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Great Outdoors
Leaders In Alaska Small Ship Cruising Caters To Parents And Kids - Suggests Lineup Of Top Family-Designed Departures

Alaska, the most popular destination for small ship cruises, wraps its heart around families who choose to join a growing number of small ship family departures.

AdventureSmith Explorations, the travel company securing matches between adventure-seeking clients and a treasure trove of small expedition ships and land-based lodges, offers six distinct family itineraries that clients can match with the small ship of their choice. Cruise prices include most all land excursions so there are no hidden costs to a family.

"An Alaska family vacation can be a transformative adventure while sharing experiences like kayaking in front of a tidewater glacier, walking in an ancient temperate rainforest or watching whales at water level from a small skiff," says Todd Smith, AdventureSmith Explorations founder/owner. "The greatest benefit is traveling with like-minded families and kids of similar ages." Professional guides are family-oriented, meals are child-friendly and flexible activities offer multi-generational options.

AdventureSmith Explorations offers this lineup of distinctive family cruises for 2014:

  • Eastern Coves Family Adventure Cruise and Western Coves Family Adventure Cruise, among the most active cruise options, are suited to ages eight and up. Children will get the most out of their adventure by participating in off-vessel activities such as hiking, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. The 8-day Eastern Coves cruise travels from Juneau to Ketchikan; the 8-day Western Coves travels from Ketchikan to Juneau. The two cruises may be combined.

Kids in Nature departures are further geared toward entertaining and educating all ages. Children 12 and younger receive 25 percent off the adult fare. Eastern Coves utilizes the 60-guest Wilderness Adventurer on a July 19, 2014, departure and the 76-guest Wilderness Discoverer on a June 27, 2015, departure. Western Coves utilizes Wilderness Adventurer on July 26 and Aug. 9, 2014, departures and Wilderness Discoverer on July 4 and Aug. 1, 2015, departures.

  • Exploring Alaska's Coastal Wilderness is an 8-day cruise aboard the 62-guest National Geographic Sea Bird or Sea Lion , among the finest small ship expedition cruises in Alaska. National Geographic expedition leaders are professional experts in their field. Special programming for kids on all departures includes photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming, and child-friendly menu options with a special pizza and movie night. Travelers ages 17 years and under save $500 at double occupancy.
  • Discoverers' Glacier Country is an 8-day upscale family cruise exploring Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska's Inside Passage and Admiralty Island. Guests hike, kayak and whale-watch. Select Kids in Nature departures offer a savings of 25 percent in select cabin categories for children 12 years and younger. Departures aboard the 86-guest Safari Endeavour are July 20, 2014, or in 2015 June 21 and July 19. Departures aboard 22-guest Safari Quest are June 20 and July 18, 2014.
  • True Alaska Family Cruise is a 9-day cruise departing July 19, 2014, aboard the 49-guest Baranof Dream. The custom itinerary moves at a slower pace exploring Alaska's nature and Native American culture, visiting Sitka, Petersburg, Juneau and Hoonah. Activities include kayaking, Zego personal skiff rides and rough-terrain vehicle explorations in scenic Hobart Bay. Native crafts, scrapbooking, geology, scavenger hunts, game night, geo caching, a quick dip in the water ("Killer Whale Dip"), baking, knot tying, plant and animal identification and other special programs are available. Triple and quad accommodations are priced from $1,999 for children.
  • Alaska Island Spirit Family Cruise is aboard the 32-guest Island Spirit scheduled for a July 20-28, 2014, exploration of Alaska's towns and wilderness. The ship anchors in quiet coves so guests can enjoy the Alaskan solitude or kayak and walk the shore. A unique battery system allows for a complete shutdown of engines and generators at night, creating near-total peace and quiet. Kids travel two for one on the dedicated family cruise on July 20, 2014.

Throughout the season charter cruises provide options for family vacations, reunions and other occasions. Smaller charter yachts include the Glacier Bay Adventure Cruise aboard the 12-guest Sea Wolf, Active Inside Passage aboard the 12-guest Pacific Catalyst II and Active Prince William Sound Discovery aboard the 12-guest Discovery. When considering a charter, guests should plan ahead at least nine to 12 months or more in advance.

"We help clients compare itineraries and small ships, then we handle such details as traveling to the embarkation city, recommendations for packing, hotels, transfers, flights and tours, all at no extra cost to the client," Smith says.

            Founded in 2003, AdventureSmith Explorations is based in Tahoe City, CA, along the northern shore of Lake Tahoe. Early in his career, company founder Todd Smith helped pioneer the concept of wilderness small ship cruising in Alaska that incorporates the comforts of a floating base camp. In 2012, Smith joined the ranks of Conde Nast Traveler's prestigious 14th Annual Travel Specialists List as the world's expert on small ship expeditions. A distinction he received again in 2013. For information, availability and 2014 reservations, call (800) 728-2875 toll-free or visit
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