School is out, meaning most kids have about 2 ½ to 3 months to ditch the alarm clock, sleep in late, and generally avoid any kind of schedule. But, is this really a good thing? After all, school schedules will return and the alarm clock will reign supreme once again, which means those same kids will ultimately have to go through the “pain” of getting back into the swing of things. So, would it not benefit them to engage them in some kind of summer activity that would perpetuate some form of regular agenda and spare them that “pain?” And, as the experienced generation, does it not stand to reason that grandparents would have what it takes to make this happen? If so, then it sounds like an opportunity for a grand multi-generational adventure!
While there are many different destinations and types of trips that might appeal to a multi-generational group, one particular type of trip lends itself to a setting that encourages more interaction among the family members – a river cruise.
Unlike the more traditional cruise vacation, a river cruise offers a very different travel experience. Ocean cruises tend to focus more on “getting there” by sea. On the days when there is no port-of-call, there is the prospect of spending at least one lazy day on deck, basking in the sun along with the other 2,500 to 3,000 passengers. In contrast, river boat itineraries generally include a port visit each day of the cruise, and normally only accommodate around 120 to 160 passengers, which means they avoid the crowds of their bigger counterparts. The opportunity for passengers to disembark and regain their “land-legs” more often, along with “no waves” on the river, helps those who might normally suffer from sea-sickness issues. River cruises also offer more occasions to interact with the ship’s crew, as well as the other passengers onboard. This creates a more intimate travel experience where a multi-generational family group can make new friends, forming lasting friendships with other passengers, while strengthening family bonds as everyone enjoys the leisurely pace that a river cruise offers.
River cruises offer just as many different themes, itineraries, and destinations as ocean-going cruises. Viking River Cruises sail the major rivers of Europe, Russia, Asia, and Egypt, offering its passengers a unique perspective of the history and beauty these destinations have to offer. AMA Waterways also sails in Vietnam and Cambodia, Africa, and Burma. Tauck River Cruises also sail in Europe, traveling the Danube, Rhine, Rhone, and Seine Rivers, and will be adding the Swiss Alps and Amsterdam in 2016.
If exploring what our own country has to offer has more appeal, then sailing with American Cruise Lines would fill the bill, featuring the coastline and national parks of Maine; traveling the length of the Mississippi River; following in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark by cruising the Columbia and Snake Rivers; traveling the protected waterways of the East Coast, Chesapeake Bay, or Florida; or enjoying all the New England coast has to offer.
If the idea of a river cruise sounds intriguing, but some members of the group voice concerns about whether there will be enough activity for the younger members of the family, one river cruise option just might provide the solution. Disney also offers a river cruise along the Danube River, with daily stops in Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia. Just as with everything else they offer, this river cruise is designed specifically for families, with plenty of activities and more than enough opportunities to become immersed in the culture of each destination.
Regardless which type of river cruise you choose, this will be a cruise experience one that your family will never forget. From the ultimate luxury that is a trademark of river cruising, to the one-of-a-kind destinations, to the amazing views that literally change on a daily basis, a river cruise could just be the perfect adventure for everyone in your multi-generational family group. Best of all, the kids will probably not even need their alarm clocks, eagerly waking to whatever the day brings as their floating hotel transports them overnight to their next amazing stop.
If you need help in choosing the perfect river cruise for your group, give us a call. We can help and, before you know it, you will be on your way!
Liz and Mike Kohler
We specialize in family travel to Europe and Central America creating memories to last a lifetime.