Family business: The rise of river cruises for…

Credit: Shutterstock/A-Rosa/Tauck

River cruising is reborn and is now a fabulous getaway for all ages, as Vicky Mayer reports.

Once upon a time, you would never hear the words “river cruise” and “families” spoken in the same sentence. But river cruises aren’t just for middle-aged travelers anymore, and recent years have seen a growing number of family cruises designed to appeal to everyone, regardless of age.

The result? As cruise lines welcome all generations on board, river cruising has never been more popular. Explore fairytale castles on the Rhine, meet cowboys in the Camargue, track down clues on a treasure hunt at the Louvre in Paris, make local specialties like apple strudel in Vienna or pizza in Italy , these are some of the fun activities organized on multigenerational river cruises.

So what are you waiting for? With family fun in mind, here are some great cruises you can book today…

River cruising is now a family affair.

Something for everyone
One of the best things about river cruising is how it helps families spend quality time together. Unlike large ocean vessels, where kids can spend all day and evening in kids’ clubs while parents do their own thing, river boats are much smaller, so activities are designed to engage the whole family in time – whether it’s a shore excursion or borrowing the boat’s bikes and heading out along the shore.

River cruises are also suitable for the attention spans of teenagers. You can explore a whole range of different destinations and countries in the space of a week, and the ships sail overnight, with the pleasure of waking up in a new place the next morning and without “boring” days at sea. .

Luxury lines such as Tauck and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection offer all-inclusive prices that cover meals, drinks, excursions and gratuities, so parents can easily budget and not have to worry about growing expenses.

Find the best cruises

Find the best river cruises

Tauck offers a family treasure hunt at the Louvre in Paris. 1 credit

There are also interesting family offers on the CroisiEurope economy line. Tauck pioneered family river cruises in 2010 when he launched the Tauck Bridges program with sailing on the Danube.

These all-inclusive itineraries have since been extended to the Rhine, Rhône and Seine. Highlights of the Rhone cruise include a private visit to a ranch in the beautiful Camargue, where families can meet some of the region’s famous white horses as well as gardians – the local name for cowboys – who take care of them. Everyone will also enjoy the spectacular horse shows.

Sailing on the Rhine includes a visit to the beautiful city of Strasbourg and the opportunity to become “French for a day”, learn French phrases, join a group and enjoy a chocolate tasting.

Uniworld family river cruises fall under the line’s Generations collection and operate on the Rhine, Danube and Po rivers in Italy. Also all-inclusive, they include shore excursions tailor-made for families and led by local experts, as well as special children’s menus and a dining table for young travelers, reserved on certain evenings for children and the two family guests. who accompany each cruise and supervise Activities.

In addition to a young traveler lounge and games room, there are kids-only movie nights with popcorn and a VIP ship tour with the ship’s captain or hotel manager.

Giant chessboards abound on Uniworld ships. Credit: Uniworld

Keep an eye out for special offers from CroisiEurope’s Family Club, which offer free cruises for young people under 16 on selected sailings in Portugal, Spain and Italy. Kids over five can sleep in a cabin next to mom and dad, and there are no expensive solo extras for single parents. Family Club cruises also offer a children’s menu and an onboard entertainment program with hosts.

In addition to designated family cruises, many lines welcome children on their regular cruises. AmaWaterways’ AmaStella and AmaViola, for example, both offer connecting cabins that can accommodate families of up to five.

And the line’s impressive Ama Magna, which cruises the Danube and is twice the width of standard river vessels, offers spacious accommodation and public facilities ideal for families, including a swimming pool and a theater where youngsters can watch movies on deck with their families.

Climb on board
Tauck’s seven-night “Blue Danube: Family Riverboat Adventure” aboard MS Savor, from Vilshofen to Budapest via Passau, Salzburg, Durnstein, the Wachau Valley, Vienna and Bratislava, departs July 21, 2023, from 3 £530.

Uniworld’s seven-night ‘Authentic Danube’ cruise aboard River Princess, from Vienna to Nuremberg via Weissenkirchen, Melk, Passau, Vilshofen and Regensburg, departs July 22, 2023, from £2,879.

A-ROSA Cruises’ new river vessel, A-Rosa Sena, is designed for multi-generational travel. Credit: A-ROSA

Why family comes first for A-ROSA
In May this year, A-ROSA launched the world’s first river vessel dedicated to family cruising. The line already has a reputation for offering relaxed family cruising, but the 280-passenger A-ROSA Sena takes the concept to a new level. It’s the first European river cruiser to feature a dedicated family pool and kids’ club, and it’s already been a huge hit with cruising families.

Created for multi-generational groups, the ship has 12 very spacious family cabins that can accommodate up to five people. The entertainment program includes kid-friendly scavenger hunts, craft sessions, cocktail parties and movie screenings. On board, the pirate-themed treasure island features a slide, rock climbing area, cave areas, craft and paint corners, and a chill-out area with large cushions designed to look like stones.

The new A-ROSA Sena is the first river vessel with a club dedicated to children. Credit: A-ROSA

Meals feature a special children’s buffet for the youngest passengers, while older children can compose their own favorite dishes at the main buffet if they prefer. There is also a separate family area in the restaurant where families can eat together.

The fun continues ashore, with family excursions such as trips to Madurodam Miniature Park in the Netherlands and Chocolate Nation in Antwerp.

An added benefit for environmentally conscious parents and children is that the A-ROSA Sena is the first river vessel to feature “E-motion” technology. This hybrid propulsion system allows the vessel to switch to battery power when entering and leaving port, meaning arrivals and departures can be quiet and emission-free.

With fun activities like face painting and pizza making offered with Uniworld, kids will love their first taste of river cruising. Credit: Uniworld

Lucia Rowe, A-ROSA’s Managing Director for the UK and Ireland, said: “We have been welcoming families on our cruises since 2014, but with A-ROSA Sena we have taken things to a whole new level. other level.

“We’ve taken the knowledge we’ve gained over the past few years about the needs and wants of families and incorporated it into the design of A-ROSA Sena from the start.

“The ship offers many innovations for families sailing Europe’s rivers, with the first dedicated kids’ club room on a river cruise ship, where children can romp, play, relax and unwind. make friends.

“There is also the children’s pool on the terrace in addition to the main pool, plus the family area – all the necessary ingredients for the perfect family holiday.

“We know today’s kids are the cruisers of the future, and if they have a great time on board with their parents and grandparents, I’m confident they’ll be cruisers for life.”

Climb on board
A-ROSA’s seven-night ‘Discover the Rhine: Amsterdam and Rotterdam’ cruise aboard A-ROSA Sena, from Cologne to Antwerp via Rotterdam and Dordrecht, departs April 1, 2023, from £4,629 ( based on a family of four sharing a family cabin).

Comments are closed.