No longer the domain of retirees, river cruising has come into its own as the “it” way to explore, thanks to modern and comfortable ships and unpack-once ease. Many cruise lines even offer sailings designed just for families, with special room configurations and enriching activities designed to engage the entire family.
I truly believe that traveling abroad with children is one of the most enriching experiences you can give your child and river cruising is one of the best ways to discover the incredible culture that Europe has to offer. Gone are the days of schlepping luggage over cobblestone streets, long boring guided bus tours, and missing the train to your next destination because you didn’t understand the directional signs.
River cruising is my favorite way to travel and I can not wait to share why your family will love it too ….from A to Z.
A – AmaWaterways is one of the leading river cruise lines. With more modern ships and active itineraries, the age skews a little younger. AmaWaterways has even aligned with Adventures by Disney for several family-oriented special river cruises each year.
B – Budapest – The capital of Hungary was once three separate cities, Buda, Pest, and Obuda. It wasn’t until 1873 when the three were unified by the building of the Chain Bridge, creating one of the most beautiful cities in all of Europe. Its position on the banks of the Danube makes it a staple in many itineraries. River cruising has become so important to the city it was chosen as the host of ASTA’s very first river cruise expo.
C – Christmas Markets – I was introduced to Christmas Market River Cruises when I started in the Travel Industry. I added it to the list of things I wanted to experience, but seeing most river cruises are adults-only, thought it would be a long time before I would be able to experience it with my family. Fortunately, many of the river cruise companies are starting to offer experiences for families.
D – Danube – From Germany’s Black Forest mountains the Danube flows west through 10 countries into the Black Sea. Cruises available from 7-14 days itineraries and from various cities. Upper and Lower Danube options.
E – Exotic Destinations – Traveling to the most foreign, farthest reaches of the planet can seem daunting, but an exotic river cruise combines safety and style for a smooth ride through the heart of the world’s most remote, hidden, and off-the-beaten-path places. Amazon, Mekong, Ganges, Nile, Chobe, Zambeze, Yangtze
F – France – My love of river cruising began when my husband and I enjoyed a cruise along the Rhone/Soane through Provence for our honeymoon. They also offer itineraries along the Seine through Burgandy and up to Normandy.
G – Gastronomy – Dining is a part of your river cruise experience. They use fresh local ingredients to prepare cuisine inspired by the region you are cruising – all of your onboard meals are included as are beer & wine during mealtime.
H – Heart of the City – River cruises take you to small towns and villages in the heart of your destination country. Instead of simply visiting the typical tourist offerings located close to ocean ports, river cruises are designed to provide unique itineraries that are very different from the typical travel fare.
I – Inclusive – Most river cruises use all-inclusive pricing, so you won’t have to pay extra to enjoy guided walking tours, bicycles for sightseeing, certain shore excursions, or onboard dining.
J – Journey at Your Pace – Another wonderful feature of river cruising over ocean cruising is that 99% of river cruise shore excursions are included in the cost of the cruise. And you have choices, too. In every port, there’ll be at least one but usually two or even three different group tours to select. Within each group, you might find a slower-paced group, a “regular” paced group, and sometimes even a fast-walkers group.
L – Locks – For the many rivers of Europe to be navigable waterways locks and construction of weirs were built in the rivers so that the change in elevation and controlling the water flow could be controlled to further river transportation. For European itineraries you will experience at least one lock – itineraries may change to water levels.
M – Mississippi – When many people think river cruise their minds immediately go to Europe, but there are some great options right here at home along the Mississippi, Hudson River, Erie Canal, and in the Pacific Northwest.
N – Nile – There would be no Egypt without the Nile. Discover the civilization that rose along its banks, starting with Cairo, the Pyramids, and the Sphinx. Explore Luxor’s legendary temples and tombs, then cruise to Aswan, stopping in ancient Edfu, Kom Ombo, and more.
O – Onboard Entertainment – These are very small ships so you are not going to find a cinema, skating rink, and casino. River cruise passengers are there to experience the culture, history, music, and cuisine of the region so onboard entertainment will often feature a local traditional music group, cooking demonstrations, or art lessons.
P – Portugal – One of the river cruises I have high on my list is through the Duoro Valley in Northern Portugal.
Q – Quality of Service – Each and every single river cruise line offers exceptional service. The staff goes above and beyond to make sure you are attended to and with such a high crew-to-guest ratio you will feel a personal connection you wouldn’t on a larger ship.
R – Rhine- The mighty Rhine begins high in the Swiss Alps flowing north and west until it meets the North Sea in The Netherlands. The most popular European river cruise, past UNESCO World Heritage sites and regions including the Rhine Gorge with its dozens of medieval castles, fortresses, and ruins.
S – Sundeck – you are not going to find numerous pools and waterslides like you would on an ocean vessel, because of the height limitations the amenities of the sundeck must retract quickly to fit under a low bridge. Some vessels do have a small pool or spa, lounge areas, covered and open.
T – Tauck is a tour company that is known for its guided land tours but they also offer incredible FAMILY-FOCUSED European river cruise itineraries. Unpack your bags once, then join the fun of exciting shore excursions, as well as engaging onboard activities planned by your Family Host. 100% child (and adult) friendly!
U – Uniworld –Uniworld’s Boutique River Cruise Collection offers luxurious voyages along some of the world’s most iconic rivers in Europe, Egypt, India, Africa, China, Russia, and Southeast Asia. Each Uniworld ship itself is a masterpiece, uniquely appointed and rich in character, not two ships are alike.
V – Viking – Viking Cruises is the world’s largest river cruise line, established in 1997. The line has been introducing new ships almost every year for a decade and seems to be endlessly expanding. They have the smallest staterooms and the largest number of passengers.
W – Waterways – River cruising is a relaxing, immersive, and thoroughly enjoyable form of travel where you can enjoy the ever-changing scenery along the banks of waterways. Sitting out on deck sipping local wine as you pass medieval castles is just magical.
X -Excitement & Relaxation – (Hard to find a word starting with the letter X!) If you wish to relax, river cruising is ideal. If you long for the excitement and change of everyday routine, a river cruise may be for you and your family. And if you wish to go to the most beautiful parts of our World and see exciting nature during vacation, a river cruise may be the best fit for you!
Y – Yangtze – The Yangtze or Yangzi is the longest river in Asia, the third-longest in the world, and the longest in the world to flow entirely within one country. Relax in comfort on a Viking Yangtze River cruise, as China’s history, culture, and natural beauty unfold before you. Along with fabled Yangtze landscapes, including the Three Gorges, your journey reveals imperial Beijing, Xian’s Terra Cotta Warriors, futuristic Shanghai, and more.
Z – Zambezi Queen – AmaWaterways intimate, eco-friendly, 28-passenger Zambezi Queen sails one of the world’s most captivating places, Africa’s legendary Chobe River. As she drifts along the river, animals perceive no threat, affording you with once-in-a-lifetime up-close game experiences. Throughout the day, be treated to complimentary South African wines, beer, local spirits, soft drinks, and bottled water. And on one special night, enjoy an African-themed dinner with traditional dishes and entertainment.
If you are ready to have the family vacation you’ve been dreaming of, without spending time researching, planning and making it happen, schedule a call today. I’m here to help busy working Moms plan, organize and book the perfect family vacation. With me, all you have to worry about is enjoying your well-earned time away with your family. If you are ready to stop trying to do everything on your own and see how I can help you schedule a complimentary trip planning session now.
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