Island Lovers, take note!
Let the trade winds sweep your cares away when you explore the islands of French Polynesia aboard a four-masted sailing yacht. A great getaway to experience with your teens, adult children or extended family, Windstar sailing ships deliver explorers to an island paradise where blue lagoons and pristine coral reefs provide epic snorkeling, scuba diving and Jet Ski options.
Kayak and paddleboard off the back of the ship’s sports deck. Learn about local cultures during hiking, kayaking and museum-centric shore excursions. Later, relax on a small island (motu) where you can sip coconut drinks, listen to the nimble sounds of a ukulele drifting in the distance and cool off in the sapphire-colored sea.
Learn to sail or relax and let the wind ( and your ship’s captain ) set your course. Spending time on the water gives family travelers a chance to reconnect and see the world from a different point of view.
Here are seven ways to set sail with your family on board:
1.Out The Front Door.
Beautiful resorts like the Palau Pacific Resort, in Micronesia, offer colorful sailboats for the use of their guests. Relax on the beach, then invite one of your family members to share time on the water. (Go ahead. Race! ) This enchanting 160-room resort opened in 1984 on the site of a WW2 Japanese Seaplane base. Abiding by Palauan law, it was constructed no higher than the tallest coconut tree on the property and provides a picturesque, natural setting for a family holiday. Plan to spend time at the spa, snorkel, dive, kayak, hike nature trails and of course, sail!
2. Hop on a Maine Schooner.
Uniting their passion for historic windjammers with delectable food and top side fun, this “mom and pop” entrepreneurial pair (mom is the gourmet chef, pop is on deck) will share their love for the Maine coast with you and your family aboard the J&E Riggin. Book three, four or six day outings. Pitch in or chill out – the choice is yours.
Contact: 1-800-869-0604; www.MaineWindJammer.com.
3. Darwin’s Destination.
Have you seen the blue-footed boobies? If not, set sail through the Galapagos Islands where the water and islands are teeming with exotic and colorful wildlife. It’s a trip of a lifetime.
Contact: 1-800-941-8010; www.BoundlessJourneys.com
4. Turkish Delight.
Wander through small coastal villages. Explore hidden rock coves, wooded inlets and magnificent ruins from the Roman, Greek, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. Guests explore the coast and learn from local guides. This 15-day adventure is hand-crafted by ROW founder, Peter Grubb, and provides active exploration on the Aegean Sea and Lycian Shore. Departures: June, September, October.
Contact: 800-451-6034; www.RowInternational.com
5. On Your Own.
Sail from Tortola , St. Martin , St. Lucia , Canouan , Belize , Baja or the Bahamas and enjoy relaxing days on tranquil seas. The Moorings provides sea worthy vessels, enabling families to sail on their own or hire a crew.
Contact: 1-888-952-8420; www.moorings.com.
6.Small ship. Big luxury.
Board a small ship and set sail for the Mediterranean, Greek Isles, Caribbean, Costa Rica, Polynesia
or through the Panama Canal. Windstar Cruises operates three sailing yachts known for their pampering without pretense and their ability to visit the hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world’s most treasured destinations. Best for older children.
Contact: 1-800-258-7245; www.windstarcruises.com.
7. Great Lakes Getaway.
Spend a few hours or a few days aboard a charming, but floating “bed and breakfast”. Sailing from Traverse City, Michigan, you’ll enjoy the grandeur of the Great Lakes from a majestic sailing vessel.
Contact: 1-800-678-0383; www.TallShipSailing.com