Family Cruising to Mexico

NCL’s complimentary children’s program is Kid’s Crew, which is loaded with amenities and activities: Wii on 2-story video screens that allows kids to play anything from tennis to boxing against each other, T-shirt painting, ultimate pillow fighting, cooking classes and special dinners. It all depends on the child’s age and whim. One of the cruise line’s most ingenious offerings is the Officer Snook Water Pollution program, which teaches children about the effects of marine pollution and how to prevent it. Kids 2-5 get to enjoy the Undersea Hospital, while the tween crowd has such activities as Beach Clean Up and Catch and Release, which helps them identify endangered species. Meanwhile, teens in high school get the chance to earn up to five community service hours through theKid’s Crew program.

NCL also offers age-specific packages for the younger set: the Kid’s Crew Backpack with Unlimited Soda program, at $39.50, gets them a backpack with t-shirt, baseball cap and a wristband good for free beverage fill-ups, while the Teen Passport program for kids 13-17 ($34.50) gets them a booklet with tickets for 20 drinks, admission to an afternoon dance party with DJ and pizza, and a farewell party on the last evening.

The Norwegian Star, which comes with a splash pool, sends clients off on a 7-day Mexican Riviera roundtrip from Los Angeles, with dates in October and December of this year and throughout 2010 (starting at $399 pp dbl)—or they can extend their holiday on the Norwegian Sun, which offers an 11-day option. Besides Cabo, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, the latter visits the lovely port of La Paz, where clients can sign up for a snorkel on Balandra Bay or a visit to various artisans, and Tobolobampo, where they can explore the Copper Canyon by train or hop on a river raft for a naturalist-guided float and visit the city of EL Fuerte on foot. The 11-day cruise leaves and returns to San Francisco and starts at $549 pp dbl, with dates still available for the end of October.