A spoonful of Disney on the Danube

A spoonful of Disney on the Danube

To river cruising and beyond!

Adventures by Disney, the company’s tour operator brand, will charter AmaWaterways’ brand new AmaViola to launch a series of European river cruises in 2016, it has been revealed.

The 170-passenger AmaViola will launch next year to host four seven-night departures in July 2016 along the Danube River, taking guests to eight cities in Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary including Vienna and Budapest. A special one-off holiday-themed sailing is also scheduled for December 22 and will include visits to Christmas markets.

“We think the Disney brand will bring families to the river cruising category, and we think that’s a very exciting development for the industry,” a Disney executive in charge of the project, Ken Potrock told USA TODAY in an exclusive interview yesterday.

The ship is being custom-built to cater specifically for families, including interconnecting staterooms and suites to accommodate groups of up to five people, a rarity in river cruising.

“We really wanted to build this from the ground up (for families),” he says. “The traditional river cruising vessel is staterooms for two, and families don’t travel in that configuration. Sometimes they travel in three and four and five, and multigenerational, and families traveling with other families,” Potrock said.

As per a report on USA Today, each stop will feature guided tours with families in mind, as well as options to explore destinations via bicycle. Rates quoted start at US$4100 per person, twin share.

The 10-year old company Adventures by Disney offers 30 guided-holidays on six continents and the sailings will be separate from its Disney Cruise Line programmes, which operates four ocean-vessels. The new venture, while starting small, is expected to expand if successful, according to Disney.

“We aspire to more, both in terms of the number of departures and the rivers that we consider, and (also) in terms of the geographic locales from a worldwide perspective,” Potrock told the paper.

“We think the response is going to be great, and we’re already having conversations about what more could look like.”

Onboard, the ship will feature the signature Disney flair including interactive Disney games and family competitions. The paper reports the company will also stop in parks along the route for families to take a break from touring to play field games.

Disney will include up to five or six special entertainment activities for children, to add another point of difference to competitors.

A passenger “might choose to do one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening,” Potrock told the paper. Disney wants people to “come away and say, ‘wow, there was more (there) than I ever thought I would get to do.'”

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