Keeping the attention of little ones is far more challenging aboard river ships than on large ocean liners. Here is how to find the best kid-friendly European river cruises.

Ocean vessels offer many activities to keep passengers occupied, such as waterslides, kids’ clubs, entertainment, and more. But river lines are upping the ante and offering a range of activities for multigenerational families.

Exploring Europe has never been more fun for families with kids who can take off on a bicycle to learn how to make Venetian masks in Italy, indulge in a fairytale dinner in a century-old castle along the Rhine River,  hop on hot air balloons in Paris or play petanque in Provence.

The immersive experience on board river ships means families can learn how to cook together, master the complexity of speaking a foreign language, or play chess on the sundeck.

Most river ships can accommodate about 200 guests, paving the way for a more personal holiday for multigenerational families. Smaller ships also mean fewer queues for embarking or disembarking the ships at various ports.

Which river cruise lines are kid-friendly

Adventures by Disney/AmaWaterways/Apt

Exploring some of Europe’s most magnificent destinations as you sail along the Rhone, Seine, Rhine and Danube Rivers on an Adventures by Disney River cruise vacation with AmaWaterways/APT has never been more exciting. You can zip-line above the Black Forest, visit a local apricot farm, tour a medieval castle, watch a cheese demonstration in Holland, or enjoy a Disney movie on board the ship. There’s always something for everyone. There are Disney Adventure Guides on each sailing to help families connect to the local people, culture and traditions of the places you visit. There are also specially designed activities for children and teens, including a baking class for kids. Adjoining staterooms are available to accommodate up to four people.



The boutique river line has been targeting multigenerational families with discounted prices, special kid-friendly menus, dedicated family hosts and special excursions and activities for young travellers. Junior and teen cruisers aged between four and 17 will get a 25 per cent discount on the cruise fare when travelling with an adult. Kids will enjoy a dessert-making session with the ship’s pastry chef, a ship tour with the Captain or hotel manager and an exclusive kids’ lounge stocked with snacks and games. Itineraries include Castles along the Rhine, Delightful Danube and Prague, Gems of Northern Italy, Christmas Markets and Parisian Royal Holiday.


A-Rosa Cruises

All children up to the age of 15 travel free on A-Rosa. The line’s family cruises have spacious family cabins and adjoining staterooms. Excursions include visits to the Comic Worlds in Antwerp. There is also a kids’ club with an experienced children’s entertainer and many activities such as treasure hunts, face painting, t-shirt design, and theme days, including a creative atelier or pirate day. Restaurants have a special kid’s menu. The line offers seven-night family itineraries along the Rhine, Maine, Moselle, Danube, Rhine and Seine Rivers.


Tauck River Cruising

The line’s family vacations are designed “to spark a passion, inspire a sense of wonder and bring families closer together.”  Families also get to make friends with other families who travel on the ship. Itineraries feature cruises on the Danube, Rhone, Rhine and Seine. The kid-friendly fun includes a scavenger hunt in the Louvre, Bratislava Devin Castle jousting in Slovakia, a French cooking class in Valance and a private dinner tour of Reichenstein Castle on the Rhine. Tauck has also waived the single supplement, ideal for single parents or grandparents travelling with the family.


Book your family river cruise!

Planning a family vacation? Cruise Passenger highlights the best kid-friendly river cruises that promise fun and excitement for the whole family. From onboard activities to child-friendly shore excursions, we provide everything you need to know to ensure a memorable and enjoyable experience for kids of all ages.