maxime Frédéric preparing desserts and an absolute must-have for dinner at Le Tout-Paris, the 7th-floor, all-day brasserie. This brightly colored space, with its raised seating and Fauve-like floor tiles and the adjacent Milanese restaurant, Langosteria, both have access to terraces facing the Seine River, with amazing views encompassing Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower.
Located in the South Pacific, The Islands of Tahiti are just eight hours by air from California. Surrounded by pristine, crystal-clear blue waters, the 118 islands and atolls offer natural beauty, authentic island culture and unique French Polynesian style. The Islands of Tahiti are world-renowned for white-sand beaches, stunning turquoise lagoons and varied landscapes ranging from coral atolls to volcanic mountain peaks. Privacy comes naturally in The Islands of Tahiti and offers visitors the space to relax and reconnect and to be Embraced By Mana. Mana is the life force and spirit that connects all things in The Islands of Tahiti.
Nevada-based The Spa at Green Valley by Well & Being and The Spa at Red Rock by Well & Being celebrate the start of 2022 with new health, wellness and spa treatments available through March 31. Both spas offer an array of treatments for guests wanting to relax and unwind before 2022 kicks into full gear.
To allow visitors to safely and responsibly enjoy their trip to Barbados, the island announced streamlined port entry protocols. Barbados’ Ministry of Health and Wellness released the following protocols for all travelers planning on coming to the island.
Go ahead, take a nice, deep breath. Because a Seabourn voyage is all about this moment you’ve come so far in life to embrace. It’s not an escape, it’s an arrival.
Mar Del Cabo launched a new luxury beach fishing experience with an interactive paella workshop for guests. The Los Cabos-based hotel offers guests an immersive experience that takes them through the journey of creating paella, starting with a fishing session.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Santorini, Greece, with us.
IHG® Business Edge: Working Together with SMEs for a smarter way to manage travel
COJE Management Group raised the bar when it comes to cuisine and cocktails. The Boston-based group, founded by Chris Jamison and Mark Malatesta, offers guests the ultimate dining experience with old-world hospitality and an array of cuisines for every guest to enjoy. With culinary director Tom Berry incorporating the cuisines he encountered during his travels to South America, Cuba, Japan, Southeast Asia and France, each restaurant has distinguished itself as a must for anyone visiting Boston and each is designed exclusively in-house using inspiration from different regions and countries around the world.