Posh and, on Occasion, Kid Friendly
If you want to go first-class, here are the lines that'll float your boat. Though decidedly grown-up in their offerings, several have summer and holiday cruises with frills for families.
Radisson Seven Seas
Its newest all-suite, all-balcony ship, the Seven Seas Mariner, introduces Club Mariner, a kid's program focusing on Alaska's wildlife and heritage: whales, totem poles, and glaciers! 800/285-1835; www.rssc.com.
Ten luxury ships follow exotic routes: a seven-day voyage around the Tahitian Islands; Athens to Singapore in 30 days. Starting in December, the gangways open for the first time to kids under 18. 877/549-1124; www.renaissancecruises.com.
Among the crew on the Seabourn Sun's winter holiday voyage are kids' counselors and a Jule Nissen (hey Santa, that's you in Norwegian), who lead carol- singing, hand out presents, and serve Shirley Temples at "mocktail" parties. 800/929-9391; www.seabourn.com.
On four yachtlike ships, Silversea dishes out premium services—from suites with roomy verandas to French-accented meals served on Frette linens to onboard driving ranges. Sample routes: Cape Town to Zanzibar and Mombasa (15 days); the New England and Canadian coastline (11 days). Families are welcome, if not specifically catered to. 800/774-9996; www.silversea.com.
Specializing in eastern Mediterranean and South American routes—a week in the Greek Islands; Guatemala, Honduras, and Belize in 11 days—Royal Olympic has family cabins (a standard cabin linked to another cabin) on its newest ships, the Voyager and the Explorer. 800/872-6400; www.royalolympiccruises.com.
Before you hit the seas, surf these sites: www.cruising.org, the cruise industry's official site; www.a1supercruises.com, www.expedia.com, and www.icruise.com for deals and discounts; and www.cruisemates.com for tips, opinions, and planning info.