High school graduations deserve a milestone family celebration - one that will generate memories to last a lifetime. Such an event can also double as a powerful learning experience to help teens prepare for college as well. Ecoventura, the leader in responsible small ship tourism in the Galapagos, has come up with a teen-tested family travel offering that fits the bill perfectly.
This year, Ecoventura invited 10 teens and 10 parents to join a June graduation cruise aboard the M/Y Eric. The ship departed Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on the Island of San Cristobal on June 7, returning to port eight days later. The ship and its passengers journeyed on a voyage of discovery throughout the Galapagos Islands, learning about this fragile destination, celebrating, and enjoying each others' company as they sailed together on their yacht.
"I wanted to put together an epic trip for my 18-year-old graduate that she and I would cherish the rest of our lives," states Mike Thomsen, a guest from Iowa. "This trip more than fulfilled those dreams!"
Over the week, the yacht crossed the Equator four times visiting the islands of Genovesa, Fernandina, Isabela, Santiago, Santa Cruz, Espanola and San Cristobal. Three fun-filled excursions per day were included, keeping the active teens and their parents constantly busy. Planned activities included snorkeling with penguins and sea lions, naturalist guided wildlife hikes, nature photography, lava tube exploration, star gazing, and a night out on the town in Puerto Ayora, the largest settlement in the Galapagos.
Unplanned activities included moonlight card games, jumping like pirates off the upper deck to storm a nearby ship at anchor, and a graduation party with dancing and live musical entertainment courtesy of the captain, crew and guides. Teens had fun making new friends and exploring the Galapagos together while still making lasting vacation memories with their families. This type of peak vacation experience is rare indeed.
"Based on the success and glowing guest feedback we received from teens and adults alike, this is something we're going to orchestrate and promote in 2010 and for years to come," said Doris Welsh, Ecoventura's Director of Sales and Marketing. "What better way to celebrate the end of 12+ years of schooling than to relax and unwind in such an exotic environment with family and new found friends."
In light of this successful experience, Ecoventura has scheduled 2010 "Graduation Celebration" teen/parent cruises for May 30-June 6, June 6-13, and June 13-20. All-inclusive, per person rates start at $3,150. This price does not include airfare or the national park entrance fee.
Ecoventura also offers special family departures throughout the year geared towards teens and children as young as seven, with discounts of 25% for ages 7-11 and 15% for those ages 12-17. In addition to wildlife viewing, snorkeling, kayaking and hiking, kids can visit the bridge on these trips and learn about navigational charts and tie nautical knots with the Captain. Family-centered events such as drawing contests, ice cream socials and a special King Neptune costume party and talent show are also offered.