River Cruises: Fun for the Whole Family

 
The view from castle ruins sitting above Durnstein, Austria

The view from castle ruins sitting above Durnstein, Austria

Checking out the view from our stateroom...

Checking out the view from our stateroom...

Tauck Bridges is well known and loved for their family-centric small group tours.  They now offer specific river cruise itineraries where kids are not only welcome, but Tauck makes the children’s experience a priority.  This summer, I was thrilled to take my 8 year old son Teddy on their Blue Danube: Family Riverboat Adventure.  I had a few reservations about how much fun a young boy can have on a river cruise visiting small European villages, but we had a blast!! 

We flew into Munich, Germany where our private driver met us in the arrivals hall and whisked us to the Hotel Bayerisher Hof to meet our crew.  We then transferred to Vilshofen, Germany where we boarded the MS Esprit.  Our cabin has two twin beds, plenty of closet space and a full wall of windows and a french balcony providing unobstructed views of the countryside.  The lower floor has rooms with just windows.  I think it is well worth the extra money to get the wall of windows and a door to let in the fresh air.  The suites on the top floor are truly as roomy as a hotel room with very spacious bathrooms.  

We visited a few large cities such as Vienna and Salzburg and a few small villages.  Our absolute favorite day was in Durnstein, Austria.  It is such a quintessential small Austrian town where we rode bikes along the river and hiked to the top of castle ruins for a magnificent view of the Danube and bucolic countryside.  Another favorite day was in Brataslava, Slovakia.  Teddy and I loved exploring the capital of Slovakia, visiting its shops and trying its wonderful food.  These smaller towns were a better fit for the young kids.  They were more relaxed and could have fun exploring.  The larger cities were a bit more intimidating for them to navigate.  The teenagers on board seemed to really love visiting the larger cities.

What truly made our trip special was the crew on the MS Esprit.  Carlos, the cruise director, was a great leader and ended every announcement with ‘ciao for now’.  The kids loved it.  The staff was also exceptional and took great care with the kids.  Our tour guides who live in the cities we visited were also wonderful. 

Would I take a river cruise again?  Yes!!  Next time, I want to take the whole family.  This cruise had a nice group of younger kids that all became fast friends.  The teenagers also had their own group and seemed to be having a great time.  As a result, all us moms, dads, grandparents and special friends had a blast enjoying the scenery, great wine and making family memories to last a lifetime.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this special experience at 314-780-8845 or julie@topflighttravels.com.