The perfect multi-generational family vacation

By Elaine Pesky, Protravel International Luxury Travel Agent

One of my favorite trips was a family cruise through the Galapagos, a UNESCO World Heritage site. As many grandparents often do, myself and my husband—Protravel's Senior Vice President of Leisure Andy Pesky—hosted our children and grandchildren on this wonderful vacation aboard Celebrity Cruises. Sometimes we take only one or two of the kids; sometimes everyone. Even years later, everyone agrees this was one of their favorite trips, and perhaps that’s because we were all together.

Family photo during luxury family vacation in the Galapagos, Ecuador

We all learned a lot on this voyage. There were great lectures about wildlife and photography. And the on-board guides and naturalists helped us understand the environment were excellent. My grandsons, who ranged in age from about 10 to 16 at the time, were interested in everything, so it was a terrific education.

We especially loved all the outdoor activities. We traveled on a large boat, but on most days, everyone went out in small dinghies, and our family was a large enough group to fill our own. We went snorkeling, or landed on an island to go hiking or biking, and in some places, we were even able to go on a glass bottom boat to observe the marine life.

A playful sea lion in the waters off the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Among the highlights was hiking up a volcano. It was a lot of fun, and we all learned a lot about the area’s fiery past. Another fascinating experience was visiting the famous Charles Darwin Research Station, which has long offered visitors a great overview of the conservation work being done here.

View of giant tortoise eating grass during luxury family vacation in the Galapagos Ecuador

We also went to a private ranch in the highlands where we learned about and interacted with the Galapagos giant tortoise. These amazing creatures can grow up to four or five feet, weigh over 450 pounds and live more than one hundred years. The tortoises didn’t seem to even register our presence, so we were able to get quite close to them.

View of blue-footed booby birds during luxury family vacation in the Galapagos, Ecuador

We also got to see the adorable blue-footed boobies, who are quite awkward on land, but graceful in the air and when diving for food. Their name comes from the Spanish bobo which means foolish and describes how they look when they walk. We didn’t get to see them courting, but we learned that their courtship dance is quite picturesque and they mate for life.

View of Sea Lions during luxury family vacation in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

One of the boys was very into photography. At the time, he was a bit hyperactive. One day, he wanted to take pictures of sea lions on a beach where we stopped. The guide told him if he was very still, they would approach him, but it could take an hour. We were all amazed that he was able to hold still—and his pictures were astounding. I think it helped him see what he was capable of when he put his mind to something. We even got to plant some trees together, which was very rewarding, as we are strong supporters of sustainable tourism.

View of the Pesky family planting trees and giving back to the community during luxury family vacation to the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

After every trip, someone in the family pulls together everyone’s photos and creates an album that we print for every family member. Last Thanksgiving, we pulled out at our Galapagos trip book, and everyone had fun reliving the memories.

Cruise lines we recommend to book through Protravel for VIP amenities: Silversea, Celebrity Cruises, National-Geographic-Lindblad

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