Disney and AmaWaterways Target New Family River Cruising Industry


Whilst ocean-faring cruise lines have successfully increased their family appeal over the past 20 years with a series of itineraries and features which appeal to all ages – river cruising has remained the domain of older generations. Smaller ships taking in ports of high culture and breath-taking views continue to make river cruising appealing to more mature audiences.

However, this could all be set to change as Disney and AmaWaterways join forces to offer five week-long cruises through the Danube River aimed primary at families. The venture, starting in Summer 2016, is spearheaded by Adventures by Disney – the initiative to promote experience holidays for families.

AmaWaterways have been tasked with building the ship to accommodate these family-friendly trips. The AmaViola will be the first cruise ship designed for river cruising to feature connecting cabins specifically designed for families.

Kristin Karst, co-owner and executive vice president of AmaWaterways, enthuses. “We are so very excited to bring the beauty of river cruising to the family market through these special sailings with Adventures by Disney. River cruising presents a terrific opportunity for immersion into the sights, history and culture of the world’s most magical destinations.

Frozen's Anna & Elsa

“We look forward to working together with Adventures by Disney to offer innovative experiences that help families create unforgettable memories. Parents want to see the world through the eyes of their kids.”

The ship will feature Disney-trained Adventure Guides taking the passengers ashore during the port visits and introducing them to locals and well as local sites and customs. The ships will not be overtly ‘Disney’ and will not feature characters from the films or over-the-top insignia on the decks or in cabins. The AmaViola will spend more time in ports than the industry standard, giving passengers more time to explore and immerse themselves in the culture.

Each port visit will include a number of different excursion options, allowing families to personalise the holiday to their specific tastes and interests. Excursions don’t have to be booked by passengers until embarkation, and the all-inclusive package as standard can help produce a stress-free holiday.


On board dining options will include local favourites but also incorporate a kids menu to ensure no one goes hungry throughout the cruise.

It is unclear whether the partnership will continue past the five planned cruises of 2016. The minimum sailing age is four years old but the recommended age is eight and above.

Images sourced via  Disney Facebook, Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: Loren Javier


About Author

Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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