Monday 20 April 2015

Family Cruise Advice for Galapagos


Todd Smith wears many hats. For starters, he’s a dad, and during the work week, he’s the visionary force and face behind AdventureSmith Explorations, the small ship cruise experts (

These two hats alone make him a compendium of knowledge when it comes to cruising with young families. Check out his full blog post and story on family travel in the Galapagos at:

Following are his tips for nature-loving families who may be considering a trip-of-a-lifetime small ship cruise in the Galapagos Islands.
  • Consider if a cruise is family-focused or simply family-friendly.
  • Don’t expect child discounts on cruises offering quality experiences for families or cruise departures over popular holiday periods.
  • Be flexible as to travel dates if mingling with other families is a priority.
  • Plan to arrive in Ecuador minimally 48 hours before the cruise departure to allow for flight delays and weather.
  • Kids age six and older will enjoy family cruises to the Galapagos Islands. Keep in mind that there are no babysitting services aboard small ships.
“Not all family cruises are the same,” said Smith. “Family-focused cruises create an environment for multi generations to interact with each other, young and old experiencing and enjoying life together on the ship and on-shore. These cruises usually are offered over school holidays and in the summer and most likely include other families with children similar in age.”
Are family-focused cruises parent and youth centric?

“Yes, and with great results,” Smith said. “Young and old alike will be clamoring for the latest reports from a youthful birder, or encouraging a teenager trying out his fledgling language skills on someone else’s grandfather who speaks only Spanish.  As age boundaries disappear, enjoyment levels increase.”
Smith suggests these questions to ask when choosing a family-focused cruise:
  • Are guides and crew are trained to work with younger travelers?
  • What are some of the family bonding activities offered?
  • Are menus and meal times designed with younger travelers in mind?
  • Will children of similar ages be traveling on the same cruise?
AdventureSmith Explorations’ choices for top family-focus cruises in the Galapagos include:
Family-friendly cruises usually offer children’s menus and entertainment but aren’t as youth-centric as family-focused cruises. Smith’s recommendations for family-friendly cruises include those offered by National Geographic, “a perfect blend of activity and education with onboard experts.” The expedition leaders and naturalist staff aboard the 48 guest Islander and 96 guest Endeavour are tops in their field. This cruise is perfect for families willing to pay a premium for National Geographic leadership resulting in an intellectual and educational experience.

“On any cruise you select, remember that most of children today are wired in to their worlds at home. To help them disconnect and focus on where they are, photography and travel journals are ways they can record their experiences and collect material for show and tell and class work down the road. It is important to be sure each child has a camera,” said Smith.

Some clients prefer to travel just with their own family and friends. In these instances he suggests arranging a private family charter for a minimum of 12 and up to 100 people. The same professional level of staff and guide services are secured for charter cruises as are provided on departures open to the public.

For more information, cruise options, availability and 2015-2016 reservations, Phone: 800-728-2875 toll-free or visit

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