Posts tagged Tauck
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.  

Family Vacations: Where to Travel with the Whole Family-Kids, Parents and Grandparents.
Gateway Canyons Resort

Gateway Canyons Resort

How do you ensure that three generations of family members enjoy themselves equally on the same trip?  While everyone loves the beach, there is so much of the World to see.  

1.  One suggestion is a river cruise in Europe.  Just a few years ago, river cruises did not welcome children and mainly catered to retirees.  That has changed.  During the summer months, a few river cruise lines now designate specific cruises for families and work very hard to ensure that all travelers enjoy themselves.  I think Uniworld Cruise Line is terrific.  I know my clients would love, love this cruise, and now they have a program called Generations Family Cruises, so the whole family can enjoy time together.  Click here for more information on Uniworld family cruises.  

I'm also very excited about Adventures by Disney teaming with Amawaterways for a summer cruise down the danube.  Your family unpacks only once as you travel from Budapest, Hungary to Slovakia, Austria and Germany, enjoying action-packed shore excursions specially designed for families.  You can join the kids in all these activities or sit and enjoy a cocktail on the observation deck, watching the countryside at a leisurely pace.  2016 is the first summer for this cruise, and it is completely sold out.  Don't miss 2017! 

2.  If you prefer the ocean, Crystal Cruises is the luxury operator best suited for the family market.  I prefer Crystal cruises when traveling with grandparents, because grandparents don’t have to endure the endless Disney “experience”, thus allowing all generations to enjoy their trip.  Children receive their own daily newsletter letting them know of the next day’s adventures which may include scavenger hunts, story times, galley tours, pizza making, fashion shows, karaoke, movies, pool games, late night pool parties for the older kids and Twister popcorn parties.  Your children will have a blast while the older generation enjoys the luxury amenities, dining, spa and entertainment onboard.  Most importantly, the whole family can experience exotic destinations together, including Alaska, Hawaii and the South Pacific, the Mediterranean Sea, New England and Canada, Northern Europe, South America, the Northwest Passage or the Panama Canal.  Other times, it is nice to just visit the Caribbean.

3.  You also don’t have to travel far from home to have a truly special and unique experience.  Gateway Canyons Resort was built by John Hendricks, the founder of the Discovery Channel.  He has created a sustainable, outdoor recreation resort that highlights the beauty of Gateway, Colorado.  It is located near Grand Junction, Colorado and can be easily reached with a quick layover in Denver.  The resort is located in Unaweep Canyon, one of the most unique red rock canyons in the World.  Ancient rivers eroded the rock away, exposing more than one hundred million years of the geologic record and fossils of dinosaurs and early amphibians.  It is breathtakingly beautiful.  It also has the most relaxing, beautiful pools, wonderful restaurants, excellent service and beautiful, deluxe accommodations.  It has an activity center where you can sign up to rock climb, hike, bike, horseback ride, take helicopter tours or rent outrageously expensive sports cars to take on the open road.  People also travel far distances to visit Mr. Hendrick’s auto museum onsite.  His personal collection of nearly 60 prized and impeccably preserved historic cars in the country are displayed in a unique gallery setting.  While in a remote setting, Gateway Canyons Resort offers fun and excitement for the whole family.  

Email or call me at 314-780-8845 to plan your next adventure with your family.