Adventures by Disney is launching river cruise itineraries onboard a new ship through a partnership with AmaWaterways, Travel Agent learned at a recent press conference in New York.
The new, family-focused European river cruises will launch with four sailings on the Danube River in summer 2016, as well as one holiday-themed departure in December 2016.
The new itineraries will take place onboard the new, 170-passenger AmaViola. The new ship is being built with family-friendly design elements in mind, including six sets of connecting staterooms. Additionally, the ship's suites have pull-out sofas that allow them to sleep three or four. Finally, Adventures by Disney plans to sail the ship at a faster pace than is common for river cruises, allowing for more time in a destination.
"We felt it was a natural expansion not just of our product, but of the overall river cruising category," said Ken Potrock, senior vice president and general manager of Disney Vacation Club and Adventures by Disney.
On each sailing, the AmaViola will be staffed by AmaWaterways crew and crew director, plus eight "adventure guides" from Adventures by Disney. Additionally, cultural ambassadors in each destination will host local excursions.
Activities will be tailored to multiple age levels, ranging from wine tasting and music classes for adults to karaoke and relay games for children. There will also be activities and themed nights geared especially toward teens.
The four summer 2016 sailings will take place July 7-14, July 14-21, July 21-28 and July 28 – August 4. The eight-day / seven-night itinerary will visit Austria, Germany, Slovakia and Hungary, with highlights including a tour of the Mirabell Gardens in Austria, a "Nighttime Illuminations Cruise" in Budapest, a falconry show at Hohenwerfen Castle in Austria and medieval activities at Devin Castle in Bratislava, Slovakia. Biking will be available in every port.
The holiday sailing will depart December 22 and include visits to Christmas markets in Budapest and Vienna, but the highlight of the itinerary will be a performance by the Vienna Boys Choir in the Hofburg Palace Chapel.
A three-day / two-night pre- or post-cruise stay will also be available in Prague. Guests will have the chance to experience a cultural immersion tour with a local tour guide, have dinner at the Folklore Garden with traditional music and dance and have a guided walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage site Český Krumlov.
Also of note? It will not be neccessary to book shore excursions in advance -- all excursions can be booked onbaord the ship. Fares will be all-inclusive, including local beer and wine onboard the ship, gratuities and port charges.