Disney’s foray into river cruising in Europe is growing with the introduction of new Rhine River trips on board a new ship in 2017.
Adventures by Disney, which will make ts first river cruise trips this summer on the Danube and will return in 2017 will now take on the Rhine River as well on a new ship from AMAWaterways.
“The Rhine is a beautiful river in a beautiful region,” said Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Adventures by Disney. “It’s going to be an eight-day, seven-night experience that I think people will love across four different countries: Germany, Netherlands, France and Switzerland.”
The plans are to offer fiver summer trips on the Rhine and one holiday cruise in 2017. The number of Danube River trips is increasing by one to eight total in 2017 as well. The Danube cruises will be on board AMAViola with the first-ever sailing coming up July 7, while the Rhine cruises will be on the new AMAKristina, currently under construction.
“We think about how we build the ships,” Potrock said. “AMA built the ships with our counsel to be right for families. How do we have larger cabins? How do we have cabins that sleep three and four? How do we create connecting staterooms? These are things that were not part of river cruise category prior to this.”
The 170-passenger ship will sail with eight adventure guides, all part of the effort by Adventures by Disney to offer as many activities to as many people as possible.
“What’s important about that is we’ve created activities for adults, for children and for families and with eight adventure guides on board the ship we have the ability for people to do whatever they want to do,” Potrock said.
“So for example if early in the morning somebody wants to get up and go for a bike ride, great. Ten people can do that. If a little later in the day 150 people want to go sample German wines, then they can go forward and do that. It makes it a wonderful way for us to customise this kind of opportunity for those people that are sailing with us.”
The river cruises are part of the expanded guided travel offerings from Adventures by Disney, which is entering its 10th year of business. It now offers 40 itineraries, mostly land-based adventures, across six continents. The group under the same Walt Disney Parks & Recreation umbrella as Disney Cruise Line and Disney Vacation Club.
Karl Holz, president over Disney Cruise Line and New Vacation Operations, was on hand after displaying a video that showed the planned offerings on this summer’s Danube cruises.
“I have to tell you every time I see those videos, I get goosebumps, a really bad case of goosebumps,” Holz said. ”
Because when I think about the Danube, when I think of the Rhine, I grew up there … And I truly am excited about going there with my own family so I can answer the question, ‘Where the heck did he come from?’”
Some of the options for travellers for this year’s Danube cruises include celebrating Oktoberfest a little early on a tour of Alderbasbach Brewery in Vilshofen, Germany, exploring Devin Castle with a side of archery in Bratislava, Slovakia, and touring the Melk Benedictine Abbey with marmalade, juice and wine tasting in Melk & Krems, Austria. Other highlights include the option to visit a salt mine, see a horse show, enjoy a marionette performance and make your own goulash and strudel. Each stop features two or three guided tours as well as the option to explore on bike.
For the Rhine cruises in 2017, planned stops will include Basel, Switzerland, that will feature a fondue experience; Strasbourg, France, that will feature canoe or horseback explorations and a toboggan ride, waterfall hike and zip line through the Black Forest; Speyer, Germany, that will pay a visit to the Porsche and Mercedes-Benz Museums and the Heidelberg Castle; Rudesheim, Germany, that will explore wine country and visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum; Cologne, Germany, that will visit an indoor ski hall and visit a chocolate museum; and Amsterdam that will allow for an urban explore, clog painting, cheese making and visit to the Rijksmuseum.
“Those experiences on the Danube, the countries that you will encounter, what you will find on the Rhine is simply, simply spectacular,” Holz said.