Disney Cruise Line announced that it will make port calls in Tortola and Martinique for the first time as part of its 2016 winter/spring season. The Disney Fantasy and Disney Magic will sail from Port Canaveral on Eastern Caribbean itineraries, including the British Virgin Islands stop of Tortola. Disney Wonder will return to San Juan in January for seven-day cruises to Barbados, Grenada, Martinique, Antigua and St. Kitts. Disney will also sail to the Bahamas from Miami and Port Canaveral. Bookings are now open!
Ecoventura, which currently operates three first-class, 20-passenger motor yachts in Galapagos, is expanding its family offerings with a new family teen departure featuring a culture exchange and/or science project with local students through Ecology Project International. The cultural exchange is offered at the EPI camp Reserva Parajo Brujo and includes lunch and a tour in the company of a student who has a special perspective on the town of Puerto Ayora. This unique opportunity will be available for sailings in July. Ecoventura has also scheduled 25 dedicated “family” and “family teen” departures for next year although it welcomes children age 12 and up on all sailings. The cruise line makes every effort to group families with the same age children and to make sure that there is more activity (hiking, snorkeling and kayaking) than on their regular sailings. They also plan to designate departures for families traveling with young adults (age 18-25) in late May and early June. The company will add a new premium yacht, the 20-passenger MV Origin, for the 2016 season.
International Expeditions’ tour of the Amazon River will offer family-friendly experiences throughout 2015 on its new 31-passenger La Estrella Amazonica river cruiser. The ship even has two triple cabins and four cabins on each deck with adjoining doors. Next year the company will offer a week long Family Amazon Cruise. The cruise begins on the Rio Ucayali, the water land of the pink dolphins. You will enter the Pacaya Samira Reserve (the largest wetland in the world) where your children will fish for piranhas and spot caimans and capybaras; hike and look for otters; and go head-to-head in a soccer match against local village children. The riverboat sails back to Iquitos on the Rio Maranon, and by docking time, your children will have learned survival skills, bird calls, 20 ways to cook a piranha, and how to make mosquito repellent from medicinal plants. The cruise can be combined with time at the luxury Ceiba Tops Rainforest Lodge for an added perspective of this amazing region. The lodge provides additional rainforest hikes, canopy walkway excursions and opportunities to meet two rainforest cultures: the Yagua and Ribernos people. Other extensions include Macchu Picchu or the Nazca Lines.
Luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent is celebrating 25 years in business by offering six journeys to the Antarctic on the all-balcony Le Boreal during the 2015-2016 season. This exclusive charter allows A&K to limit passenger capacity to 199 passengers and stick to a smaller group size — no more than 12 people — for twice-daily shore excursions. Celebrate the holidays while exploring the amazing Antarctic with a special Family Holiday Departure sailing from December 18, 2015-January 4, 2016. This sailing will showcase a dedicated children’s program and spacious two-room suites.
Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas was just renovated with a set of new features that include new restaurants, faster internet, new shops, a new Broadway show and additional suites and cabins. Instead of the main Opus dining room, the ship will offer passengers 20 restaurants to choose from creating more intimate dining experiences for all! Dynamic Dining is slated to launch on March 14, 2015. The ship’s internet offerings have also been upgraded with Royal Caribbean’s ‘Boatloads of Bandwidth’ program, which sees the line partnering with O3b to offer land-like internet speeds. Additional tech offerings include the Royal iQ app that allows you to make reservations for restaurants, shore excursions and spa appointments. A total of 10 new suites have been added to the ship overlooking the AquaTheater and Boardwalk neighborhood. Suite guests also get a new exclusive lounge and dedicated sun deck area. Broadway fans will enjoy the show Cats which replaces Hairspray. Sister ship Allure of the Seas will undergo the same makeover in May 2015.
Princess Cruises will mark its 50th anniversary in 2015 with a series of onboard celebrations that include a Love Boat-themed deck party, blast from the past celebratory meals and special balloon drops. Passengers will also be given anniversary swag to take home with them. Among the special events and free surprises will be a Love Boat Disco Deck Party with a 70’s theme and messages from the original TV show cast as well as a Love Boat sing-along and show trivia contest. You can also enjoy special dishes in the dining room from the past five decades, special commemorative desserts and a Golden Balloon Drop where some balloons will have surprise giveaways hidden inside! Princess’ 50th anniversary officially kicks off with the naming ceremony of Regal Princess on November 5 in Fort Lauderdale.
Lindblad Expeditions is an ideal family vacation for exploring the world one trip a time. Their nature based cruises showcase hands-on learning activities and adventures for a diverse range of interests and fitness levels, perfect for explorers of any age and multi-generational groups. Young explorers get hands-on science using video microscopes and learn about conservation projects, plus nature lessons with naturalists who are trained to work with children and are excellent role models. Your children may even discover hidden talents and gain confidence while having the time of their lives. Since every expedition sails with a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor, and some ships with a National Geographic photographer, you’re guaranteed to go home with some top-notch shots from your days exploring. Children under age 18 get a $500 discount on their cruise fare. Book by the end of this year and also receive free airfare or air credits on select 2015 sailings to Alaska, Antarctica, the Arctic, the Azores, Polynesia, South America and Galapagos.
MSC Cruises has introduced a limited baby care service as part of its partnership with Chicco baby care manufacturer. The MSC BabyCare service — which is available fleet wide — offers babysitting with trained staff during lunch and dinner hours. You can prebook your space for babies and toddlers from ages 1-3 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. and from 6:00-7:00 p.m. on sea days. It is the latest kid-friendly move from MSC: in July, it launched MSC Baby Time which allows families to play with their children in the Mini Club at certain times during the day. Dedicated Chicco-designed Infant play areas will be built on MSC Armonia and MSC Lirica, as well as the two new ships currently on order.
Children sail free next year on A-ROSA Cruises per each paying adult and when sharing a cabin. Choose from river boat sailings along the Danube, Moselle, Main, Saone, Rhone and Rhine. A-ROSA is an upscale and German-owned river boat line that has three ships catering to active traveling English speakers. On their newest ship, the A-ROSA FLORA, new Family Cabins can accommodate up to four people (rare for a riverboat). Triple can are also available. The ships feature open bar at all times (not just at lunch and dinner as on most river boats), complimentary bikes, free internet access, complimentary laundry, a spa, gym, heated pool, giant chessboard, putting green and mini golf along with several dining options.
Book a Royal Caribbean cruise by September 15 for all sailings departing after October 15 and choose one of the following offers:
1) Buy One Guest and Get Second Guest 50 Percent Off
2) Kids Sail Free – No Age Restriction
3) Book ChoiceAir and Receive Up to $1,000 Off Your Stateroom (for Balconies and Suites only)
Note that sailings from December 15-31, 2014 and on the new Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas are excluded from this sale.