River cruising has traditionally been reserved for more mature travelers, but one tour company has seen enough growth in the family market to warrant introducing its fifth family-focused river cruise and its first official family holiday cruise.
“We started with one itinerary in 2010 and have grown to five, less than a decade later, so that speaks to the growth we’ve seen,” said Tom Armstrong, Tauck’s corporate communications manager.
Tauck will feature two departures of its new “Holiday Magic: Danube Family River Cruise” on Dec. 22 and 23, sailing respectively on Tauck’s ms Savor riverboat traveling from Vienna to Munich via Budapest, and on the ms Joy traveling from Munich to Budapest.
The riverboat will be specially decorated for the season and guests will be able to partake in holiday-themed activities, including a visit to Oberndorf, Austria (where the song “Silent Night” was written and first performed in 1818); a workshop highlighting traditional treats in Passau; and a uniquely European holiday dinner.
Other highlights include an “Imperial Evening” inside a private Viennese palace; medieval games and a scavenger hunt in Bratislava’s Old Town district; and a choice of excursions in the towns of Durnstein, Melk, and Krems in the scenic Wachau Valley.
"With the popularity of our "Blue Danube Family Riverboat Adventure," we thought it would be wonderful to offer families a chance to explore some of Europe's cherished holiday traditions while enjoying the exclusive experiences and hands-on discoveries that our Bridges family river cruises are known for," said Julia O'Brien, senior brand manager for Tauck. "Everything is done for you, allowing families to focus on being in the moment with their loved ones."
Tauck is not the only company that has ventured into the family river cruise market, but they were the first. The tour operator initially introduced river cruising to families in 2010, a market it feels it is uniquely suited for due to the design of its ships, namely its large number of suites on the top deck that can accommodate families of four.
Given the 3-dimensional footprint required of riverboats, Tauck carries fewer guests than some of its competitors to provide roomier suites, according to Armstrong. Additionally, single supplements are waived on family cruises for a select number of cabins on the lower deck, making it easier and more affordable for grandparents to join in.
Tauck also offers four European family cruise itineraries on the Seine, Rhone, Rhine and Danube Rivers during the summer months.
Competitors Uniworld, Viking and AmaWaterways (which also partners with Adventures by Disney) all also offer family-themed river cruises seasonally.