Europe river cruise with kids

Jan 3rd, 2014, 06:53 PM
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Europe river cruise with kids

We are considering doing a Europe river cruise this summer with our 7 and 5 yr old kids. In doing our research though, it looks like children aren't exactly common on these cruises. Has anyone been on a river cruise and seen or taken their kids along? I've seen one cruise company that offers "multi generational" cruises but only on fixed dates which don't work for us. Thanks!
cmsteer is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2014, 07:16 PM
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Children would be very unusual on most of these cruises. They are definitely geared to adults - both the ships themselves which have small cabins meant for two, no play areas on board, and any ground tours would be really tough w/ a 5yo.

Even if children were encouraged - the other, mainly older adults wouldn't be thrilled.

So unless it is a special 'family' cruise, small children wouldn't be a good fit -- for the kids or for the other passengers.
janisj is online now  
Jan 3rd, 2014, 07:18 PM
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. . . Large Mediterranean cruise ships would be a different matter . . . lots of children take those. But not river cruises.
janisj is online now  
Jan 3rd, 2014, 07:21 PM
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I think you would want to take the family week option on a river cruise. From our experience there are very few children aboard otherwise, no activities geared for them, and probably a whole lot of people not anxious to spend time with young children. I would do some research at cruise critic and see what the feeling is over there. Personally, I would not do it.
socaltraveler is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2014, 07:42 PM
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Have you considered travelling by canal boat? You have a boat to yourselves. You would be independent and could set your own agenda much more. Friends did one with three generations and absolutely loved it.
dreamon is online now  
Jan 3rd, 2014, 07:50 PM
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I run into river cruise tour group often in Europe. How do I know? They have name tags with "Viking Cruise," "Unitour," etc. or banquet rooms and tour buses with similar signs. Despite the what you see on their brochures, the people on these tours looked like in their 60s and 70s. I also think the relatively high per day price tag does not go well with young families with small children.
greg is online now  
Jan 4th, 2014, 03:11 AM
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With such young children, I would suggest finding a nice rental in a pleasant area, where you can relax and take a limited number of day trips by rental car.
bvlenci is offline  
Jan 4th, 2014, 03:44 AM
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Echoing what everyone else has said--your kids will NOT be happy, and the other passengers will not be thrilled, no matter how much you assure us that your kids are so well behaved.
The cruisers are not small--but they are definitely not cut out for running around. It will be boring for them and stressful for you to make them happy.
Gretchen is offline  
Jan 4th, 2014, 06:06 AM
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Thanks everyone! Your responses were very helpful and pretty much what we were suspecting. I like the idea of finding a nice central spot and then doing day trips from there. The canal boat rental is also a great idea! Thanks!
cmsteer is offline  
Jan 8th, 2014, 12:07 AM
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just to echo everyone...not a good idea. if you want a cruise, consider a Med cruise. We've been on two with the kids (ages 8 and 3) and they are great. MSC has kids sail free.
eluckhardt is offline  
Jan 8th, 2014, 04:03 AM
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A canal boat rental may not be a great idea either. You are still VERY confined with young children and a very slow way to sightsee.
Gretchen is offline  
Jan 8th, 2014, 05:27 AM
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It is not for nothing that Viking River Cruises sponsors Downton Abbey. If your children would enjoy sitting through a week of Downton Abbey episodes, they might make it on a River Cruise. Otherwise no go.
JulieVikmanis is offline  
Jan 8th, 2014, 10:28 AM
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It would hard to beat the Dordogne for the sheer number of things that kids and parents of all ages can enjoy together.
StCirq is online now  
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