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What to Look For in a Family River Cruise

by Erich Martin

Nov 6, 2018

© Mykyta Starychenko | Dreamstime.com


Cruising, with all of the ship amenities, exotic destinations and wide array of culinary options, has the ability to appeal to families with even the most diverse taste.


The typical cruises families reference are likely the Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean cruise lines on the ocean. River cruising offers a much different perspective. When planning your family’s next river cruise, make sure to keep some of these things in mind.


River cruise ships are much smaller than ocean counterparts. The top-deck pools, waterslides, arcades and various kids’ clubs will likely be one of the first pieces you notice missing if you decide to look into river cruising.


Many river cruise lines do not put families as the No. 1 priority, either. If you look into many river ships, you will notice staterooms are commonly rated for a max two-person occupancy. For families of more than four people, this means three or more staterooms will need to be purchased. Some river cruise lines have special ships with staterooms equipped for more than two people.


AmaWaterways, based mainly in Europe, is one of the river cruise lines that has specialized ships with bigger staterooms. Many of the lines, including Emerald Waterways, are located in Europe. There are certainly river cruise lines in North America, but the practice is not as widespread and popular as it is in Europe.


The ease of planning is something to strongly consider when planning any cruise. When taking the family on the ocean, you are responsible for planning a number of different things. Dining, downtime and entertainment are all up in the air. One of the biggest question marks on cruises is the shore excursion. Typically, river cruises include shore excursions in pricing. This takes a layer of planning out for families. Make sure to keep destinations along the cruise in mind for your family’s interests when booking.


When the rubber meets the road, no one is going to be able to tell you what your family will enjoy. River cruises are excellent in forcing family togetherness. Whereas families can spread out on a large ocean ship, that is not as easy on compact river cruises.


Get ready for some quality togetherness and book your family’s first river cruise adventure.


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