Families looking to expose older children to exotic and unique cruise destinations can take advantage of Oceania Cruises’ new Sirena Exotic Collection, scheduled to kick off next fall.
Perfect for families whose schedules allow for longer vacations, the itineraries offer in-depth explorations of the Holy Lands of Egypt, Israel and Turkey, the Arabian Peninsula, India, Myanmar and Indonesia.
By contrast, this isn’t the ship for families looking for the kinds of kid-centric amenities — like water slides and bowling alleys —available on some mainstream cruise lines. Instead, the 342-stateroom ship, which recently underwent a top-to-bottom redo, offers an elegant vibe, complete with a multimillion-dollar art collection that includes works by Jacques Pepin and Soumiya Lakshmi Krishnaswamy, and highly regarded cuisine.
Passengers as young as 1 year old are welcome, but ideally kids school-aged and older kids are a good fit, especially if they are experienced travelers. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult and must occupy the same stateroom as an adult.
The ship was originally scheduled to sail to Cuba during the winter and spring seasons, but thanks to the latest round of travel restrictions to the destination, the company revamped the schedule by extending the 2020 European season before moving on to more far-flung destinations for winter through spring 2021.
“We’ve thoughtfully crafted these immersive and off-the-beaten-path explorations to some of the hardest to reach destinations in the world to satiate our guests’ appetites for new and unusual travel experiences, “said Bob Binder, president and chief executive officer, Oceania Cruises.
The Sirena Exotic Collection comprises nine cruises of 10 to 24 days, sailing from November 2020 to April 2021.
All itineraries include overnight port calls with some itineraries featuring as many as four overnights along with such new ports as Marmaris in Turkey, Sir Bani Yas in the Emirates, Doha in Qatar, Al Bahrain in Bahrain, Al Khasab in Oman, and Sabang in Indonesia.
The season kicks off with a 12-day voyage from Jerusalem to Istanbul called Aegean Awakening, with calls in Haifa and Ashdod, Israel; Paphos in Cyprus; Alanya, Marmaris and Bodrum in Turkey; Crete and Athens in Greece, and Kusadasi and Istanbul in Turkey.
Sirena then charts a course through the Red Sea to explore the Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman and then on to India, the Maldives and Myanmar.
If all this seems a little too exotic, try one of the company’s kid-friendly Alaska departures, which features an Alaska Explorer Youth Program, designed for children ages 5–12, which showcases the beauty of the Northwest coast of Alaska through games, activities and Alaska-inspired special onboard events.
One of South Korea’s most-visited and famous cities, Incheon is home to nearly everything your family could want from a vacation. Between the city’s stunning temples and historic landmarks to its modern shopping centers and world-class amenities, including golf courses, spas and dining establishments, you’ll have your hands full in just choosing what to see and do.
Zermatt’s colorful ski boutique-lined Bahnhofstrasse, stylish apartment-style lodgings of every description and views of the Matterhorn from every angle make up one of Europe’s most family-friendly destinations — and it certainly does not hurt that it is proclaimed the “world’s best ski resort” by organizations like SnowOnline.com year after year. During the warmer months, meanwhile, you will see many family groups with kids strolling the shopping streets (sometimes alongside a herd of about 50 free-range Valais Blackneck goats around 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.), enjoying fondue and pizza at nearby cafés, and taking advantage of the many hiking and bike trails.
By Hainan Airlines
In a recent survey by Orbitz, 63 percent of millennial travelers said the hotel amenity they'd like to see more of is plants in hotel rooms. The same number said they seek plant-filled spaces and activities on vacation, including parks and botanical gardens.