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shrimpmom

Recommendation needed: First time river cruise with teenage daughter

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I'm considering taking a river cruise with my daughter when she graduates from high school in a couple of years. She's never been to Europe nor ever on a cruise, but I think a river cruise would be a great way to explore the ports with the confidence of having port guides/excursions and the ship to return to after each day in port.  I've shown her some of the itineraries and she's very excited to give it a try.

 

Does anyone have any recommendations on what lines/ships/itineraries would be best? We have friends who recently went on an AMA cruise (Disney) and they absolutely loved it.

 

We don't want necessarily the cheapest cruise but our budget won't allow for anything on the high-end either (have college to pay for :))  We'd likely be looking at 10 days or less for the entire vacation.  Ideally summer would be the ideal timeframe, before she leaves for school in the fall.

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I believe Viking extended their prohibition on those under 18 from their ocean cruises to the river cruises, as well, last summer. Depending on your daughter's birthday, that's one option to remove from your list. 

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There have been good reports of Disney with Ama here on cc. Not so much in detail but as a general statement. Have a look at the dates available, perhaps they fit your budget. For Summer it might be important to you to consider the European holidays in the route that you choose. Generally speaking, mid June is the start of the holidays in the various countries and they tend to end latest first weekend in September. Lengths vary within that time frame.

 

I think you cannot go wrong with the Rhine, but Paris has a big allure for many teenagers. The Seine might appeal to her but Normandy excursions might be a bit too heavy on history.

 

For companies you could look into Avalon with their active cruises and if she is the sporty type she might appreciate a fitness room, something which Viking does not have for example.

 

Entertainment is very low key on river cruises in the evening, so one evening where you are docked long in town, even if it is only for drinks in the beer garden (alcohol in many European countries is allowed from age 18 (even 16 depending on beverage)) she may love to have.

 

There are many little details you may want to look at so I recommend for that the stickies on top of this board by our host jazzbeau.

 

Have fun planning.

 

notamermaid

 

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Have a look at Emerald, it was launched as being aimed at a younger demographic and has a cinema which becomes a pool during the day. My eldest daughter went interailing at about that age so river cruising would be a good introduction to Europe have fun choosing and cruising. CA

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53 minutes ago, Roz said:

I know you said you don't want anything high end, but I would like to point out that Uniworld has its Generations cruises.  You may want to check this out just as a frame of reference as you explore your options:

https://www.uniworld.com/en/themed-cruises/family-friendly-cruises/

 

Roz

 

Personally I would think that an older teenager would not enjoy excursions designed for much younger children. Depending on her interests, you might look at Ama or Avalon which both have more active itineraries.

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Posted (edited)

I think some of the cruises that offer biking (either tours or just to borrow off the boat while in port) would be fun! Avalon and AMA at a minimum offer but I think others do as well (and maybe not all ships/itineraries so you'd have to confirm if it's of interest).

 

If you're up in the air on itinerary, think about ease/cost of flying in & out. Amsterdam tends to be super easy to get to from the US, as is Paris (though as noted some of the Paris itineraries might not be as interesting). 

Edited by Hoyaheel

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gnome12,

 

Had not thought of that, yes, daughter might prefer to get away from the 12-year-olds, etc.

 

Hoyaheel,

Makes me think that Amsterdam is a good city to end in, certainly a great place for a teenager to see (not been there myself, judging from hearsay). There is a Paris to Amsterdam itinerary with Avalon that the OP could look into.

 

notamermaid

 

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Posted (edited)

Key off your daughter's interests.  If she's notably into some period of history or some country, pick the cruise itinerary and then choose a cruise line.  If price is important, shop around.  Look for deals.  I'm taking 3 generations including teenage* granddaughters on Viking's Paris to Normandy cruise this July.  They are both fluent in French (AP French courses).  The Bayeux Tapestry which they studied in history is a particular interest.  I bet they like all the Joan of Arc (she was 16) sites we'll see.  Their parents are taking them post cruise on a Loire Valley chateaus self-excursion we'd done previously.  They like that stuff.  

I'd looked into Uniworld Generations and it's likely to have lots of much younger kids with activities that a college entrant probably will not enjoy.
I'm interested in what you find suitable as I'm shopping for a non-Viking alternative for teens.

* viking raised minimum age from 12 to 18 after we paid in full.  viking wants to keep the money.  go figure.  :)

Edited by philw1776

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Amawaterways offers bike and hiking tours at each stop. If there’s an itinerary that does both Paris and Amsterdam that would be perfect for a teenager. I’ve taken three River Cruises during the month of July, and on each one there were family groups with teenagers traveling. 

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Venturing out into the world of European companies can give you more options still. CroisiEurope is French, Riviera River Cruises is based in the UK.

 

You could also have a look at Arosa, a German company. They offer family cruises. Again, this might be too young for your daughter.

 

All three might have different policies as regards all-inclusive offers which is worth checking out as this could save you money.

 

notamermaid

 

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I am going to mention to not rule out pricing out the higher end lines also. I have friends who found a higher end line cheaper than Viking River Cruises. Might as well look at what all is offered.

 

I think this will be a great trip for your daughter!

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There were two teens on our Avalon Prague to Paris trip.  They really seemed to enjoy themselves.  Paris in August was uncrowded and wonderful.

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Uniworld offers bike excursions and carries bikes on board for anyone who wants to borrow one while in port.

 

On our 3 Uniworld cruises (not Generations cruises) only once did we have a college age passenger.  On our first Uniworld cruise in 2015 we (our group of 5 adults with ages from the mid 50s to low 80s) made fast friends with the youngest (by a good 20 years) passenger on board who had just finished her freshman year in college and was traveling with her grandmother.  She thanked us at the end of the cruise for inviting her to lunch with us on the first day when she was sitting alone (grandmother was resting) and taking her under our collective wing.  We assured her that we enjoyed her and her grandmother's company just as much.

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