Trip of a Lifetime - Take The Kids


Exotic Cruises are becoming more available for families

David Rentsch

President, Cruise Holidays

In June Mariner of the Seas will begin sailing Shanghai to Singapore cruises, with stops in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam; Hong Kong; Okinawa, Japan; and Jeju Island, South Korea, on 10-day sailings. These port calls present unique opportunities for families interested in experiencing a wide range of new adventures.

In Ho Chi Minh City, families can explore the city by rickshaw, sample traditional Vietnamese food, take a pedi-cab and shop at the Ben Thanh market.

As more and more people take to the seas, families who like to cruise have begun to look outside the box for exciting places to go, new things to do and more exotic locales. Many cruise lines have answered the call in the past few years by providing onboard programs and facilities that are more geared towards a larger age group. Though there are many examples of this for destinations throughout the world, I have highlighted three locations that stand out as areas that you may not have ever considered for a family vacation but should.

One of the hottest topics in the travel industry today is cruising in Asia. The region is being hailed as the “new Europe” by some, and cruise lines are lining up in Asia’s ports. Royal Caribbean, for one, announced that the Mariner of the Seas will join Voyager of the Seas in Asia this year.

“We’ve made it clear that we see Asia in general, and China in particular, as a growing area,” said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. “We have been so pleased by the market’s response to brining Voyager of the Seas to Asia that it made strategic sense to send a second ship of equal size

In Hong Kong, passengers have two days to explore the vibrant city on a variety of shore excursions, or families can choose to spend the day somewhere like Hong Kong Disneyland. Because the ship is docked overnight, guests should be sure to see the nightly light show that is visible from Kowloon Bay.

The islands of Okinawa offer a variety of excursions including city tours, temple visits and more. The Shuri Castle and Gyokusendo Cave tour takes passengers to these World Heritage sites. Afterward, guests head to Okinawa World, an arts and crafts theme park where more of Okinawa’s traditional wares can be seen.

On Jeju Island, families can combine a sophisticated temple tour with a stop at the Joanne Teddy Bear Museum. The Teddy Bear Museum is dedicated to the famous stuffed toy, and teddy bear artist Joanne Oh has created eco-friendly and luxury teddy bears. Joanne’s unique crafts come from hand weaving and a natural dyeing process. Visitors can view and photograph her with her finest teddy bear artwork.

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The Voyager ends in Singapore, where families will find more activities that they might have time for. Some top picks are visits to the new Marine Life Park, a night safari or a hop-on, hop-off bus tour.


Tahiti is certainly a trip of a lifetime destination for many people. And as romantic as it is to go there for a honeymoon, parents don’t have to leave the kids at home to enjoy this destination. One of the best ways to explore the islands of Tahiti is at sea, and Princess Cruises features several itineraries that welcome families aboard. Families with children looking to have an active adventure in the South Seas can choose from a variety of adventures without the inconvenience of having to pack and unpack daily.