If you are looking for an epic family vacation that fully immerses you in a new culture, gets you close to nature and is fun for kids and parents alike, then you definitely need to check out an expedition cruise with Adventure Canada. Unlike any other cruise you’ve been on, Adventure Canada brings remote and amazing destinations like Iceland, Newfoundland and Greenland within reach for adventurers of all ages. Read on for all the reasons why this will be a family travel experience you won’t soon forget!

photo: Kate Loweth

1. It's a Cruise Unlike Other Cruises.

When you book an Adventure Canada expedition cruise, know that you are in for a totally different experience from the typical big-ship tropical cruise. Adventure Canada uses the small ships like the Ocean Endeavor that welcomes only 198 passengers aboard each journey. This means that you and your family will receive personal attention from the ship and Adventure Canada expedition team throughout your trip. Things like dietary restrictions are no problem as the staff will know you by name within hours of embarkation. 

Small ship life also gives the expedition team the flexibility to adjust the itinerary when the schedule allows. On the recent Iceland Circumnavigation cruise, they were able to slow the ship's progress to have more time to see nearby blue and humpback whales. They are also able to add on experiences like zodiac tours at the request of passengers. This flexibility makes for a more specialized and full cruise experience. 

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photo: Dennis Minty

2. Adventure is the Name of the Game.

Travel on a small ship means that you get to visit off-the-beaten-path locations. The Iceland Circumnavigation cruise not only docks in larger cities like Reykjavik and Akureyri, but you anchor off the coast of small fishing villages and islands that are inhabited by more birds than people.

To get to shore, passengers don their required rain pants and waterproof excursion jackets and board zodiac boats from the ship's gangway. When there are a number of families traveling on an excursion, the Adventure Canada team will often create a "kids' zodiac" group so that families can travel together! This zodiac ride just kicks off the adventure that is waiting for you on shore. 

photo: Kate Loweth

3. You'll Experience Nature Like Never Before.

Every day on an Adventure Canada excursion brings a new gorgeous spot to explore. You'll hike to waterfalls, learn about volcanoes and visit local nature reserves to discover the flora and fauna of the area. Heading to an area with a large whale population? You'll find a whale watch tour on your itinerary for the day, followed by a tour of the local whale museum. 

Not only do you get inside info from experts when you are on shore, Adventure Canada brings aboard naturalists and local experts to provide interactive discussions about the country you are visiting. This is especially great for curious kids as it gets them the details that you might not know yourself. They can ask an ornithologist how far an Arctic Tern can fly before landing, or a volcanologist what happens when a volcano erupts under a glacier. If the on-board experts don't know the answer for you, they will find someone who does. 

photo: Kate Loweth

4. You'll Leave the Planning to the Experts.

Travel to a far-off destination can be overwhelming to plan. Websites, travel guides, recommendations from friends and more—it is easy to get bogged down in the details. Adventure Canada takes the stress out of travel by providing a pre-planned itinerary that's still able to be modified to suit your family's needs. Every day you'll receive an itinerary with the day's scheduled onshore activities that are included in the cruise cost. In addition, there are often opportunities to customize your experience with additional excursions.

When the Iceland Circumnavigation cruise visited the small fishing village of Rif, travelers could choose to visit the town's local theater for a musical performance, hike to a gorgeous waterfall or visit the beach to learn about local shorebirds. Expedition staff were available to shuttle travelers back to the ship as needed, accommodating those who wanted to grab an early lunch or a nap on board. 

photo: Adventure Canada

5. There are Cabins That are Perfect for Families.

While most of your time on an Adventure Canada cruise will be spent exploring, it is important to have a comfortable cabin for your crew. Families can reserve cabins that sleep up to four and most of these come with two bathrooms. Ample storage closets, refrigerators, TVs (for shipboard programming) and desks also come with certain cabin categories. 

photo: Kate Loweth

6. Onboard Life is as Busy or as Relaxing as You Prefer.

You won't be spending all your time on the ship in your cabin, that's for sure. While you are en route to your next port, the Adventure Canada staff plans activities like yoga, games gatherings, performances from local musicians and more. When they have a slew of kids on board, they'll put together a craft activity and make a "kids club" to give parents a break. Kids will love musician David Newland who provides musical emcee duties throughout the voyage. 

Kids (and parents) can even participate in the famed "Polar Dip"—a jump into the frigid water off the ship's gangway that comes with induction into the Adventure Canada Polar Swim Team and commemorative patch. 

You'll find naturalists on deck to spot whales and other sea life (and they'll often make an announcement over the shipboard intercom system when there's a lot of activity in the water so that you can head out and see for yourself!). If there's a discussion or daily recap going on in the lounge, you can also view it from the TV in your cabin if you prefer to have some relaxation time. For the utmost in relaxation, spend some time in the hot tub or book a massage in the spa. 

photo: Kate Loweth

7. Adventure Canada Caters to All Ages.

Thinking about planning a three-generational family trip or a grandparent-grandchild skip-gen voyage? This is the cruise for you. The small ship makes for easy maneuvering even for older members of your family who might be mobility restricted and the expedition crew is there to help everyone fully participate in the activities. Parents will feel safe giving older kids the run of the ship as there's not far to wander.

Family groups have the flexibility of getting a reserved dining table so that you can dine together, or choosing your own spot from the open seating if dining at different times. The flexible daily schedule and variety in programming allows for those with different interests and levels of fitness to tailor their schedules to suit them. All of this makes an Adventure Canada expedition a fun option for a family gathering with a wide range of ages. 

photo: Kate Loweth

8. You'll Be on Your Way to Raising the Next Generation of World Travelers.

With the ability to visit unique destinations like the High Arctic, Labrador and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, your kids will see a world like no other. Spend some time exploring local villages, see how other children play, visit local museums and explore the culture.

Adventure Canada is dedicated to "treading lightly" on the areas they visit and does many things to give back to the local communities. The end of each cruise brings a ship-board auction with the proceeds going to local community organizations. They also collect unwanted outdoor gear and clothing at the end of the trip and donate it to the local community. Programs like these can teach your kids how to be conscious and gracious travelers. 

photo: Kate Loweth

9. The Price is Right to Bring the Kids Along.

Travel of this magnitude can be pricey when you consider bringing the kid crew with you. Adventure Canada wants to make it easier for families to travel together by offering a number of incentives. Kids ages two and under travel for free and those ages 2-4 pay only for charter airfare. And, anyone under the age of 30 saves 30% on berth cost. 

photo: Kate Loweth

10. Travel is the Only Thing You Buy That Makes You Richer.

If you are ready to expand your world and build memories that you'll have for years to come, then head to the Adventure Canada website for more information on upcoming expedition cruises. 2020 Ocean Endeavor excursions booked by October 31, 2019 receive a 15% discount. 

Online: adventurecanada.com

—Kate Loweth

This trip was paid for by Adventure Canada but all opinions belong to the writer. 

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