Winter may still be in full force, but family clients are planning their summer vacations now. Suggest a vacation to remember with a family river cruise that will get mom, dad, the kids and even extended family members sailing the world’s rivers. They’ll have opportunities to truly immerse themselves in the culture of the countries they are visiting and get to spend quality time with each other. Here are some key things you need to know when selling family river cruises to your clients.
There Are Many Destinations
More and more destinations are being added to family river cruises, with each itinerary offering a range of excursions and immersive experiences that introduce children, parents and grandparents alike to local culture, as well as the history and cuisine of the country or region. The majority of departures are scheduled around school holidays, when families are available to travel. Your family river cruise clients may know about sailing along the Danube and the Rhine to countries such as Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Switzerland and The Netherlands, but also tell them about itineraries along the Po River in Italy and Seine River in France.
River cruise ships because of their small size typically are able to dock near the city center in Europe so that tours and activities begin right away without a long bus ride—a real plus for mom and dad. Describe excursions to parents so that you show, not tell them, what kids will experience. Children are able to become a part of their own fairytale stories with visits to storybook castles and villages. During the season, Christmas Markets in European towns are decked out for the holidays in full splendor. Local cuisine experiences include hands-on pasta workshops in Bologna and chocolate classes in Switzerland.
A treasure hunt at the Louvre while in Paris showcases the iconic museum in a way kids will love, Mask making on the island of Giudecca in Italy and guided nature hikes through Austria’s Wachau Valley are other excursions that bring the destinations to life for every age.
Look for Dedicated Family Programming
River cruise lines differ in their family policies in terms of minimum age of children. Many river cruise lines are recognizing the large potential of the family market and have begun creating dedicated family departures. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection continues to grow its Generations Collection, which now includes various departures on eight different itineraries that feature programming specific to families—including activities and amenities. Designed to cater to multigenerational family groups, the multiple daily excursions offered each day include at least one kid-specific and or family-friendly option.
Children’s menus are available daily, and kids have the choice to dine with their families or with other kids onboard. Each Generations Collection departure has two dedicated Family Hosts to oversee all activities for Junior Cruisers (ages 4 to 12 years) and Teen Cruisers (ages 13 to 17 years).
Think Multigenerational and Family Groups
Encourage family clients to invite grandparents, aunts and uncles, and family friends to make it a group travel event for all. Sometimes, the grandparents may pay for the entire family to travel together to mark a special birthday or anniversary so keep track of upcoming milestones for your clients. River cruises are ideal for multigenerational and family groups, allowing guests of all ages to find what interests them and their level of activity in each destination. Meals and many excursions can be shared together, creating quality family time experiences, while Family Hosts onboard take children on kids-only outings, so parents can have some time to themselves as well.
Check Out Pricing and Deals
Explain to mom, dad, or whomever is the decision-maker and paying for the river cruise that the all-inclusive pricing generally includes staterooms, meals, transfers, and usually shore excursions, making it a very good option for families. In addition, agents should look for discounts for early booking or offers for children sailing with adults on certain departures and use the special pricing as an additional incentive to close the sale. Uniworld cruises, for example, offer 25% off rates for guests ages 4 to 17 traveling with an adult on their Generations Collection departures. If families book during the “Our Best Offer Ever” promotion available through March 31, 2018, they can also take advantage of up to 30% off on select 2018 itineraries.