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$384.75
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$134.00
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$247.50
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$14.50
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$113.50
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$135.50
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$225.00
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$611.99
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$1,382.07
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$208.32
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$300.19
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$239.57
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$1,499.95
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$12,468.75
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$155.51
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$553.59
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$735.31
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$230.00
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$161.65
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$244.78
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$55.00
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$984.38
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$719.69
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$165.00
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$949.99
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$464.99
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$464.99
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$3,599.99
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$2,646.70
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$425.00
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$56.39
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$391.33
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$559.20
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$746.65
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$688.60
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$690.76
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$724.91
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$776.66
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American Eagle Gold 2005

American Eagle Gold 2005

Cruising Alaska -- Now It's A Baby Detail

Cruising Alaska - Now It's a Family Detail

By Mike Miller

If you happen to be pondering a baby vacation to Alaska, and you're wondering in case your kids would take part in cruise to "The past Frontier," wonder eliminate. Young family from toddlers through teens have got a blast on big ships and small as their vessels sail throughout the protected waters of Alaska's Inside Passage. Aboard ship or ashore, there are lots of kid-friendly, parent-friendly, and grandparent-friendly websites to see and fun actions you need to take.

It's gospel, merely a short decade or two ago families with kids aboard best alaska cruises were as scarce as Alaskan Dall sheep lambs inside of a grizzly bear's lair. But the times have changed -- big time. Today you will see, besides the traditional hefty contingent of seniors and near-seniors aboard each ship, a growing number of families. Sometimes these groups are multi-generational, with gramps and grandmas, moms and dads, and little ones that can start from gangly teens to babes literally in arms.

The rationale? Word is out that Alaska's attractions are sure-fire hits for travelers of any age: attractions like humongous whales breaching full length straight from the water, grizzly bears chasing salmon along forest creeks and rivers, icebergs (sometimes as big as a tour bus) crashing, splashing, and thundering from the faces of miles-long glaciers.

Too, you will find chances to mush inside of a dog sled behind a team of charging huskies - after helicoptering to a lofty mountain-top glacier no less! Kids and oldsters can ride bikes through towering forests or down mountain paths and trails. They might also kayak among whales and sea lions. Whole families can fish for lunker king salmon. Or try their luck at gold-panning in creeks and streams.

Newest craze for your young and the young-at-heart is riding a zip-line from the upper canopies of towering spruce and hemlock forests in Ketchikan and Juneau -- hanging secure and safe within a harness as they "zip" along a steel cable some 130 feet or higher above the forest floor.

Or, less daunting, while visiting museums up and down the coast families can absorb the totemic culture as well as the roots or history of Alaska's Native peoples. They will be able to study the period when Alaska was "Russian America." And that they can view mementos of the tumultuous gold stampede into the Klondike while in the late 1800s,

No doubt regarding it, Alaska has something exciting to promise every friend, notwithstanding age.

But what about life aboard the cruiseships? Will adolescents get the experience dullsville?

Hardly. The mid- to mega-sized ships particularly are literally resorts afloat with swimming pools, spas, snack shops, chips parlors, outdoor game courts, video arcades, and movie theaters. Special staff members aboard these vessels -- with one exception -- include trained youth counselors. These crew members arrange age-appropriate social activities, organize games and sports events, supervise arts and crafts, take youngsters on shipwide treasure hunts, and usually confirm that cruisers from tykes through teens enjoy their cruise as much as their parents and grandparents.

Although smallship cruiselines in Alaska do not staff their vessels with special counselors for young cruisers, the ships are not any less family-welcoming. These vessels can enter small bays and inlets where guests can view wildlife on close-by forest shores, explore waterways by kayak as well as spiffy powered Zodiacs, hike remote island beaches, maybe even stop to have a natural hot springs dip in forested surroundings.

One smallship cruiseline even schedules three best alaska cruise every year especially geared for family travel.

Despite vessel size, keeping simply a couple of exceptions, cruiselines inside the Alaska trade actively court family cruisers. Few such travelers, young or old, discover the experience anything then again "cool." And are generally not consulting the climate.

Cruiseline by cruiseline here's a rundown of child care and family fun driving on an best alaska cruise. The details was supplied because of the cruiselines or assisted by company websites.

Large and Mega Size Cruiseships

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE's 2006 Alaska voyages aboard the 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit offer youngsters age 2 through 17 a variety of continuous supervised activities during the line's "Camp Carnival" program.

Included in the line's Alaska sailings really are a number of "simply for Alaska" projects where kids can create their very own dream catchers and totem poles and discover about the region's fascinating Native Alaskan cultures.

The Carnival Spirit offers other kid- and family-friendly amenities in addition, including a spacious indoor play room featuring an arts and crafts center, a 16-monitor video wall, climbing mazes, a backyard play area, plus a computer lab.

On the subject of dining, says Carnival, "Youngsters obtain the full 'Fun Ship' treatment with expanded children's menus offering many different kids' favorites along with each junior special." The menus are included on the back of the coloring and activity book featuring word finds, mazes, tic-tac-toe, crossword puzzles, connect-the-dots, and also other games.

Young cruiser age ranges include 2- through 5-year-olds, 6 through 8, 9 through 11, and with teens 15 through 17 a program called "Club 02." (http://www.carnival.com)

CELEBRITY CRUISES' "Family Cruising Program" offers young peoples' activities in four age brackets:

On any given day Ship Mates (for 3- through 6-year-olds) may take part in clown party, treasure hunt, T-shirt painting, Legos, talent time, finger painting, dancing games, summer stock theater, cartoon time, computers, play stations, musical games, movies, ship tours, and chips sundae making.

A large number of same activities are at the agenda for older children too, but are undertaken traveling on an older-age level.

Celebrity Cadets (for youths 7-9) may also include pool olympics, scavenger hunts, charades, a fitness program, board games, relays, and team trivia. Ensigns (for pre-teens 10-12) additionally enjoy karaoke, relay races, ship tours, and pizza parties.

Admiral T's takes in two forms of teenagers, 13-15 and 16-17. Members can frequent the Teen Club, go about basketball tournaments, enjoy pool parties, and help placed on talent shows.

Celebrity vessels incorporate a "Parents Fun evening" program. At the two formal nights of your seven-night voyage, Celebrity treats parents to free babysitting when counselors consider the children to a pizza party for dinner. (http://www.celebrity.com)

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE's "Club HAL" provides a type of kid-friendly facilities and age-appropriate activities. Programs for kids ages 3-12 could be found aboard 2006 Alaska-bound ships Ryndam, Statendam, Zaandam, Zuiderdam, Oosterdam, and Westerdam and with ages 5-12 aboard Volendam and Veendam. All eight ships have got a teen program for a long time 13-17. (http://www.hollandamerica.com)

Club HAL activities are created to be age appropriate. Including, routine planned for infants ages 3 to 7 may include arts and crafts, face-painting, camp-out night, candy bar Bingo, outdoor fun, as well as a pajama party.

"Tweens," the in-between travelers 8 through 12, may learn golf putting, attend dance parties and theme nights, compete in on-deck sports events and scavenger hunts, play arcade games, tie-dye t-shirts, or perhaps just play ping-pong which includes a friend.

Teens 13-17 relish Loft designed to resemble a whole new York artist's loft; there's also The Oasis, a private deck where teens can take up the rays then cool off inside a one-of-a-kind waterfall. The Loft and Oasis are currently found at 2006 Alaska-bound vessels Ryndam, Statendam, Veendam, Volendam, and Zaandam. Teens will especially delight in the teen disco, dance lessons, arcade games, teen sports tournaments, karaoke, trivia contests, bingo, play stations, movies and health and fitness parties.

On most itineraries, Holland America provides 1 full-time Youth Program Director and a single or even more youth staff members. The rate of Club HAL staff to children on board is 1:30.

Additionally there are a large variety of kid-pleasing food, including special sandwiches, tacos, burgers, hot dogs and pizza. For your very young baby food, high chairs and booster seats might be requested beforehand of boarding. Baby-sitting services can be obtained to get a small surcharge and special birthday parties can be arranged.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE notes on its websites which the line's Kid's Crew and Teen's Crew programs are jam-packed with age-appropriate activities for kids 2 through 17. For Kid's Crew members aged 2-12, NCL offers many arts and crafts to pajama parties. Teens Crew, for cruisers 13-17 provides options like pool parties, a youngster disco, a video arcade, and a lot more.

But don't, says NCL, imagine these programs as "babysitting." There's little or no "sitting" involved, notes the cruiseline. The programs are active, energetic, educational and, most importantly, fun. (http://www.ncl.com)

PRINCESS CRUISES' junior cruisers (ages 3 to 17) can take advantage a boatload of exciting onboard activities. Almost every line's Alaska-bound ships have special kids and youth centers staffed by counselors who place on a plan of age-specific activities day after day. Group babysitting is available in the late evenings.

Among various programs for youths is one specific to Alaska. Produced with the National Park Service, Princess' sub-teen "Junior Ranger" program is created to bring Glacier Bay as well as the Alaska wilderness to life for thousands of children each summer. This program features interactive games, activity books, and presentation by rangers. The corresponding "Teen Explorer" program features similar learning activities geared for older youngsters.

Inside a cruise industry exclusive, the Los Angeles-based California Science Center provides entertaining interactive activities. Princess youth staff have undergone extensive training with the center, designed to enthrall young passengers with award-winning science projects. Whale watching, building and racing sailboats, marine biology studies and squid dissection absolutely are a few of the activities available.

The line's website notes that preteens are divided into two groups: Princess Pelicans ages 3-7 and Princess Pirateers, 8-12. Both groups are entertained with age-rated arts and crafts, discos, movies and cartoons, exclusive kids-only dining, hunts, karaoke and lip-sync shows, afternoon cookies parties, pizza parties, backstage and galley tours, pajama parties, and T-shirt coloring. Says Princess' website: "Our astounding teen centers are packed with Nintendo, movies, karaoke, giant screen TVs, card and board games, ping-pong and juke boxes." The location also notes the Alaska-bound Sun, Dawn, Coral, Island, and Diamond Princess ships incorporate a toddler's play area. (http://www.princess.com)

ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL offers a young peoples' program called "Adventure Ocean" serving and entertaining travelers 3 to 17 in five different categories.

Youngest group (ages 3 through 5) are Aquanauts and do finger painting, building blocks, play dough, music activities, dot dancing, and "shape Bingo." Explorers (6-8) use a Pirate Night, look a backstage tour, enjoy nutty nicknames, and have interaction in autograph hunts. Nine to 11-year-old Voyagers do karaoke singing, have got a Ga-Ga Ball, enjoy H20 Thunder Races, and do a method walk.

Navigators (12-14) play in sports tournaments, have pool parties, enjoy a college night, engage in online games, and attend disco dancing sessions in addition to a suitable night. Older teens,15-17 and called Guests, also enjoy dancing, pool parties, DJ training, Battle of many Sexes, plus a formal night along with a Survivor Series.

RCI's Edu-tainment programming offers:

Adventure Science, a plan of hands-on experiments and wacky entertainment (example: Staggering From the Stars, plus a Wacky Water Workshop);

Adventure Art, the opportunity to exercise creativity with crafts;

Sail Into Story Some time to Adventure Family. The latter is a free, onboard program that lets children 3-11 so their parents to invest quality time together doing projects that can start from shipbuilding regattas to talent shows and scavenger hunts. (http://www.royalcaribbean.com)

Mid-Size Carrier

RADISSON SEVEN SEAS CRUISES' youth program, "Club Mariner," provides adults who want to share Alaska's wonders using their children or grandchildren a no cost children's program. "This system," says the firm, "offers the opportunity for families of all types of lifestyle to achieve Alaska inside a meaningful, enriching way." The cruiseline's youth program is designed for three age groups: 5-9, 10-13 and 14-17. Throughout each voyage, trained counselors offer young cruisers the opportunity to take part in various interactive adventures that focuses Alaska. Children will exercise their creativity with crafts while gaining knowledge about Alaska's diverse wildlife, its unique geography, its indigenous crafts, as well as rich artistic heritage.

Kids will find out about whales, salmon, glaciers and totem poles. They could draw and write about their adventures in special Club Mariner scrapbook, bake chocolate "moose" cookies, go whale watching from deck or learn all about eagles, dolphins, bears and sea lions. Notes RSSC: "Club Mariner not only causes it to be easier for families to travel together, it helps kids broaden their cultural and educational horizons. And they'll return home knowing how to Alaska than all the other 49 states combined!" (http://www.rssc.com) SILVERSEA CRUISES advises that, as a result of the sophisticated nature of that cruises and programs, the company won't encourage travel with little ones. (http://www.silverseacruises.com)

Smaller Ships

AMERICAN SAFARI CRUISES' Kids easily (KIN) cruises, involve a luxury yacht when the schoolhouse, an Expedition Leader/Naturalist since the teacher, and the wildlife-rich waters of Alaska's Inside Passage because the laboratory. KIN convenes in Alaska aboard the upscale 22-passenger yacht Safari Quest with the first of two seven-night cruises from Sitka June 17. The voyage takes in various wilderness sites and communities throughout Southeast Alaska. and ends in Juneau June 17. Another seven-night Safari Quest sailing commences July 29 while an eight-night voyage from Prince Rupert, B.C. to Juneau embarks June 26 aboard the equally luxurious 12-guest Safari Escape.

Activities abound for anyone: kayaking, hiking at the remote island utilized by a full-scale picnic, hopping shore-to-shore by Zodiac, viewing whales directly from the bow or dolphins right below, collecting shells to review, and more. Kids and adults alike are accompanied at the number of personal-choice excursions while their yacht is at anchor.

Right at the end of a cruise each child receives a Kids naturally backpack choked with mementos with their various explorations: certificates of accomplishment signed by way of the Captain and Expedition Leader, a tee shirt and cap, a number of binoculars, disposable camera as well as a typed list of all of the flora and fauna observed in the course of the cruise. This program offers kid-size pricing -- two kids under 12 for example adult fare.

Aboard other sailings while in the season American Safaris Cruises' three yachts offer very upscale amenities and cuisine best appreciated by sophisticated adults. The cruises the boundary normally discourages guests from bringing young children and doesn't offer specifically child-oriented services. (http://www.americansafaricruises.com)

AMERICAN WEST STEAMBOAT COMPANY advises, "We tend to satisfy mature adults and as such offer no special programs to kids and teenagers." (http://www.americanweststeamboat.com)

THE BOAT COMPANY offers special rates for young cruisers traveling with parents: 50 percent off usual fare if occupying a stateroom which has a parent, twenty percent off if occupying a separate cabin.

The company's two vessels don't have separate personnel specifically assigned to youngsters on board, but the line does seek to accommodate the desires of each one passenger including kayaking, fishing, beach hikes, as well as other kid-friendly activities. (http://www.theboatcompany.com)

CLIPPER CRUISELINE does not have any specific children's programs or staff for younger travelers, still the nature of the company's routes and cruising areas (including whale sightings, bears other wildlife, and shore excursions) cause it to be sufficient for family groups. Cabins can accommodate as much as three guests; for larger groups two cabins will be necessary. (http://www.clippercruise.com)

CRUISE WEST gives a children's travel special aboard the Sheltered Seas Daylight Yacht Tours. Travelers 12 and under sharing a cabin with an adult save 50 percent on Family Adventure cruise fares. Youths 13 through 21 save 25 percent.

While many of the company's other cruises are of considerable interest for families with children, activities aboard ship will not be specifically geared for young travelers. Cruise West would be the largest of the smallship cruiselines serving Alaska and offers cruising alternatives for family interest from Southeast Alaska with its totems, glaciers, national park lands and goldrush historical destinations to Southcentral's Prince William Sound and beyond to Arctic waters or even Russia. (http://www.cruisewest.com)

DISCOVERY VOYAGES advises that cruises aboard the 12-passenger vessel Discovery are "definitely family friendly" and, indeed, the company gives a 25 % discount for infants 12 and under. Notes a company spokeswoman: "Due to the intimate size of our vessel and we don t have specific youth directors but our staff (including Captain Dean Rand's daughters Hannah and Heather, who matured on board the Discovery) is diverse in working on the entire family as well as being naturalists and kayaking guides." The corporation often works with agencies and outfitters who specialize in family trips. (http://www.discoveryvoyages.com)

LINDBLAD EXPEDITIONS welcomes voyagers young and old. And come September, Archie Comics illustrator Stan Goldberg will enter a shipload of other Lindblad Expeditions travelers throughout the Inside Passage from Southeast Alaska to British Columbia. His mission: to design the next in his "Little Lin" cartoon book sequence of educational adventures for young people. (In his first book, Fun and Games With Little Lin, released in 2005, child explorer Little Lin discovers Peru's Galapagos Islands.)

ßIn his second work Goldberg's young adventurer will sail to Alaska and shall encounter glaciers, humpback whales, bald eagles, and all manner of other creatures so their habitats along Alaska's and British Columbia's Inside Passage. In future years, the Alaska-inspired Little Lin books is going to be distributed to all families traveling aboard Lindblad Inside Passage cruises. (http://www.expeditions.com) MAPLE LEAF ADVENTURES offers families the opportunity to view Alaska's glaciers, whales, islands, bear hot spots, beaches, hot springs and towns aboard the classic tall-ship sailing vessel Maple Leaf, a beautifully restored 92-foot sailing schooner inbuilt 1904. The ship takes eight to ten guests. The vessel's on-board naturalist, chef and experienced crew can customize the trip's itinerary, menu and activities to suit family interests. Typical highlights include unparalleled proximity to ice bergs, glaciers and wildlife, sailing a tall ship, and great camaraderie between guests and crew. Special activities for kids include sail training, fishing (with purchase of a fishing license), hikes, and a customizable itinerary. Accommodations are comfortable however not luxurious. Because berths are limited to nine or ten passengers, its possible for one or over families (two families of five, to illustrate) to jointly reserve every one of the berths for just one of the company's 11-night Alaska voyages. Parents with teen-age children may reserve berths which are not otherwise reserved in the concurrence of prior-booked adult passengers. (http://www.mapleleafadventures.com)

State and Provincial Ferries

ALASKA MARINE HIGHWAY SYSTEM (Alaska ferries) is made-to-order for family travel along Alaska's coast. According to vessel youngsters will likely find onboard play areas of the very young, casual meals and snack bars for any age, movies, and nature talks plus expansive glass-enclosed solariums. These are also ideal for spotting orcas (killer whales), humpback whales, playful porpoises and sea lions in the water plus mountain goats on towering cliffsides, and (of the fortunate observer) the sight of black and brown (grizzly) bears on passing beaches. Families following or absent vehicles may embark as far south as Bellingham, Washington or Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

Larger stateroom-equipped vessels of your fleet are classified as the Columbia (931 passengers), Matanuska (745), Malaspina (701), Taku (370), and Kennicott (748). Depending on the season, one or two ships sail on weekly schedules completely to/from Bellingham while some spin at Prince Rupert. (http://www.FerryAlaska.com)

BC FERRIES demonstrates its kid-friendliness even before kids boards ship. Computer-savvy children or their parents have only to surf usually the internet server to http://www.bcferries.bc.ca/kidzone/establishing_shot.html and they ll meet cartoon characters Samantha ("Call me Sam") and Cal, two seagoing doggy characters who introduce young viewers to 3 online activities - a digital coloring book, a "Compare to the Ferries" memory game, as well as a virtual bridge tour.

The 700-passenger provincial ferry vessel Queen of the North embodies Alaska state ferries at Prince Rupert for frequent having access to Southeast Alaska ports. (http://www.bcferries.com)

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Alaskan travel writer Mike Miller lives in Juneau where his current passion is publishing an informational website about Alaska cruising: http://www.AlaskaCruisingReport.com. Miller has authored or considered to be a range of books (Fodors, Sierra Club Books, Globe Pequot, The Milepost and others). He also writes for TravelAge West (a publication for tour operators) and with major newspapers and magazines.

Copyright (c) 2006 By Mike Miller -- All Rights Reserved
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