Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
MarLieb

AmaWaterways, Rhine cruise with a 12-year old?

Recommended Posts

Hello everyone!  I have had a river cruise on my bucket list for quite a while and am seriously considering a Rhine River cruise for next summer.  We are a family of 3 - my husband, me and our son who will be 12-years old at the time.  For context, we have traveled quite extensively with our son including fairly long land vacations (3 weeks in Central Europe, 3 weeks in Greece), plus big cruises (NCL, DCL and X) and two smaller cruises (Paul Gauguin and Lindblad/Nat. Geo).  My son is fairly mature in terms of dining (well-behaved, will eat and sample anything and everything) and is not loud or boisterous.  We just did the Galapagos with Nat. Geo/Lindblad and he took part in all of the excursions (hikes, snorkeling, etc) and was very interested in everything we experienced.  My inclination is to think he would be ok on AmaWaterways without a lot of other kids onboard, but I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the excursions offered as the descriptions on the website are pretty sparse.  I am looking, in particular at the Rhine cruise that goes from Basel to Amsterdam (or vice versa).  I know we could book Adventures by Disney's Rhine cruise (which partners with Ama), but it's almost $10k more and I'm not sure if we really need Disney to make this trip work for us or if their "extras" are worth $10k more.  I'm wondering if anyone who has traveled with children on Ama (or traveled on Ama with other children on board) could weigh in on their experience?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was a young boy on our Ama Danube cruise with his parents. He did fine. Ama always offers an active tour such as biking and hiking and these are the excursions the parents chose for them. I also noticed that he had a video game device for the long bus rides to certain places. You’d probably be better off eating as a family on a small table than him sitting through long dinners with lots of wine and adult conversation. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Got2Cruise said:

There was a young boy on our Ama Danube cruise with his parents. He did fine. Ama always offers an active tour such as biking and hiking and these are the excursions the parents chose for them. I also noticed that he had a video game device for the long bus rides to certain places. You’d probably be better off eating as a family on a small table than him sitting through long dinners with lots of wine and adult conversation. 

Wonderful suggestions - thank you!  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing is... there will NOT be other "lots of kids on board." (except the Disney themed/sponsored special departures.   A river cruise is very different from a sea cruise.  A very high percentage of the pax of senior/retirees.  We've done three river cruises in the past four years.  I've seen some older teens/college kids on board but only on one cruise and that was one family.  There are no activities designed to entertain a child.  The daily excursions tend to be historical walking tours.  Interesting but not exciting "fun!"  Some cruises may have "active discovery excursions.  That could be anything from kayaking to long hikes. 

Evening entertainment on board runs from a string quartet to beer tastings to the 'piano guy' who plays easy listening music in the lounge after dinner. 

Just want you to have the big picture.  If he's really into history, it could be an interesting trip.  If he's going to be hooked up to his device the entire cruise, it might be a waste of money. 

We also traveled extensively with our two boys when they were young, so they were very experienced travelers at an early age.  But a river cruise?  I don't think so . 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kenster, that's why I suggested Uniworld's family river cruises.

 

Roz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But my assumption is that on the Uniworld family cruises each family tends to stick together – at least during the day on the excursions.

 

Another factor pointing back to AMA:  their newer ships have cabins that accommodate 3 pax and also adjoining cabins.  Either situation may alter the price point in their favor for 2 adults plus 1 teen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think he will be ok.

On a Christmas theme cruise there were multigeneration families so it may depend on the time of year.

It is really a nice way to travel as a solo, couple or family.

Days can be busy nights quieter.

Not forced to join others if you do not want to do so.

Give it a try its only a short cruise so a good way to sample the experience. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have traveled on Uniworld when children have been onboard. On our Rhine cruise, we had a 12yo traveling with her aunt, and a 16yo traveling with his 3 older brothers, their girlfriends, and his parents. They had no problems staying "entertained"  The 12yo and aunt did most of the excursions, did the bike ride from Boppard to Koblenz, took time off to shop on their own, and had no problems interacting with other passengers. They took advantage of the movie theater and pool on board the Antoinette.

 

At his age, I think he will be fine. To address Jazzbeau's comments, Uniworld's River Empress, which sails the Rhine, has connecting staterooms. It doesn't look like the Antoinette does. At one time, Uniworld offered discounts to children traveling with parents, I don't know if this is still the case, as their "perks" continue to dwindle.

 

Another option would be to look at the AmaMagna, on the Danube. That itinerary and ship may be more appealing for a family of three.

 

Robin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My only experience with children on board a river cruise was when a grandfather took his 16 year old twin grandsons on a Rhine river cruise.  When I saw him at the airport after disembarkation, I asked him how the grandsons did and his one word answer was "Bored."  You could tell by the expressions on the boys' faces that they were not thrilled, as they immediately took out their electronic devices and buried their faces in them while they awaited their flight.  When you put 16 year olds in an environment with people who on average are in their late 60s, this is what would be expected.  Good luck with your plans, but how wonderful that you want to expose your son to international travel!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It really depends on the child in my opinion. I read from your description that he is well-travelled and can adapt. From what the other posters have said I would also deduce that both Amawaterways and Uniworld could fit you.

 

One thing to note is that WiFi on ships is not always what you are used to from home so a book or "card games with the old folks" might be the entertainment for him in the evening. You could make good use of smartphones by getting him engaged in planning, finding websites and using the info along the way, for example an app if you head out on your own without the tour guide.

 

If your son can enjoy cycle rides, guided walks, castles and ruins - perhaps try to get the excursion to Marksburg castle into the itinerary - and Cologne Cathedral (which just blew me away when I was twelve) then he can be fine.

 

As a side note: there is A-ROSA (a German company) which tends to cater for families. You would need to see what they currently offer on the US market.

 

notamermaid

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just wanted to chime in with a yes vote for Uniworld's Generations cruises.  The first river cruise DH & I did was Uniworld's Paris & Normandy & the sailing happened to be a Generations one (we don't have kids, that was just the departure date that worked best for us).  There were about 8-10 kids aboard ranging from about kindergarten to middle school age.  Uniworld offered several excursions geared more toward the kids interests so some families did those while others took the kids on the regular excursions.  Uniworld was fine In letting them do whichever they felt more in tune with.

  Uniworld also converted one of their single cabins into a game room for the sailing-full of DVDs & video games & all the kids congregated in there whenever we were sailing or after dinner.  From all the laughing going on it sounded like they were all having a blast.  

Overall though I think if your son is already a well adjusted traveler then I think he'd be just fine on a river cruise whether it was with other kids or without.  Enjoy your planning!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know your son best.  Readers and kids with a sense of history do best.  Just finished Viking Paris to Normandy with 14 & 16 yr old granddaughters.  They loved everything about a river cruise.  OK, except for the beer & wine.  Of course, they had each others' company.  Both are readers and hung out topside with books during day cruising.
This was not the typical geezer aged Viking demographic, as there were families on our cruise and on the cruise getting off as we arrived.  Most likely the last ones with reservations booked prior to Viking raising age from 12 to 18.

IMG_6831.jpg

IMG_6718.jpg

Edited by philw1776

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As Phil (with the beautiful Granddaughters) says, you know your son best.  If it is only the tours you are worried about, then do research on the ports to see what there may be that would interest him.  If he loves history & nice architecture, then he would probably be ok on the daily tours.  Since you will be in town for a specified time, then if you wish to break off from the organised tour, you can, as long as you know where & when to meet back up to get back on the boat.  You can even have him look up the towns visited to see if there is something he would like to see.  I believe Ama has bikes to borrow, so you can always take a day to bike around a town as well.  

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all, so much, for such valuable information, suggestions and feedback!  I am now leaning toward Uniworld Generations and the Adventures by Disney option with AmaWaterways.  Though I think he would be fine on a regular Ama river cruise, I know he would like having the option of hanging out in Uniworld's "kids" room or having dinner with the other kids on the Disney Ama cruise.  He is totally fine traipsing through European cities and towns with just me and my husband and, in fact, we will probably drive through Germany on our own prior to this cruise, but I think he would enjoy hanging out with some other kids for at least the cruise portion of the trip.  I'll do a little more research and start pricing things out.  Thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad to help.  That's what's so great about Cruise Critic.  

 

Roz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MarLieb

I wish I could find the thread from a year or two ago where we had a review done by both generations.  The young daughter gave us her perspective of their river cruise.  It was positive!  You know your son the best, so go for it, but watch out, you may just start a yearly request to go on river cruises!

RB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Ritabob said:

MarLieb

I wish I could find the thread from a year or two ago where we had a review done by both generations.  The young daughter gave us her perspective of their river cruise.  It was positive!  You know your son the best, so go for it, but watch out, you may just start a yearly request to go on river cruises!

RB

Oh!  I'll have to look for that review!  More river cruising would be just fine with me!  🙂  It sounds amazing.  I'm lucky that he likes to travel and have adventures.  I've already shown him videos of some of the river cruise ships and he is "onboard", so to speak! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was a 12-14 year old on our recent Amsterdam Basel Avalon cruise, I sort of watched him as I was interested in how he did.  Disclaimer, I’ve raised my kids and did not want a cruise with kids, there I said it, shoot me if you care too.   However, he never made a sound but as a dad who raised two sons I can attest that the kid had the most miserable scowl on his face all week.  I don’t know why there didn’t seem to be anything he liked, but it was easy to see the parents frustration.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/28/2019 at 4:57 PM, s35flyer said:

There was a 12-14 year old on our recent Amsterdam Basel Avalon cruise, I sort of watched him as I was interested in how he did.  Disclaimer, I’ve raised my kids and did not want a cruise with kids, there I said it, shoot me if you care too.   However, he never made a sound but as a dad who raised two sons I can attest that the kid had the most miserable scowl on his face all week.  I don’t know why there didn’t seem to be anything he liked, but it was easy to see the parents frustration.

I won't shoot you, LOL!  I know a lot of adults feel that way.  That's too bad about the scowl!  My DS11 wouldn't be scowling.  We just did a Lindblad/Nat. Geo Galapagos cruise and he was into absolutely everything - he loved it!  My husband, not so much - he was the one scowling on that trip - too many early mornings and too "rustic" as he would put it.  It's one of the reasons I was looking at Crystal - it doesn't look rustic AT ALL!!   🙂  Just trying to find a good balance so both my husband and my son enjoy the trip.

 

Thank you for your comments!  I understand there may be many adults on a Crystal river cruise that might feel this way.  We did a Celebrity cruise in December and I sort of got the same "vibe" in terms of age demographics, though my son really enjoyed that cruise as well.  Ok - food for thought - thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, MarLieb said:

 

Thank you for your comments!  I understand there may be many adults on a Crystal river cruise that might feel this way.  We did a Celebrity cruise in December and I sort of got the same "vibe" in terms of age demographics, though my son really enjoyed that cruise as well.  Ok - food for thought - thank you!

I did a Crystal river cruise in November and LOVED it. There was only 1 child who was probably 5 years old or so. He was traveling with a large family (multiple family trip probably). The boy did fine. He was even a star at a chocolate tasting portion of the excursion that we took. I did not hear from anyone who commented on the boy being on the ship. Every time I saw him - he seemed to be having fun. I know your son is older so this is not a good comparison. If your son is used to being around adults all the time - I say go for it.

Edited by Coral

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chiming in again...we just got back Friday from our Uniworld Castles on the Rhine trip. While it wasn't a Generations sailing there were still about 5 kids on board from 4 different families. They ranged in age from about 6 to late high school & while they didn't really interact w/ each other much they all seemed to be enjoying themselves.  The high school girls were the first on the dance floor every night & the little boy got a different fist bump/high five from the Dining Room Manager at every meal.  He even took him down to the kitchen one night & gave him his own chefs hat.  

 

You know your son best but I'd say he'd be just fine on a river cruise.  If you travel in summer there's a strong chance he wouldn't be the only kid aboard as well.  Happy Travels!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter Now for a Chance to Win a 7-day Cruise for Two
      • Q&A with InsureMyTrip
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...