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Best Cruises for Families

Pick your dreamboat and sail away on one of these cool new megaships.

By Ellen Parlapiano

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Golden Princess
Courtesy of Princess
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Golden Princess

Alaskan nature cruise: glaciers and orcas with a hint of history.

Leaves from: Seattle (May through September)

Sails to: Ketchikan; Juneau; Skagway; Victoria, British Columbia

Family Features: This newly renovated ship has five pools, including one that simulates swimming against the current. (Paddle for fun—and fitness!) Movies Under the Stars theater invites you to watch flicks from the pool or a deck chair. As you sail Alaska's scenic Inside Passage, naturalists point out sights and wildlife. Visit historic gold rush towns on port days and learn from hometown heroes: In Juneau meet the first woman to win the Iditarod dog race; in Skagway, a Native American storyteller brings local legends to life.

Teen Time: On deck in Glacier Bay, kids get a private viewing of the icebergs (and sometimes whales). National Park rangers encourage eco-awareness and explain global warming. When the sun goes down, Remix club for teens presents dinners, formal nights, and hot tub parties. Tweens have a space of their own: Shockwaves hosts pizza and ice cream events, talent shows, and scavenger hunts, as well as video game and trivia tourneys.

Parent Portal: Find solitude in the Sanctuary relaxation area ($10 per half-day), with massage cabanas and stewards who spritz you with Evian. On Glacier Bay days, Sanctuary guests are given binoculars, fleece blankets, and their own park ranger who delivers commentary. Toast the stunning scenery with a mug of Alaskan Summer Ale.

Innovative Eateries: Regional specialties (reindeer chili, anyone?) are showcased in the main dining room and at gala events. Expect several kinds of smoked salmon at Glacier Bay Buffet. On Deck Fish Barbecue has grilled prawns and Alaskan crab cakes.

More Info: 7-day cruises from $649 per person; $499 per person for 3rd & 4th passenger in cabin; 800-PRINCESS;

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