Grandparent-teen or tween windjammer cruises in Maine
Recently, a story appeared on the TODAY Show explaining how Generation Z is bucking the trend and going “social-free”. Realizing for themselves how the “scroll generation” is impacted by the barrage of comparisons that social media creates between kids, many teens and younger children are self-unplugging, but certainly not all. From the recent news of data breaches to hash-tag motivated deletions of social media, plenty of people are turning to a less-plugged-in lifestyle. So where do families go for disconnected destinations? And if grandparents are seeking the opportunity to spend some time unplugged with their teen or “tween” grandchildren, where can they go where Gen Z won’t mind trading screens for time with Gramps and Gram? They turn to the Maine Windjammer Association, the largest fleet of National Historic Landmark vessels in the country. Best of all, a Maine Windjammer vacation offers something for everyone in the family. From tweens to teens to Millennials, Boomers and Seniors, windjamming checks off the boxes for Gen X, Y, Z and more, and offers an adventure that all those generations will enjoy unplugged together.
Windjamming is the ideal adventure for kids aged 10 and up. The eight historic schooners in the Maine Windjammer Association fleet offer everything from beachcombing to s’mores, sailing lessons, and the chance to live like a pirate but not quite so rigourous. Whether they mean to or not, cell phones and video games will soon take a lower priority once the wi-fi signal disappears. And surprisingly, they’ll be too busy to miss it!
Step onboard a Maine windjammer and immediately there are so many new and fun things to discover that devices soon take second fiddle. Once they’ve set sail, the relaxed atmosphere is filled with opportunities to help onboard. Setting sails, steering, polishing brass or learning to tie knots fills the time while underway. Best of all, kids can embark on these activities alongside their parents and grandparents, making it a family adventure and the chance to re-connect.
Each day, the boats are under sail for approximately six or less hours, enroute to a different island. Once in port, the scene is filled with swimming, beachcombing, skipping rocks, kayaking or possibly learning how to use a stand-up paddleboard. Every windjammer cruise includes a Downeast Lobster Bake on the beach of one of the islands. For many kids, tweens and teens, the s’mores are the favorite part!
The windjammers are a great platform for birding…stable, quiet and on the move. Wildlife spotting is an important part of the experience too. Picture the joy in a salty grandfather teaching his younger-salt how to tie knots or spot birds. Imagine the photos of two generations combing the beach for sea glass, rowing the ship’s dinghy ashore or hoisting sails together. Priceless. And the beauty of a windjammer vacation for the older travelers in the party is that it can be as relaxing or as adventurous as one wishes. Naps are commonly enjoyed by guests of all ages! There’s plenty of time to enjoy kids and grandkids, but plenty of other passengers to keep conversations fresh. Everyone enjoys the thrill of experiencing a whale sighting, racing past another schooner, keeping an eye out for lighthouses or enjoying a delicious home-cooked meal. If Grandparents are treating their family to a vacation, the price is right…all meals and accommodations are included at a rate of about $200/person/day. And the priceless part is spending time with everyone in the family together.
All of the eight Maine Windjammer Association vessels will welcome grandparents and grandchildren traveling together. The vessels vary in the minimum age for guests. The Victory Chimes, for example, will allow children ten and up (that’s the youngest). The other boats’ minimum ages are a little older. Grandparents and grandchildren are welcome to travel together on any cruise they wish (as long as they’re no younger than 10 or older).
Best of all, you’ll …
- Share a cabin each night with your grandchild aboard a classic windjammer in scenic harbors along Maine’s majestic coast.
- Learn the fundamentals of sailing from hauling lines and handling sails to steering the boat and dropping anchor.
- Enjoy a traditional lobster bake on a beach, eat meals together in the galley or on deck, keep watch for seals, porpoise and birds and learn how the stars help sailors navigate the sea.
- Gather treasured memories and fabulous photos.
The Maine Windjammer Association fleet offers a number of themed cruises. So if grandparents and their grandchilden enjoy music, lighthouses, learning seamanship skills, kayaking or star-gazing, there’s a themed cruise for you.