Adventures by Disney to offer river cruising

Adventures by Disney, Walt Disney Company’s tour operator brand, on Monday said that it is getting into the river cruise game through a partnership with AmaWaterways.

Starting in 2016, Adventures by Disney will offer four sailings along the Danube River during the summer months, and one holiday-themed sailing in December 2016. The itineraries travel through Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary.

Adventures by Disney will charter the 170-passenger AmaViola, a ship that is launching in 2016 and is being custom-built to cater to families. Family-friendly features on the AmaViola will be six sets of connecting staterooms, as well as some rooms and suites that can accommodate families of three or four people. Shipboard spaces are being reimagined to allow for activities geared towards passengers of all ages.

Bookings on the five cruises open Tuesday to past Adventures by Disney guests and members of the Disney Vacation Club. Bookings to the general public open Wednesday.

At an event in New York to introduce the cruises, executives from Adventures by Disney and Ama Waterways said the partnership had been two years in the making.

“We’re constantly on the lookout for … new destinations and new formats,” said Ken Potrock, senior vice president and general manager for Adventures by Disney. Two trends they identified, he said, were multigenerational travel and river cruising.

For Ama’s part, the line has already been accommodating families, particularly on its Christmas markets cruises, Schreiner said.

On the Adventures by Disney sailings there will be wine tastings, fine dining, music, dancing and an onboard fitness center geared toward adults, and movies, karaoke, relay games, chess lessons on an oversized board, video games and themed nights for children and teens.

There will be eight Adventures by Disney guides on each sailing in addition to the existing AmaWaterways crew.

Unlike the oceangoing Disney Cruise Line, however, the river product will not carry a complement of Disney characters, and there will not be character- or movie-themed excursions. “We bring the stories of Europe to life,” but not the stories of Disney, Potrock told the audience.

The Adventures by Disney sailings will take place July 7, 14, 21 and 28, 2016, and will include a nighttime illuminations cruise through Budapest; a horse show at the Lazar Equestrian Park in Hungary; a visit to the Devin Castle in Bratislava, Slovakia; a private marionette performance and strudel making demonstration at the Schonbrunn Palace in Austria; a falconry show at the Hohenwerfen castle in Austria; an Oktoberfest event at a German brewery; and biking in every port.

The holiday-themed sailing, departing Dec. 22, 2016, will include visits to the Christmas markets in Budapest and Vienna, and a boys choir Christmas performance at the Hofburg Palace Chapel in Vienna.

Potrock said the company would gauge interest with the first five cruises but said it was “in a position to very quickly expand.”

Passengers can add a three-day pre- or post-cruise extension in Prague.

Adventures by Disney, which launched in 2005, offers 30 guided vacations on six continents.

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