In fall, winter and spring, Seven Seas Mariner is, without question, an adult ship; there is little to occupy children, and there are no kids' facilities. However, during the summer months, the ship's Alaska itineraries really are marketed to families. Editor's Note: While the ship, overall, garners a family-friendly rating of 3, it's important to note that the Alaska offerings bump that particular score to a 4.
Some Alaska sailings offer both a Club Mariner kids program for the follow age groups: 5 - 8, 9 - 12 and 13-17. There's also an innovative Ambassadors of the Environment (AOTE) program, run by Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society, a non-profit organization.
The program features onboard activities that teach kids about totem polls, marine mammals and glaciers and focus on cultural activities like making native, Alaskan bread and nature-watching. Each sailing features one AOTE-organized shore excursion (on our trip, a raptors' sanctuary in Sitka). The cost of the program is $165 per child, and the off-ship tour is included.
Club Mariner, the ship's more mainstream kids' program, is fee-free. Activities include board games, card games, outdoor sports, native Alaskan arts and crafts projects and theme nights that have included "Alaskan Olympics" or "Survivor." Youth dinners are offered every night in Alaska, except on the cruise's first evening and when docked in Juneau.
One challenge is that the two programs often occur simultaneously; some schedule-juggling may be necessary.
In-cabin babysitting can be arranged, but there are no structured group arrangements. Seven Seas Mariner can't accommodate infants younger than one year old and won't accept reservations from women who will be more than six months pregnant by the end of their cruise.