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When you think about advising clients who want to go on river cruises, families with kids probably don’t come to mind. Our recent family river cruise showed that river cruising with kids can be a great idea, though the recommended age from most providers is ages 6 and over.

AmaWaterways is leading the way with river cruising and the new AmaMagna is perfect for families. It’s their largest river cruise ship and newest member of their fleet. The rooms easily accommodate a family of four without needing to use an adjoining room or get a suite. They are well-appointed, roomy, and gorgeous.

The AmaMagna sails on the Danube from Hungary to Germany with stops in Slovakia and Austria. One of the best things about river cruising is that the activities and tours are all included in the price, and prearranged. You just have to show up and choose which one you want to do from the options available.

river cruising
Sightseeing while on an AmaWaterways itinerary. (Photo courtesy: Claire Kerr-Zlobin)

Our kids were 8 and 12 when we took the cruise and didn’t miss not having a kids’ club at all. They also easily kept up with the tours. The AmaMagna ship does have a pool, movie theater, a great selection of movies and shows on the TV, as well as streaming available through the on board WiFi. Our kids were old enough that we could leave them in the room without us and the rooms were large enough that we all could relax in the room. The fact that every single room has a balcony is something that families will appreciate.

If the kids are old enough to be left on their own, as there is no onboard babysitting service, parents can get some quality time together by having the kids eat earlier and then setting them up in the room with a game, movie, or books. Then the adults are free to have a romantic dinner, check out the onboard entertainment, or rock out on the dance floor.

One big benefit of river cruising is that unlike a traditional cruise ship, there aren’t “at sea” days so there are daily excursions to look forward to. The excursions generally have options of hiking, biking, or buses so if your clients are looking for a more easygoing vacation, there’s always an option that allows for sightseeing. Some excursion activities may have age limitations so make sure to check before sailing.

River cruises are a great fit for your clients who want to have fun and explore new cities with their school-aged or older kids. Parents who aren’t comfortable with the idea of a family cruise often say that they don’t want to go on a cruise because they’re worried about something happening when they’re stuck on a ship in the middle of the ocean. With a river cruise that’s not a concern because the shore is always within sight—so it would be easy to get to shore in an emergency. There isn’t any rocking from ocean waves on a river cruise, which means no motion sickness or need to get your sea legs.

With a river cruise it’s smooth sailing, beautiful scenery, and lots of great days spent exploring different cities. River cruising is a great way for your clients to see historic Europe as a family.

For more information, visit amawaterways.com. For more 4-1-1 on family-friendly river cruising, click here.

Recommend magazine has partnered with the Family Travel Association to bring you monthly columns to help travel advisors sell family travel. This column was written by Claire Kerr-Zlobin, a travel writer, founder of lifewithababy.com, and Family Travel Association Media Center member. 

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