If a European river cruise isn’t already on your travel bucket list, it should be. Unlike the large-scale ships and fast pace that comes along with ocean cruising, river cruising offers a more relaxed and up-close and personal experience. River cruising is not just for the adult traveler. Recently companies such as Tauck, AmaWaterways, and Viking and Avalon have introduced itineraries that are specifically with families in mind, offering a hassle-free way to explore the culture and history or Europe with kids.
Here are 10 reasons why a scenic river cruise is the perfect way to explore Europe with your family:
1. There’s more included
Most cruise itineraries are all-inclusive vacations with exciting family-friendly shore excursions, onboard activities, and exclusive experiences built into the cost of the cruise.
2. Fun for all ages and interests
Kids love all the kid-friendly activities and excursions, onboard amenities, and sharing the fun with other kids their age, while parents and grandparents appreciate the ease, service, and elegance of river cruising – and the fact that virtually every expense is included. One upfront price covers all shore excursions led by handpicked local guides.
3. An easy and flexible way to travel with kids
On river cruises, your “hotel” comes along with you as you travel, so your family unpacks only once and doesn’t pack up again until it’s time to go home. Family river cruises also offer great flexibility and variety with a blend of culturally–immersive guided sightseeing ashore, organized onboard fun, and time for just relaxing and doing as your family pleases.
4. It’s safe and accessible
Parents can enjoy the peace of mind in knowing that it’s easy to keep a watchful eye on the kids. And relax in knowing that in the event that an accident or emergency occurs, you’re never far from land. Riverboats are also full accessible, allowing for a comfortable and convenient vacation for guests with disabilities.
5. An unforgettable way to see Europe
What a memorable way to expose your children or grandchildren to the history, food, culture and beauty of Europe in ways the kids can appreciate. Sail right into the heart of historic European cities and quaint towns and let expert tour guides make sure you all see, learn and do more than you ever could on your own.
6. Become immersed in local culture
Most cruise itineraries provide interactive fun and hands-on activities – cooking classes, storytelling, cultural explorations, exclusive experiences – that are fun for every age and generation to do together. You’ll become immersed in local culture and be able to see and experience the country in ways that average tourists don’t.
7. It’s a great way to decompress
Leave your troubles behind! Riverboats are much smaller in size than ocean cruise ships, and offer a more relaxed and comfortable way to travel. The average riverboat accommodates less than 200 passengers so you won’t get lost in the shuffle. A high crew to passenger ratio means you can expect personal service from a by a welcoming and accommodating staff that will cater to your every need.
8. You can see and do more
You can experience more in a short period of time. Riverboats can easily navigate inland waterways stopping at multiple ports of call along the way, sometimes even visiting more than one in a day. Unlike ocean cruising itineraries that are limited to visiting a few larger, touristy cities; riverboats take you inland to some of the most beautiful and historic places in Europe.
9. Smooth sailing!
Inland waterways are usually calm and smooth, and cruises are comfortable and scenic. There’s little chance for motion sickness on a riverboat.
10. These small vessels are big on fun!
There’s no shortage of fun onboard a longboat! Although there are no casinos and Broadway shows, you’ll enjoy quality entertainment and dining options, beautifully designed shared spaces, and panoramic views. Some riverboats boast amenities like putting greens, swimming pools & jacuzzis, fitness clubs, spas and bicycles for guests to use at port. Many cruises also provide onboard games, movies, arts and crafts classes, cooking classes, and interactive experiences for all ages and interests.