European River Cruises for the Family

Family River Cruises

River cruising in the past has been primarily associated as a holiday strictly for adults, namely couples. This notion has recently begun to change with the arrival of family friendly river cruises.

Several companies are now offering cruises that finally give the whole family a good reason to try a river cruise.

The general manager of Australasia Cruise Lines International Association, Brett Jardine stated recently, “As the number of river-cruise ships and itineraries grows, it’s only natural that some cruise lines may seek to broaden their offering. Attracting more family groups would be one way of doing this.”


One of the many reasons as to why river cruising has gained popularity amongst families is due to the time period. Most river cruises take place during the summer; which is the perfect time for a family holiday, as the children are off from school.

In addition, winter river cruises in Europe are popular because the whole family will get the chance to visit an authentic Christmas market.


River cruise holidays have several advantages over those taken at sea. They allow a more in depth look at smaller towns and villages. In port, besides sightseeing, there are many activities that can be tailored to please every member of the family.

Many intriguing activities for people of all ages can be found; some of these activities consist of medieval games, dinners at unique castles such as Heidelberg Castle, Strasbourg and Koln Cathedral, chocolate tastings, and cooking classes. In addition, private tours can be booked to allow a complete customisation of the holiday to fit your family’s preferences.

Typical options for the active, thrilling adventure type include zip lining above the Black Forest, to more thought provoking pursuits such as attending a concert at Schönbrunn Palace.


Popular destinations for family river cruising include the Danube, the Rhine and Rhone as well as the Seine. Out of the various river cruise lines, the lines that are presently appropriate for families to consider are:


Designed with families in mind and accepting children as young as four, the AmaWaterways AmaViola and AmaStella offer triple and quad cabins, a rarity in the river cruise market. Plus there are a limited number of interconnecting cabins.

Cabins contain two balconies with one that you can sit in and the other a traditional French balcony. These ships offer a heated pool, complimentary Internet, entertainment on demand and an onboard fitness centre and spa. Certain sailings also offer a childrens menu to please the little one’s fussy palate!

Prague to Budapest and everything in between are the highlighted destinations of the AmaViola, whilst the AmaStella concentrates on the Danube and Christmas Market cruises.


With no age limit, CroisiEurope operates 50 vessels with some capable of accommodating more than two to a cabin. With a decidedly French flavour, the line warmly welcomes children on board and provides child friendly menus during their summer family cruises.

On the sailings that are designated for families, children up to 16 years travel free or for a greatly reduced fare when travelling with a parent, even with an adjourning cabin.

This French river cruise line offers several destinations that cannot be found with other river cruise companies. Consider sailing between Berlin and the centre of Prague on the Elbe or on the French canals past Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower, or on Spain and Portugal’s Guadalquivir and Guadiana rivers.

Tauck River Cruises

Offering selective all inclusive holidays that allows children as young as three to travel, the line has been offering family river cruises for many years. Some of Tauck’s cabins can accommodate up to four passengers. Besides traditional dining, there’s a casual dining venue that younger people appreciate as an alternative.

Castles on the Rhine will enable your family to get up close to real life fairytale land with stops in Switzerland, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Other popular choices include their latest addition which is an immersive family trip along the River Rhône or venturing to Hungary through Slovakia and Austria to Germany along the Danube.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

As Winner of Travel + Leisure’s “#1 River Cruise Line for Families” Uniworld has an excellent reputation because of its attentive staff, excellent dining, plush decor and comprehensive guided tours. Currently the cabins serve two people but can be adjoined to accommodate up to four.

The minimum age accepted for sailings is four years and the line is gearing towards more interactive activities onboard its vessels with their youth counsellors. Examples include taste testing with the Soda Sommelier and arts and craft workshops. Child friendly tours can also be arranged.

Adults can venture ashore for their own tours without the entire family and can be assured that the kids are left in good hands with the ‘Family Hosts’.

Uniworld has an extensive number of summer family sailings on the Rhine, Danube, Seine and Po Rivers.


Many sailings for 2017 are already filled to capacity and that includes those for the Christmas Markets. Now is the time to take a look at what is available towards the summer of 2018.

The most important factor in choosing a river cruise isn’t just the cruise line itself but the destinations and available tours that will be of the most interest to the entire family. As the trend towards family cruising on the rivers of Europe increases, more lines and vessels will change their demographics of passengers to include families.

In comparison to ocean cruising, river cruising is always more about the destination than the onboard activities. Whether it’s a leisurely bike ride along the Danube or connecting to Venice on the Po River or even escalating up one of the oldest Ferris Wheels, the Weiner Reisenrad in Vienna, choose the holiday that will be the ideal fit for your entire family.

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Ocean or River – The Main Differences

Ocean or River Cruises

Passengers now have more options than ever on what type of cruise holiday to book. River cruising is the fastest growing sector in the cruise industry. They are a great option if you want to relax and avoid the masses.

Whether it is the Rhine, Danube, Nile or the Amazon, river cruises are perfect for close up encounters in towns and villages. There are many differences between river cruising and those on the ocean.

Take a look below to see which type will be a good fit for you.


Arrival and departure

There are no huge port terminals and long queues to stand in with thousands of your fellow passengers. Embarkment procedures are quick and easy. Whilst docking, simply walk off the vessel and into the town. Once the journey is complete, there’s not too much trouble with your luggage either.

Itinerary and location

River cruises are better for those that want a slow and relaxing holiday. The ships often make stops right in the centre of smaller cities, towns and villages; allowing you to get a real feel for the area instead of arriving at a not so nice commercial looking port and getting on a coach to view the attractions.

More intimate

River cruise ships are not mega ships and are designed differently than a traditional cruise ship. They are narrow and not so deep which allows them to navigate the shallow waters. The advantage for those who enjoy meeting new people, is that you will get to know nearly everyone as the numbers onboard are very small compared to an ocean going ship. Cabins are designed for two people and many come with French style balconies.

Dining and entertainment

Mealtimes are designated at the same time each day on a river cruise ship. Entertainment can sometimes be based on the most recent port of call. Regional music is frequently played in the lounge and enrichment programs with lecturers are very common.


A huge advantage is that most river cruise lines include some free excursions. There are also for-a-fee premium tours, but no matter where the vessel calls at, there will be a freebie too. Prior to reaching a designated destination, you can attend a destination guide or seminar the day/night before to pick up some knowledge of the culture and points of interests.

Child free

Whilst river cruises don’t ban families with children, most cabins on river cruise ships can only sleep two and there’s not much to keep younger children entertained. For the time being, a river cruise is attractive to couples and older passengers who don’t like the idea of children running about.


More choices

An ocean cruise holiday offers much more choice in terms of destinations, the number of cruise lines and ships. Because of the vast amount of passengers, prices tend to be lower on an ocean voyage when compared to a river cruise. Great deals are available all year round.


Last minute bookings are common and are usually great value especially if you are not fussy about the cruise line or destination. River cruises sell out very quickly simply because each ship can take so few people. With an ocean cruise, you can head out on impulse for the most part.

Non-stop activities

Ocean cruise vessels are enormous when compared to river ships. This means that your floating hotel can be an all inclusive holiday filled with a never ending amount of activities and entertainment. From full service spas, swimming pools and even a mini golf course or rock climbing wall, a holiday on an ocean cruise ship really does have something for everyone.


For foodies, nothing beats an ocean cruise. Besides main the dining room, passengers have more alternatives with specialty venues, casual dining and extensive buffets nearly all day long. For many passengers dining is one of the most important parts of their cruise holiday.


Extensive entertainment options from West End shows to Las Vegas extravaganzas to chamber music performances are found on a sea going cruise. Whilst river cruises focus on views and destinations; the ocean cruise experience offers much, much more.

Family Oriented

Ocean cruises have children’s centres that are popular for not only the kids but their parents too. There are children’s camps which give parents a break to head to a casino or have a meal in a specialty restaurant for instance. There are many activities that offer good family quality time. These may include aqua parks, bumper cars and bowling, depending on the ship.

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Been on an Ocean or River Cruise? Tell us which you prefer below!

Crystal Cruises to Have Largest River Vessel

Crystal Mozart Rendering

Regular cruisers are always seeking something different for their next adventure and one sector of the industry that has in recent years been growing in popularity is river cruising.

More and more seafaring cruise lines including Crystal Cruises have been looking into this lucrative niche. Crystal is known to cater to passengers seeking ultra-luxury. They have gathered many awards for their fine service such as being voted by Travel + Leisure readers for 20 consecutive years as the “World’s Best Large Ship Cruise Line” and as Conde Nast Traveller’s Reader Choice Awards for the past 22 years as the “World’s Best Cruise Ship”.

Crystal recently made headlines with the announcement that they were extending their signature quality to the rivers of Europe. Two new river cruise ships sailing under the name of Crystal River Cruises were due to set sail in March 2017.

News in the cruise industry can change quickly and the CEO Edie Rodriguez made it known that the company had a change of plans. They will launch three more luxury river vessels than previously announced; now totaling five in all. Crystal believe this expansion will pay off, making them serious players in the river sector. The new river cruise line will now commence earlier than planned and begin sailing in 2016.

Crystal River Vessel

One of the ships scheduled to embark on July 13, 2016 along the Danube River is the former MS Mozart. This vessel was built in 1987 and is scheduled to be the largest river cruise ship on European waters, holding more than 160 passengers and measuring 75.1 feet wide. She is presently going through an extensive dry dock refurbishment and will be known as “Crystal Mozart”.

Crystal Mozart cabins all have window views and the smallest suites have a spacious 203 square feet. The deluxe suites follow at 215 square feet; whilst 322 square feet is the size of the penthouse suite. The two-bedroom Crystal Suites are the largest on any river ship measuring a massive 860 square feet. Several venues are available for dining and there is a wraparound promenade. Everything for a luxurious stay is available including a spa, salon and fitness center, an indoor pool and library.

Crystal River Cruises Suite

“Once the transformation of Crystal Mozart is completed, it will truly be the crown jewel of the European rivers” stated Edie Rodriguez.

The remaining four vessels are being built at the German shipyard, Lloyd Werft and each vessel is appropriately being named as “Crystal Bach“,“Crystal Debussy“, “Crystal Mahler“ and the “Crystal Ravel”. Their designs will be along the lines of luxurious yachts and feature the ‘best of the best’ in amenities.

Cabins will boast walk in wardrobes and king sized beds. Debuting in June and August 2017, all of the ships cabins will be suites with the smallest cabins measuring a spacious 220 square feet. The next sizes measure in at 250 square feet (deluxe suite), 500 square feet (penthouse) and 750 square feet (the two-bedroom Crystal Suite). Tentative sailing schedules will offer the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers for two of these new vessels. Both will hold 110 passengers.

The other two are more intimate with an 84 passenger capacity. One of the smaller vessels will follow the Garonne and Dordogne rivers route, whilst the other will sail on the river Seine.

All of the new vessels will feature “spacious public areas” including the Palm Court with a dance floor and glass domed roof. There will also be fitness center, spa, and library. Sporting equipment will be provided for intensive activities such as biking around the countryside or kayaking along the tributaries on exciting excursions, known as “Crystal Adventures”.

The cruise line also plans on including overnight stays which will allow passengers a chance to enjoy the essence of the ship’s destinations after dark.

Crystal River Cruises promises that no matter which of the itineraries are chosen, the passenger will be presented with many scenic stopovers along the way. Bookings for the 2016/17 season on any of the new vessels will begin on the 30th of November.

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Win Tickets to the Daily Mail Cruise Show

Daily Mail Cruise Show 2015

Hosting the largest selection of cruise lines both large and small The Daily Mail CRUISE show is one of Europe’s leading cruise events.

At the event you will be able to get an insight into the different styles of cruising including luxury and river cruising, cruises for the family and if you are a solo traveller there will be options for you too.


We have 20 pairs of tickets to give away for the shows. Just enter your email address and your done! Your details are protected by our privacy policy.

*The contest has now closed and winners have been notified*


At the show you will be able to take advantage of exclusive money saving offers and extras for example onboard credit and all inclusive drinks packages. There will also be free talks by the experts where you will be able to gather important expert advice that you won’t be able to get elsewhere.

With new ships and destinations constantly coming to the market the cruise lines will be showcasing what’s new for 2015/2016.

So, if you have never been cruising before or if you are more experienced and want some inspiration for your next voyage, be sure to visit The Daily Mail CRUISE show at the following venues:

NEC, Birmingham – 12 & 13 September 2015
Manchester Central – 26 & 27 September 2015
SECC, Glasgow – 10 & 11 October 2015

For talk timetables and a list of the companies showcasing at the event please visit

We are also offering reduced price advance tickets to the shows! Get your tickets for only £4 (that’s saving £6 off the door price!!) by quoting ‘2CRUISE’ when booking tickets online at or when calling 0871 620 4024. (Calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras).

A picture is worth a Thousand Words!

Pinterest Banner

Whether reminiscing or planning a cruise holiday, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Pinterest boards are a great place to visit to get some inspiration before heading out to sea. Here you will discover the world of cruising that is a feast for your eyes.

A basic search in Pinterest such as “cruises” will bring up thousands of photos that you can like or re-pin to your own boards. Cruise line´s internet sites usually have a follow prompt, so you can follow your favourite line on Pinterest too.

Even with the thousands of boards out there, you will be able to narrow it down to a few favourites you’ll want to follow. They tend to be the ones that post the most photos and have an abundance of followers.

To make things a little easier, we have picked some of the best accounts to follow. Besides enjoying fabulous photographs, you can click on the source for some interesting reading too.

Follow Popular Cruising on Pinterest to relive some of your favourite ships and ports or explore new ones. Click on to a few that will take you directly to their cruise podcasts.

Image: Kauai Hawaii via Popular Cruising

Kuai Hawaii

Hawaii is the land of flowers and waterfalls and with it comes lush and beautiful territory that can’t be seen anywhere else. The best way to see the islands from a bird’s eye view is to take a helicopter trip that is arranged by the cruise ship. The helicopter tours mostly focus on the Kauai part of the island.

The buzz word is out there and the word ‘cruise’ is attached to it. Get the latest information and tips with Cruise Buzz.

Image: Food on the MSC Divina via Cruise Buzz

Lunch on MSC Divina

The MSC Divina offers an enormous variety of foods from a wide variety of different cultures and cuisines, with something for everyone to enjoy. They say that presentation is everything and the dining experience onboard the Divina won’t disappoint the eyes or the palate.

This account has everything from ships to ports of call. Cruise Panorama is considered one of the top on-line magazines available today.

Image: Liberty of the Seas in Haiti via Cruise Panorama

Liberty of the Seas in Haiti

Liberty of the Seas is one of Royal Caribbeans Freedom Class cruise ships and is the third largest ship in the world after their Allure and Oasis of the Seas ships,

Besides partaking in all the things a cruise ship has to offer from activities, spas and dining, a port of call is the highlight of any holiday. To browse some ports of call, click on the Cruise Ports link above.

Image: Cruising from Southampton via Cruise Bart

Cruising from Southampton

If flying isn’t your thing, Southampton is just a train, bus or car journey away. Many cruise ships from all over the world are making stops at this port with some starting and finishing their itineraries here.

Suzanne Rowan Kelleher is a family expert with This mum of three has been a contributor to Fox News, AOL/MapQuest, amongst others and certainly has the experience to set anyone straight about cruising with the little ones and teens.

Image: Zip line fun via Travel with Kids

Zip Line Fun

For those with an adventurous side, there’s always thrilling activities to be enjoyed. One good way to get some adrenaline pumping is by trying a zip line, a popular activity that can be found in some ports. Zoom down the line at a fast speed as you watch the world flash by you.

Who hasn’t thumbed through their travel books at WH Smith? Fodor’s has published more than 440 guides including those on cruise holidays. Pick up some great tips from a leader in travel advice on their Pinterest boards.

Image: How to pack for a cruise via Fodors

Fodors packing pin

Read some advice on packing for your cruise by clicking on the image above.

Rolling along the inland European waterways is gaining popularity for those who are cruising fans and seeking a new adventure. Uniworld River Cruises on Pinterest provide some fantastic ideas to wet your appetite.

Image: Venice Italy via Uniworld River Cruises


Click on the image above to view the original on Pinterest.

Ok, we had to sneak in our very own contributions on Pinterest. So far, we have 50 boards and over 1300 followers. The best part is that our blogs and articles are attached to many photos. If you have to track back, it will be easy to locate an About2Cruise article through Pinterest.

Image: P&O Britannia via About2Cruise

P&O Britannia

The Britannia is the largest ship in the entire fleet of P&O. Sailing the Mediterranean she made her debut earlier this year. Prior to her maiden voyage, Queen Elizabeth officially named her in Southampton. With 141,000 gross tonnage and 4,100 passengers, Britannia is a mega-ship built mainly for the British Market.

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Do you use Pinterest to research your future holidays? Tell us below!