Not all small-ship, luxury cruise lines offer destination immersion programs for youngsters, but Paul Gauguin Cruises does -- and has done so for several years.
The one-ship line, operating the 332-passenger Paul Gauguin, formed a relationship with oceanographer and environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau to create the Ambassadors of the Environment Youth Program. Cousteau is the son of the late scientist and ecologist Jacques Cousteau.
A series of cruises this summer and two in December feature the Ambassadors program, which provides hands-on, interactive learning focusing on the natural wonders of French Polynesia, the Paul Gauguin's cruising region.
"This program offers young guests ages 9 to 17 and their families a suite of onboard activities and daily excursions under the guidance of expert Ocean Futures Society naturalists," said a spokeswoman for the line.
"The naturalists foster important lessons about living a sustainable lifestyle [while] exploring Polynesia's ecosystems and inspiring them to protect these fragile ecosystems no matter where they live on the planet."
The Ambassadors program has been very successful since its launch nearly nine years ago, and the line has been offering it ever since, the spokeswoman said.
The youngsters explore coral reefs, learn about volcanic islands and forest ecology, experience Polynesian culture, hike the rain forest trails and visit ancient Polynesian temples, for example.
Parents have the option to join their children on the guided eco-excursions and other activities aboard and ashore.
The per-child cost is $299.
The Ambassadors program is being offered in 2012 on the following itineraries:
- Seven-night Tahiti & the Society Island cruises on eight summer departures.
- A 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus cruise July 11.
- An 11-night Cook Islands & Society Islands sailing June 30.
- A 14-night cruise to the Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands Aug. 18.
- Seven-night Tahiti & the Society Islands holiday cruises departing Dec. 22 and 29.
Itineraries and pricing are online at www.pgcruises.com.
Additionally, the line announced that Cousteau in 2013 will sail aboard four Paul Gauguin cruises, presenting a series of lectures and videos from his work in oceanography. The cruises depart Feb. 2, June 26, Sept. 21 and Nov. 2 and visit destinations such as the Society Islands and Cook Islands.