Adventures by Disney® created quite a buzz amongst our clients when it was announced that they were entering the popular river cruise market through a partnership with AmaWaterways in 2016. A river cruise vacation has, for the most part, been geared toward culturally curious adults who enjoy the ease of travel, inclusive pricing, and uncrowded authentic experiences. Yet, for the last few years both Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection® and Tauck Bridges® have offered designated family-friendly departures complete with kid-oriented onboard and on shore activities. Can a river cruise be the right venue for a family vacation? Let’s consider the pluses and minuses.
• Education. Today’s parents and grandparents view travel as a supplement to the children’s schooling and a way to help them learn about the world in an empirical way.
• Unpack once. The less moving from place to place, the less stress.
• Intimate, safe confined space.
• Heritage. Parents and grandparents can explore their own family’s significant religious and cultural sites with the children.
• Convenience. Travel arrangements, accommodations, meals, excursions and activities can be handled in one transaction saving planning time and hassle.
On the other hand, a river cruise ~ even a designated multigenerational cruise ~ may not be right for every family.
• Accommodations. While the newest river vessels are being designed to accommodate three, even four people, most ship cabins are small, intended for just two and do not have connecting inner doors. This means most families will need to book at least two cabins adding to the cost.
• Amenities. Families accustomed to sailing on large ocean ships have come to expect large pools and sophisticated play areas along with babysitting services. River cruise lines are just beginning to respond with family features such as children’s theme nights, karaoke, youth counselors and children’s menu options. Still, a river cruise may not be suitable for children under age eight.
• Touring Tolerance. Parents and grandparents must know their child’s patience for sightseeing and ability to entertain themselves. They should include the kids in the itinerary discussions using books and maps it the children are old enough to understand them. But, some children need effervescent stimuli or they get restless and a river cruise would not be a good fit.
A multigenerational family vacation on a river cruise is a magnificent way for grandparents and parents to share the gift of enriching travel with the special young people in their lives. It offers the opportunity for families to explore extraordinary countries, gain worthwhile insights, and learn firsthand about different cultures personally as a family. Because the history, culture, art, architecture of Europe comes alive, families create lasting memories and share astonishing experiences together.
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