AmaWaterways, Adventures by Disney partner on Danube trips for families

AmaWaterways, Adventures by Disney partner on Danube trips for families
Bratislava Castle, overlooking the Slovakian city of the same name, is among the stops on five Amawaterways Danube River cruises for families set for 2016. (Steven Vielhaber / For The Times)

River cruise company AmaWaterways will team with Adventures by Disney to offer Danube River cruises in 2016 that are designed for families.

These seven-night charters will launch next year with four sailings in July and a Christmas-themed trip in December on AmaWaterways' new 170-passenger AmaViola.

Vilshofen, Germany, and Budapest, Hungary, bookend ports of call including Vienna and Bratislava, Slovakia.

The move is a game changer but not surprising: River cruising isn't just the biggest trend in cruising right now; it's the biggest trend in travel, according to Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-owner of AmaWaterways. She's not the only one who thinks so: Virtuoso's 2015 Luxe Report, based on the organization's annual survey of travel advisors, lists river cruising as the hottest trend in travel this year.

AmaWaterways is tailoring the ship itself to fit the needs of families by creating cabins with connecting doors as well as adding pull-out couches in some of the suites.

In addition, eight Disney Adventures guides will join each cruise to facilitate tour options in each port and on-board activities, such as teen dinners, kid-oriented movie nights with popcorn, family friendly karaoke parties and Austrian folkloric dancing lessons for the whole clan.

Teens will be given a gift bag that includes such items as soccer balls. Adventure Guides can lead excursions to nearby parks.

During the day, shore excursions will include castle tours, falconry demonstrations, goulash-making lessons and opportunities for exploration by bicycle (with a van on hand to pick up cruisers if they tire).

At night, local entertainers — such as a troupe singing hits from "The Sound of Music" — will come on board to perform.

The sailings are geared largely for families with slightly older children — the minimum age requirement will be 4 years old but families will be encouraged not to bring children younger than 8. On-board babysitting services will not be provided.

Info: (800) 626-0126 or contact a travel agent.

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