Paul Gauguin Cruises will debut a new partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society in 2017. // © 2016 Paul Gauguin Cruises
Feature image (above): Windstar Cruises offers lower single supplements. // © 2016 Windstar Cruises
Family cruises in the luxury sector are heavily driven by the multigenerational market, with grandparents often passing on the luxury travel experience to their children and grandchildren.
Luxury market ships have differing accommodation configurations for families and extended families, from connecting staterooms or suites to family apartments. Some also offer lower cost fares for children staying with an adult, though these differ depending on the line and can even vary from ship to ship. It’s important for clients to note that luxury lines also have varying age minimums on different itineraries — for example, transoceanic cruises nearly always require children to be at least 1 year old, sometimes 2 years old.
Cunard Line features a children’s program for 2 to 17 year olds, along with a nursery for children ages 6 to 23 months. A night nursery is open until 11 p.m. This is a rare instance where cruise staff will change diapers with permission. However, the family pools are open only to the toilet-trained. Very young children can also use the kids’ facilities, but they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has an extensive program for younger cruisers, with a kids’ club for guests 2 to 15 years old. It also offers a teen club and an early morning breakfast service that allows parents to sleep in. There are family-friendly accommodations and family-oriented shore excursions, as well.
Paul Gauguin Cruises
Starting next year, Paul Gauguin Cruises — which has a history of creative, nature-based family programs — will debut a new partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society. The resulting Stewards of Nature program, offered in French Polynesia and the South Seas for children ages 7 to 17 and their families, will provide two interactive enrichment opportunities during the summer months and holidays, while the Wildlife Discovery Series is an onboard lecture program that will focus on the environment and wildlife of our planet.
Seabourn Cruise Line
Seabourn Cruise Line offers a children’s program in July and August with two youth counselors onboard, along with connecting suites that accommodate family groups.
Un-Cruise Adventures sees a lot of family groups, including grandparents with parents and children. Its Family Discoveries program, recommended for kids ages 8 and older, is available on any ship and date (on Safari Quest by charter only). Alaska is its top family destination, although it expects its Costa Rica itinerary to grow in popularity with family groups. Activities on those sailings include tide pool “treasure hunts,” s’mores around a beach bonfire and snorkeling with playful sea lions.
Windstar Cruises is seeing a trend of adult children cruising with their senior parents. The line offers solo rates that accommodate a widow or widower joining their extended family on a cruise. The company also says it’s seeing empty nesters take recent college graduates on a celebration cruise before they hit the workforce or head to graduate school, as well as some teenagers, primarily on Caribbean and Costa Rica/Panama Canal sailings. The “Solo Sailor” tropical cruise itineraries have only 15 percent single supplements to implement this.