The Specialty Lines
THE BOAT CO.
This nonprofit outfit runs two converted wooden Navy minesweepers (one holds 12 people, the other 20) and an aluminum replica (capacity: 24) among the islands of Alaska's Tongass National Forest, the world's largest intact temperate rain forest. Trips span six to nine days, and families are welcome to take over whole boats. Flexibility factor: Itineraries are planned daily, based on the group's consensus. 206/624-4242; www.theboatcompany.com.
DISNEY CRUISE LINES
Two 2,400-passenger ships tour the Caribbean for three, four, or seven nights. All routes include a stop at a Disney-owned island in the Bahamas with a beach for kids (a simulated archaeological dig nearby is salted with fossils), one for teens, and one for adults seeking massages in ocean-facing cabanas. Most popular package: The 7-Night Land & Sea combination, with three or four nights at Disney World, three or four nights on the cruise—and only one check-in. 888/325-2500; www.disneycruise.com.
Of the company's adventure-oriented roster, trips to the Galápagos, Alaska, and the Scandinavian coastline have the most multi-generational appeal. Onboard and onshore commentators explain mysteries such as the giant tortoise's longevity. The ships hold up to 110 people and can be chartered; www.expeditions.com.
WORLD EXPLORER CRUISES
From May through August, the company's 731-passenger ship tours Alaska, and in December and January, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America. The laid-back Youth Activities Center takes kids to observe a Northwest Indian woodcarver and visit an eagle refuge. Most popular family outing: The Alaska cruise's sailing tour of Glacier Bay, an 80-mile-deep fjord that's home to whales and sea otters. 800/854-3835; www.wecruise.com.