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Families With Children Are Now Being Welcomed Aboard (Some) River Cruise Ships

The evidence is fast accumulating that the number of river cruiseships is now more than equal to the demand for river cruises. Accordingly, several of the river cruiselines are devising new lures to fill their ships, and one such tactic is to throw overboard the once-widely-held belief that families with children would not be permitted on river cruiseships.

Certainly, families traveling with a single child would not find the atmosphere on board appealing.  But those with two or more children apparently discover that their offspring are more than content to play together on board the ship, especially if there are other such families on the same vessel.

The long-established and big French riverboat company, CroisiEurope, is apparently a leader in family-friendly river cruises, directed not simply at European families but American ones, as well. They are now marketing their cruises actively within the United States, offering some of the least expensive river cruises of Europe.

All loudspeaker announcements within their cruises are now scrupulously made in both French and English.  And family cabins—consisting of two bunk beds for the children in addition to a larger standard bed for the parents—are now being offered on many of their European river cruises.

Apparently, this new approach is finding favor with an increasing number of American families:  the internet is full of happy endorsements of the CroisiEurope company from U.S. families who have joined their cruises. Several recent letters have been especially enthusiastic about the superb European cuisine served in the course of CroisiEurope's cruises, noting that American children who have tasted and raved about famous European dishes have thereby become instant young gourmets.   

As reported by us in an earlier column, the Disney organization has also joined the operators of family friendly river cruises, by chartering a ship for that purpose from Ama Waterways. More recently, in a major development, Disney has scheduled an expanded 15 departures in 2017 on the Danube and RhineRivers, of family-friendly, child-accepting river cruises.  And to underscore how serious is their intention, they will be operating those cruises on a brand-new riverboat presently under construction in a European shipyard (to be called the Ama Kristina), to be delivered by spring of 2017.

After many years of being dismissed as inappropriate, the family river cruise is apparently here to stay.