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Luxury cruises … for families?

Most luxury cruise lines are not nearly as family-friendly as their mainstream counterparts. Some actively discourage children while others simply don’t offer kid-friendly amenities. Crystal Cruises is attempting to become the exception to this rule. The luxury line is adding a “Family Reunion Cruises” section to its website to demonstrate how family members of all ages can enjoy a Crystal cruise.

It’s easy to see how a luxurious cruise ship would appeal to a family group of adults. Crystal goes one step further and offers activities aimed at younger sailors. On summer and holiday sailings, the Junior Activities Program lets kids participate in such supervised activities as baking cookies in the galley, visiting the bridge and meeting the captain, and exploring the backstage of the theater. Onboard playrooms are equipped with games and crafts projects, as well as video game systems.

I’ve never sailed with Crystal, so I can’t vouch for how family friendly the ships are. I would recommend families considering this route to choose a sailing that’s likely to have more children, such as a cruise during a school vacation period. The kids will find peers onboard, rather than suffering a week in all-adult company. It’s essential to choose an itinerary with ports and excursions your kids will enjoy—perhaps ask them what sounds most interesting. Finally, be sure to explain to the younger ones about the dinner dress code and proper onboard behavior before you depart for your vacation.

Crystal’s “Family Reunion” section will appear on its website in late December. That means you can see how your kids behave on this year’s winter vacation before you upgrade next year’s trip to a luxury cruise.

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