By Mimi Kmet
Crystal Cruises proves that a luxury cruise vacation isn’t just for adults. In fact, it’s an ideal choice for families. The sheer number of choices on board and ashore allows families and groups with children of any age to tailor their Crystal Experiences to suit their interests and needs while enjoying our celebrated attention to detail and service.
Ashore, in addition to adults-only experiences like wine tasting immersions and high-adrenaline thrills like white-water rafting, Crystal Adventures shore excursions include lots of options for the whole family — like leisurely bicycle rides, sea life encounters, even hands-on cooking classes and “You Care. We Care.” voluntourism excursions that allow kids to participate in the culture of the destinations.
A few examples of family-friendly Crystal Adventures offered in 2015 and 2016 are:
Museum of Flight & the Famed Concorde (All ages) — Located in Edinburgh, Scotland, the National Museum of Flight is all about air travel and man’s fascination with breaking the speed barrier, plus exploration of the interior of the Concorde supersonic jet. Available on Voyage 5220, “Noble North Sea” (Copenhagen to Amsterdam, seven days), departing August 23, 2015.
Pizza-Making Lesson & Mozzarella Tasting (All ages) — At a quintessential farm house in Sorrento, Italy, roll up your sleeves and create — and eat— classic Italian fare: pizza. You’ll also taste various Italian culinary delights and, for the adults, limoncello liqueur. Available on Voyage 5319, “Ionian Inspiration” (Rome to Venice, seven days), departing August 30, 2015; and Voyage 5323, “Myths and Monuments” (Rome to Athens, nine days), departing October 2, 2015.
Hato Caves & the Seaquarium (Age 3+) — Explore Curaçao’s Hato Caves, some of the largest in the Caribbean, followed by a visit to the Curaçao Sea Aquarium in Willemstad, the world’s only public aquarium where sea creatures are raised completely by natural means. Available on Voyage 5228, “Colonial Coast & Beyond” (New York to Miami, 14 days), departing October 31, 2015; and Voyage 5332, “Haute Caribbean Holidays” (round-trip Miami, 14 days), departing December 22, 2015.
Island Flightseeing Experience (Age 5+) — In Tortola, British Virgin Islands, board a twin-engine aircraft for an approximately 30-minute flight over the islands and the sparkling Caribbean Sea. Available on Voyage 5229, “Caribbean Cornucopia” (round-trip Miami, 14 days), departing November 14, 2015; Voyage 5229B, “Caribbean Cornucopia: Crystal Getaways” (San Juan to Miami, seven days), departing November 21, 2015; and Voyage 5231, “Azure Escapes” (Miami to San Juan, seven days), departing December 12, 2015.
Aquarium Discovery & Old Port Walk (All ages) — New for 2015, this tour visits the Aquarium of Genoa (Italy), a magnificent marine world with 70 exhibition tanks housing 15,000 animals belonging to 400 species. Afterward, enjoy a walking tour of the old port district. Available on Voyage 5329, “Renaissance Rendezvous” (Monte Carlo to Marseille, seven days), departing November 22, 2015.
Crystal Voluntourism Adventures: Children’s Song & Decorating at Sylphil Home In Love (All ages) — New for 2015, this complimentary excursion is part of Crystal’s “You Care. We Care.” program, and includes a visit to children’s home Sylphil Home In Love in Scarborough, Trinidad & Tobago, where you’ll visit with the children and help them decorate for Christmas. Available on Voyage 5232, “Brazilian Holiday” (San Juan to Rio de Janeiro, 15 days), departing December 19, 2015.
Rainforest Aerial Tram & Zipline Adventure (Age 8+) — After ascending via aerial tram in Caldera, Costa Rica, don a harness for 10 zipline rides amid and above the jungle’s trees and waterfalls. Available on Voyage 6301, “Panama Canal Wayfarer” (Miami to San Francisco, 19 days), departing January 5, 2016; and Voyage 6228, “Panama Canal Passage” (Miami to San Diego, 16 days), departing October 31, 2016.
Patagonian Wildlife, Paleontology Exploration & Welsh Tea (All ages) — Come face-to-face with 300 million years of Patagonian history at the Paleontological Museum in Trelew, Argentina, then visit the non-profit Ecocentro for a glimpse into the area’s unique ecosystem. Afterward, listen to a Welsh choir performance and enjoy refreshments at a typical teahouse in Gaiman. Available on Voyage 6202, “Antarctic Discovery” (round-trip Buenos Aires, 14 days), departing January 13, 2016; and Voyage 6203, “Amazing Antarctic” (Buenos Aires to Valparaiso, 18 days), departing January 27, 2016.
Dolphin Experience (Age 8+) — Join trainers at the dolphin encounter facility in Hamilton, Bermuda, for a chance to swim alongside these delightful creatures during this new excursion for 2016. You can also visit the Maritime Museum. Available on Voyage 6207, “Passage into Spring” (Miami to Monte Carlo, 16 days), departing March 25, 2016; and Voyage 6207A, “Passage Into Spring: Voyage Segment” (Miami to Barcelona, 13 days), departing March 25, 2016.
Junior Activities On Board
On board, Crystal offers fully supervised Junior Activities programs for kids ages 3 to 17 during Holiday voyages and on nearly all summer sailings. Fantasia kids’ club welcomes children ages 3 to 7 and 8 to 12, with games, crafts, Sony PlayStation® and Xbox 360TM kiosks, large-screen televisions, board games, and personal computers with entertainment and education. And Waves, for teens ages 13 to 17, features a video arcade, as well as books and videos for in-room viewing.
On sailings with a Junior Activities director, children receive their own daily newsletter, which lists the following day’s activities, such as scavenger hunts, story times, cookie baking, pizza making, karaoke, trivia games, movies, mini Olympics, pool games, and teen disco. Kids also can order from the Junior Cruiser’s menu at dinner. Babysitting services for children ages 1 year and older also may be available.
In addition, children ages 11 and younger pay 50 percent of the minimum fare when accompanied by two full-fare paying adults. And throughout the year, watch for kids-sail-free promotions. In fact, the latest Kids Sail Free program is available through August 31, 2015, for bookings on select departures through April 15, 2017.