6 Ships That Are Surprisingly Good for Familiesby Danielle Contray | July 14, 2016
6. Uniworld River Cruises
AmaViola’s Disney sailings aside, it is rare to find a river cruise line that makes families with small children a focus. Many lines have higher minimum age requirements than oceangoing ships — Avalon has a minimum age of eight, while Viking and Scenic require kids to be 12 — and most lack specific activities for kids. In contrast, Uniworld offers more than a dozen family-focused cruises on a variety of ships. The kids programs focus on the destination, with a “soda sommelier” who offers up a selection of local soft drinks and onboard visits by children who live in the surrounding area to do programs about local life. Kids can also choose to sit with their peers at dinner, where they get a lesson in the region’s cuisine. A separate shore excursion is also offered in every port for families, geared more toward the pace and attention span of younger passengers than, say, a two-hour walking tour of medieval churches.
Why Kids Will Love It: A special lounge stocked with a PlayStation, kid-friendly movies, and snacks is set up just for these sailings. The ship’s pastry chef also teaches classes to young cruisers. Expect to make some pretty epic gingerbread houses during the Christmas markets cruise in Germany.
The Details: Uniworld’s family sailings are planned for June, July, and August (with a special December Christmas market sailing) and cruise along the Danube and Rhine. The summertime Splendors of Italy trip combines a cruise on the Po River with time on land in Rome, Florence, Milan, and Venice. Children age four and over are allowed on all Uniworld sailings, but there are no special programs (or anything really kid-centric at all) unless you are on one of the cruises specifically geared toward families.
Danielle Contray is the Brooklyn-based managing editor of ShermansCruise.