Expedition Cruises Make Awe-Inspiring Family Adventures

Adventure-Outdoor, Cruises

Small ship expedition cruises are perfect for multigenerational groups seeking amazing discoveries, magical wildlife encounters, and extraordinary activities

Multigenerational families are reuniting to make memories and explore the globe together. Cruises are a top option for these kinds of trips. These stress-free vacations are a fantastic way for family groups to reconnect and enjoy new shared experiences.

In a recent family-focused travel advisor survey, over 60% of travel agents reported that multigenerational travel currently outpaces traditional family vacations comprised of parents and children. In addition, more than 55% of travel advisors surveyed were actively booking international cruises for family trips. Demand for small ship expedition cruising is booming, and families are catching the wave.

A young guest photographs humpback whales from the ship’s bow in Southeast Alaska. (Photo Courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, Copyright Jeff Litton)

A young guest photographs humpback whales from the ship’s bow in Southeast Alaska. (Photo Courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, Copyright Jeff Litton)

Expedition voyages are an exceptional way for family groups to bond while visiting some of the world’s wildest places. On these extraordinary voyages, the enchanting, nature-rich destinations are the stars of the show. While international itineraries are popular, Alaska is also a top choice.

I sailed on a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic voyage in Baja California Sur earlier this year, and the array of enriching experiences was astounding. There were so many immersive opportunities for families to learn about the natural world.

“Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic leads expeditions that can take travelers from the bow of a ship spotting a supergroup of whales to assisting in scientific advancements with our Citizen Science program,” said Noah Brodsky, Lindblad Expeditions’ chief commercial officer.

Today’s family-friendly expedition voyages provide a wonderful mix of learning, exploration, and adventure. My recent experience with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic highlighted the strong appeal of these memorable journeys. Here are eleven key benefits of expedition cruising for families and multigenerational groups.

Adult guests and young explorers hiking on pack ice in Antarctica. (Photo Courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, Copyright Michael S. Nolan)

Adult guests and young explorers hiking on pack ice in Antarctica. (Photo Courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, Copyright Michael S. Nolan)

Immersive Expedition Cruises in Bucket-List Destinations

According to the 2024 Virtuoso Luxe Report, today’s upscale travelers are seeking to visit remote destinations around the globe. Expedition cruises make it easy for families to explore. Award-winning Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic offers an exciting collection of off-the-beaten-path itineraries for families and multigenerational travelers.

“As families redefine the meaning of shared adventures, expedition cruising has emerged as a unique way to guide them to uncharted territories,” noted Noah Brodsky. Some popular destinations for family groups include the Galápagos, Alaska, Antarctica, Baja California and the Arctic.

Stress-Free All-Inclusive Family Vacations

Expedition cruises are a hassle-free way for families to explore the wonders of the planet together. Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic voyages are all-inclusive, with meals, beverages and activities included in the fare. Family members simply unpack once and enjoy the trip, making it even easier to relax and make memories together. The Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic team can help family groups make all their arrangements, from flights and transfers to hotels and staterooms, so the entire experience is seamless and worry-free.

Perfect For Making Unforgettable Memories Together

Expedition cruises are trips of a lifetime, offering extraordinary opportunities for enrichment and exploration. These shared moments become treasured family heirlooms, lasting longer than gifts of things.

“Year over year, we’re seeing an increase in family and multigenerational group bookings across our fleet, and that’s because expedition cruising provides the perfect setting for families and friends to connect, explore and grow closer,” said Noah Brodsky.

Brodsky commented that it’s often grandmothers who organize Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic multigenerational group trips, and travel advisors I spoke with agreed. Many grandparents cover the cost of these expedition cruises for their family members, making it easier for the entire family to reunite and enjoy the trip.

Family-friendly stateroom on Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic ship. (Photo Courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic)

Family-friendly stateroom on Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic ship. (Photo Courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic)

Well-Equipped Small Ships Ideal for Family Bonding

Family groups are often seeking out smaller ships for multigenerational vacations and reunions. These intimate ships access remote areas larger ships can’t reach and provide the perfect home base, making it easier for generations to connect and spend time together. Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic’s 17 well-designed expedition ships hold a maximum of 148 guests and offer an ideal blend of luxury and comfort. Two recently acquired purpose-built Galápagos expedition ships will join the line’s fleet next year. Some family staterooms are available on Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic’s vessels, and the atmosphere onboard is casual and relaxed. The line’s Starlink partnership provides reliable Internet technology in remote areas, making expedition sailings more accessible for groups with family members who may need to work remotely during the trip.

Enriching Activities for All Ages, Interests and Mobility Levels 

Expedition cruises provide activities and adventures to suit a wide range of travelers, adding to the appeal for multigenerational family groups with diverse ages and needs. Every Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic sailing is custom-designed for the composition of guests onboard. No two are alike. Multiple levels of off-ship activities are available to cater to all interests and fitness levels. The expedition team works hard to ensure the needs of all interests and abilities are met.

On my recent Baja California cruise, activities included hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding, nature-focused Zodiac excursions, cultural experiences, and more. Options for each hiking activity ranged from easy to more challenging, and some focused on specific interests such as photography or birding. While expedition cruises are filled with discovery and adventure, it’s reassuring for families to know safe exploration is always paramount on Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic voyages, and all sailings have a medical professional onboard.

Young explorers watch a Galápagos giant tortoise in Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands. (Photo Courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, Copyright Ralph Lee Hopkins)

Young explorers watch a Galápagos giant tortoise in Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands. (Photo Courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, Copyright Ralph Lee Hopkins)

Amazing Up-Close Wildlife Encounters 

Epic wildlife experiences in the world’s most untouched locations are some of the most memorable aspects of expedition cruising. Opportunities abound in many destinations, including the Galápagos, Antarctica, Alaska and Baja California. Generations can bond and explore together while sharing unforgettable moments with wildlife, such as Galápagos giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, sea lions, dolphins, bald eagles, and penguins. Some of my favorite experiences from my Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic voyage included snorkeling with curious sea lions, watching numerous humpback whales breaching, and enjoying up-close encounters with California gray whales. Photography opportunities are stellar as well.

Outstanding Expert-Led Programming on Expedition Cruises

Expedition voyages designed for family groups offer enriching activities and experiences onboard and ashore. These opportunities for destination immersion, learning and discovery are key to the expedition cruising experience.

One of the many advantages of the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic partnership is being on board with a highly experienced team of National Geographic experts. These inspiring scientists, photographers and specialists have unparalleled knowledge and are passionately committed to sharing their insights via educational presentations, in-depth interactions, and activities ashore. Each expedition cruise features a National Geographic certified photo instructor who offers classes, tips and photography-themed excursions ashore.

Young global explorer collecting plankton in Baja California Sur, Mexico. (Photo Courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, Copyright David Vargas)

Young global explorer collecting plankton in Baja California Sur, Mexico. (Photo Courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, Copyright David Vargas)

Engaging Experiences for Kids and Teens  

Family-friendly expedition cruises broaden children’s perspectives and understanding of the natural world. Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic’s exclusive National Geographic Global Explorers program for kids and teens makes it fun for family groups to learn and explore the globe together. Created with National Geographic Education, this unique, hands-on program for kids 18 and under is available on select Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic itineraries. Led by National Geographic certified field educators, kids and teens can enjoy cool activities like snorkeling and wildlife watching, examining plankton under a video microscope and learning to pilot a Zodiac. Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic also offers special discounts for groups and children under 18 years of age.

Strong Commitment to Sustainability and Conservation 

Experiencing the awe-inspiring beauty of the world’s wildest places inspires travelers to become passionate stewards of our planet. Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has offered expedition cruises for nearly 60 years and has continually been a global leader in responsible travel, modeling what it means to be a catalyst for change. The cruise line is carbon neutral, ships are free of single-use plastics, and foods are sustainably and responsibly sourced. In addition, Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic actively supports local communities and artisans, empowers citizen science, and supports conservation projects worldwide through its outstanding Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Fund. On these exceptional expedition cruises, family groups can give back and make a positive impact while traveling.

Kayaks available for Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic guests in Baja California Sur, Mexico. (Photo Credit: Nancy Schretter)

Kayaks available for Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic guests in Baja California Sur, Mexico. (Photo Credit: Nancy Schretter)

Abundant Gear for Exploring the Natural World

Expedition cruises allow families to dive deep into discovery on ships purpose-built for exploration. A wealth of complimentary exploration gear and cutting-edge tools are available for guests on Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic’s expedition voyages. On my recent cruise, these included wetsuits for all guests, gear bags, binoculars, snorkeling equipment, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and Zodiacs. Guests were also delighted to hear humpback whale songs via the ship’s underwater microphone called a hydrophone. Underwater cameras, video microscopes and spotting scopes are featured on ships as well. In addition, an onboard OM System Photo Gear Locker outfitted with cameras and equipment is also available free of charge.

Vibrant Community of Staff and Guests  

Family groups will enjoy sailing together and interacting with the fascinating, enrichment-oriented staff and guests on expedition cruises. A strong sense of community and camaraderie develops between staff and guests on Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic expedition voyages. These unforgettable sailings attract global travelers with shared strong interests in learning, nature, discovery and adventure. Kids and teens often develop lasting friendships while participating in National Geographic Global Explorers program activities, and family ties grow stronger as well. With these kinds of connections, it’s easy to see why families often return to make memories time and time again.

For more expert insights and tips on cruising, get your free subscription to Destination Reunions today.

By Nancy Schretter, Contributing Editor

Header photo courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, Copyright David Vargas

 

 

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