Interest in river cruising is growing, and not just among senior travelers. According to Travel Market Report's River Cruise Outlook, 63% of advisor plan to market and sell river cruises to multi-generational families over the next two years. Fifty-two percent said they plan to sell river cruises to nuclear families over the next two years.
Some families may be hesitant to try river cruising knowing that they might be the only family onboard. Enter designated family sailings. In fact, the growing demand for family-specific river cruising has prompted two cruise lines – Emerald Cruises and CroisiEurope – to add designated family sailings to its 2023 departures.
If you have family clients that might be interested in river cruising, here are the lines that offer dedicated family sailings.
Adventures by Disney (AmaWaterways)
Adventures by Disney offers family-specific river cruises onboard AmaWaterways ships on the Seine, Rhine and Danube Rivers. Each sailing is hosted by Adventure Guides who curated a variety of experiences for families including active excursions and onboard programming for kids and teens. Activities include a special teen welcome party, teen and Junior Adventurer dinners and Disney movie nights.
There's even adults-only dinners and wine-tastings so parents can enjoy some fun on their own.
And, of course, every sailing will include a touch of Disney Magic from Mickey Mouse-shaped treats to Disney-themed karaoke and trivia.
New in 2023, CroisiEurope is offering a program of family cruises that offer families with savings (free or reduced rates) on the fares of children up to 16 years old, wavier of single supplements, guaranteed adjacent cabins for families traveling together, and child-friendly meals.
New in 2023, Emerald is testing out dedicated family sailings that offer 50% savings on second cabins and family-friendly activities such as wheelhouse tours with the Captain, pool fun with the ship's wellness coach, kid-friendly movies in the ship cinema, cooking demos and mocktail lessons. Kid-friendly menu items will also be added to help parents with fussy kids.
Tauck typically offers more than 20 Bridges family river cruises each year hosted by special Family hosts. Sailings are available on the Danube (including a Christmas market sailing), Rhine, Rhone, Seine and Douro. Each of the cruises is designed to be specifically for family groups to share in the fun together. They feature family-focused activities, menus, and entertainment. Activities include such options as making local treats with the chef, language lessons, song and dance fests, and group games.
The Generations Collection is a selection of dedicated family-friend cruises – including the only family-only sailing in Egypt – conveniently scheduled to align with summer and winter school breaks.
Generations Collections sailings split kids into two categories: Junior Cruisers (ages 4-12) and Teen Cruisers (ages 13-17) with special activities for each group run by two dedicated "family hosts."
There's also a dedicated kids lounge. Activities include a VIP ship tour with the Captain, "Live the Lingo" lessons during which kids learn key phrases in the native of the native language of the region visit, pastry making with the ship's pastry chef, craft workshops, movie nights, and more. Activities are supervised so that parents can spend some time along on the ship or on shore.
Onshore, activities are tailor-made for families and hosted by local experts. For instance, in Egypt, families can take part in a soccer match with local children and some of the ship's crew, go sand dune boarding, and swim in the Nile.