River cruises are a new concept to me, but I am totally intrigued. I first learned of the benefits of river cruising for families at the Family Travel Summit in Tucson, AZ this past year and ever since I have been tinkering with booking one. Fast forward to the excitement that landed in my inbox this morning. Adventures by Disney just released their amazing 2018 river cruise vacations. I’ll I can say is that next year’s sailings are what DREAMS are made of. You are going to have to read on to learn just what I am talking about. BUT… BEWARE once you read about these incredible experiences you will have no choice but to book one.
Just Released… Adventures by Disney River Cruises for 2018
My love for Disney + Travel sort of crept up on me. You see, I grew up in Southern CA and Disneyland trips were a regular part of my childhood summers. But, when my husband and I were dating we took a trip to Walt Disney World and that trip changed everything. We ended up purchasing Disney Vacation Club points soon after returning home. We knew we wanted to get married and have a bunch of kids (nailed that) and we knew we wanted to ensure we could vacation with them. Our DVC membership has made that dream a reality and over the years we have come to expect a certain level of service while traveling and because Disney has set that bar incredibly high we find ourselves returning to them over & over when we are booking family vacations.
We have traveled with our kids more times that we can count to both Disneyland and Disney World. Disney’s Aulani has become like a second home, and after our spring break Disney Cruise we will be Platinum Castaway Club Members. We even made a side trip just to visit Disneyland Paris on our big Europe trip a few years ago. It is fair to say that our love for Disney runs deep. However, there is still one Disney travel experience that remains on our bucket list, an Adventures by Disney Vacation. After looking into the river cruise itineraries they just released for 2018, I want to book one now more than ever!
Disney is bringing their magical touch onboard both their Rhine & Danube River Cruises. In 2018, they have added themed enhancements including special experiences featuring “Beauty & the Beast” on the Rhine River and “The Sound of Music” on Danube sailings.
Six special departures on the Rhine River in 2018 will be celebrating the quaint villages and culture that inspired scenes from “Beauty & the Beast” films. There is also a special “Beauty & the Beast” themed dining experience, plus additional culinary encounters inspired by the film. Families will enjoy screenings of both the live-action and animated versions of the film onboard (I know Ella and I would be watching them back to back). Plus, guests will be able to tour the town of Riquewihr which is reminiscent of Belle’s own French village. I mean seriously, how adorable is this town.
The Danube sailings are just as dreamy. Picture revisiting scenes from “The Sound of Music” in Salzburg, exploring a real-life castle in Bratislava, and taking traditional Austrian folk dancing lessons in Melk. Seriously, just writing about this has me daydreaming of all the memories I could create with Ella in these incredible destinations. I need to find Tinker Bell so I can be sprinkled in pixie dust and transported onboard one of these incredible ships.
Adventures by Disney River Cruises also offer special holiday sailings on both the Rhine and Danube sailings. I have yet to visit a European Christmas Market and I can’t think of a better way to check that off my bucket list!
Of course, the boat you are cruising on and the service you experience with Disney are incredible. But, as with any cruise, the destinations and itineraries are an integral component. Luckily, Disney knows that and they are sailing to incredible places in 2018.
The Rhine River Cruise begins in Switzerland, then stops in France, Germany, and the Netherlands.
The Danube sailings begin in Germany, then move on to port in Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary. You also have the option to extend your cruise to Prague which I would HIGHLY recommend. Prague is one of my all-time favorite destinations. Read about my adventures in Prague here.
One of a Kind in Port Experiences
River cruises are unique as they move slower through destinations and you are able to explore the towns and cities in more depth. This also allows more time to book incredible experiences while in port and Adventures by Disney has some AMAZING adventures to offer every member of your family.
From active adventures like scenic bike rides in Holland and tobogganing in the Black Forest to less strenuous activities like a private tour of the famous storybook Heidelberg Castle and Chocolate Making Classes, Adventures by Disney truly has something in store for EVERY member of your family. Reading through the daily itineraries I can totally picture Disney River Cruises being the most amazing multi-generational trip EVER!!
Disney has teamed with AmaWaterways so you can expect spacious and luxurious staterooms, world-class service, and critically acclaimed dining.
There are various classes of staterooms that can occupy between 2-4 guests. Suites come with both a French & outside balcony which sounds absolutely divine. All rooms include a complimentary internet & wi-fi, flat screen tv’s, Egyptian linens, multi-jet showerheads, spa-quality toiletries and terry bathrobes & slippers.
AmaWaterways is known in the River Cruise space as a brand that is always exceeding guests expectations. So, if you are used to the top-notch service Disney provides you will be pleasantly surprised by your onboard experience with AmaWaterways.
Foodies like me will appreciate the culinary love expressed onboard the AmaWaterways fleet. The European cruise menus are overseen by executive chef, Primus Perchtold who is the winner of three gold medals at the European Championship of Culinary Art. Plus, AmaWaterways was inducted into La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, a prestigious international gastronomic society dedicated to fine cuisine.
Adventures by Disney River Cruises include the following:
- Deluxe Accommodations.
- Fine Dining onboard for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.
- Unlimited local wine, beer, soft drinks with every lunch and dinner.
- Your choice of excursions daily.
- Services of Adventure Guides.
- Select meals off the ship for added experiences.
- Cocktail Reception, Special Welcome Dinner, and Captain’s Gala Dinner.
- All entertainment onboard including baking classes for the kids, piano lounge, karaoke night & more!
- Complimentary bottled water.
- Free Wi-Fi and internet access.
- All gratuities.
Adult-Only Epicurean & Oktoberfest Cruises
You know I LOVE traveling with my munchkins but, did you also know I also think it is incredibly important for couples to get away for some alone time every once in awhile too?
These special adult-exclusive 2018 Adventures by Disney River Cruises on the Rhine River look like such a memorable way to spend time with your spouse. Highlights include activities such as wine tasting, gourmet food demonstrations, culinary walking tours in several ports, a French patisserie class (OMG… I wonder if they teach you how to make macarons??), local beer and wine pairings, craft cocktail blending seminars and more. The activities were actually inspired by some of my favorite Disney events including Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival and Disney California Adventure’s Food & Wine Festival.
Adventures by Disney River Cruises also added a special Oktoberfest sailing in September on their Danube schedule. This special itinerary will visit Germany during their iconic annual Oktoberfest celebration and will include festive themed parties and treats both on and off the ship. It’s such interesting timing as Mike literally just mentioned the two of us checking out Oktoberfest last week! Maybe it’s a sign and I should book it 😉
Top 5 Benefits of River Cruises for Families
Disney is changing the face of river cruising, what once was reserved for active seniors, elitists, and well-traveled wine loving enthusiasts is now open to families. Why would you choose to book a river cruise? Let me elaborate on why river cruises are fantastic for families.
1 Unpack just once
If checking off European countries is on your bucket list there is no better way to do it than onboard a river cruise. Instead of packing and unpacking at each stop and hassling with train rides from one country to the next. You are transported from point-to-point on your own moving luxury resort and you only have to unpack once. How is that for convenience!
2 A VIP experience
River cruise ships are much smaller than their ocean counterparts. With fewer guests onboard you receive more attention from the staff and a more personal experience overall.
3 Luxurious Accommodations
River ships are often called “floating hotels” as many are fitted with 4 & 5-star rooms and suites. Plus, most rooms include a balcony so you can soak up the incredible (ever-changing) views right from the comfort of your own cabin. It sure beats changing hotels constantly.
4 Relaxed Pace
River cruises are known for smoother waters, slower speeds, and a more relaxed pace than the giant ocean cruise ships. The tranquil pace makes it easier for the whole family to unwind and rest after a big day exploring in port. And, isn’t that what vacation is really all about, rest and relaxation?
5 Inclusive Extras
I have been told by my experienced river cruise loving friends that first-timers often overlook all the included extras that are offered on a river cruise when comparing prices. Chances are a river cruise is actually much more budget-friendly than you might think.
Ready to book an Adventures by Disney River Cruise?
*All photos provided by Adventures by Disney.