Adventures by Disney with first-ever river cruises

By ,   April 15, 2015 ,   Cruise Industry

Adventures by Disney announced its first-ever river cruise itineraries. Starting summer 2016, the 10-year-old company has teamed up with AmaWaterways to offer 5 week-long Danube River cruises aimed at families.

Four sailings along the Danube in the summer of 2016, as well as a holiday themed cruise in December 2016, will give passengers the opportunity to experience 8 destinations across 4 countries – Austria, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia.

Adventures by Disney has put together itineraries and family activities both on and off the cruise ship, while AmaWaterways is building the AmaViola especially for families, with connecting cabins unique in river cruising.

The senior vice president and general manager Adventures by Disney, Ken Potrock, said the fit with Ama was a "perfect match" because the river line already offered a high-quality product, and the philosophies of both companies had aligned.

The partnership is not necessarily "Disney" as you will not see characters on the boat or in call ports. Instead, the "Adventure Guides" that are Disney-trained will introduce guests to local experiences. The target market is U.S. and English-speaking passengers from around the world, so about 50% of the guides are from the U.S. with the other half locals from the destinations visited.

In 2016 guests can sail 7-day itineraries July 7, 14, 21 or 28, from Vilshofen, Germany to Budapest, Hungary or the reverse. Passengers will have the option of adding on a 2-night pre- or post-cruise stay in Prague, Czech Republic. The 5th cruise, departing from Budapest to Vilshofen, starts December 22 and will explore European Christmas markets and open-air vendor spaces with drinks, food, music and locally made crafts.

AmaViola will spend much more time in ports of call than most riverboats do. The ship will arrive early in the morning and leave late at night with most sailings taking place overnight.

The shore excursions include visits to the 900-year-old Hohenwerfen Castle (Passau) and watching a live falconry show; the Lazar Equestrian Park (Budapest) and taking a carriage ride; biking through the Wachau Valley; and watching the Vienna Boys Choir at Hofburg Palace Chapel on Christmas. 

Meals will emphasize on local cuisine. However, Ama has added a children's menu, so staples like chicken fingers and pizza will be available, together with sophisticated options, vegetarian options and alternatives for those with sensitivities and allergies.

The voyages are all-inclusive and passengers can pick from 2 or 3 excursions in each port. The minimum age for cruising is 4, but the recommended is 8 and older. 

Prices start at $3,900 per person for kids and $4,100 per person for adults.

Past Adventures by Disney cruisers (called "Adventure Insiders") started booking yesterday at 8 a.m. Cruises are available for everyone else to book starting today. 

Parents will be able "to see the world through the eyes of their kids".