I’m about to tell you about something that is on my personal bucket list. Chills literally ran down my spine as I read the details of this fabulous Blue Danube Family River Boat Adventure by Tauck Bridges.

From Budapest, Hungary to Vilshofen, Germany, the itinerary hits stops I’ve never been to over the course of seven nights on a beautiful boat. Someone is going to win a family cruise this week and this is one of the choices. I’ll tell you how to enter.

My daughter is finally old enough to properly enjoy a river cruise, something that I’ve done on my own but not yet with her. Here’s why I think this mode of travel is fantastic for families.

5 Reasons Why Kids Will Love a River Cruise

You Unpack Once

I underestimated how handy it would be to visit a different city each day without unpacking and repacking a suitcase. As the ship sailed overnight, I would literally wake up in another town, have breakfast, get dressed and be met by a guide. This means that kids can get settled in one room for the entire duration of the trip.

It’s Smooth Sailing

I did not notice the ship sail at night. During the times we sailed during daylight, there is quite a bit to see pass buy. This also means that motion sickness isn’t an issue for most people.

And, when I talk about smooth sailing, I also mean onboard where all of my needs were met. I never wanted for anything.

All-Inclusive Dining and Drinking

O.K. so maybe this is a reason why parents will love river cruising but on Tauck most meals are included as are gratuities, all-day soft drinks, coffee, tea and snacks. Including little things like this always makes a huge difference to me as a parent because kids get hungry at random times throughout the day, especially when traveling.

They Will Make New Friends


Families tend to book family designated cruise itineraries so the odds of other kids onboard is very high. The boats are not overwhelmingly large so you will have plenty of time to meet and socialize with travel companions. My daughter always has a better time on vacation when there are friends—new or old—involved.

I can vouch for the community aspect of river cruising as I took my river cruise alone. I met friends from Australia, London, Ohio and many other spots around the world. We drank wine, danced in snowfall and had a truly fantastic time.

Excursions Are Designed with Kids in Mind

Family river cruise excursions are designed with kids in mind

On this itinerary, families will learn how to make marzipan, take bicycle tours, tour castles and visit sights affected by the Black Plague. All narratives are no doubt relayed by guides in a manner that kids can understand. On land excursions usually have flexibility for the times kids get tired and want to return to the boat (if it is docked nearby).

I’m ready to go. Are you?

Eight-Day Blue Danube Family River Boat Adventure

Itinerary on the Tauck Blue Danube family river cruise.

Tauck was selected as one of the “10 Best River Cruises” by Fodor’s Travel and a two-time winner of “Top River Cruise Line” for families, as voted by the readers of Travel + Leisure!

There is no better way to experience the heart of Europe with your family than on an all-inclusive leisurely Tauck Bridges Danube river tour and cruise aboard ms Esprit. Unpack only once as you travel from Budapest, Hungary, to Slovakia, Austria and Germany, enjoying action-packed shore excursions specially designed for families.

How to WIN this River Cruise

NOW is the time to post your “CruiseSmile” selfie to social – here’s how:

Step 1: Beginning on October 1, 2016, simply upload a “cruise smile” photo to www.CruiseSmile.org and share the #CruiseSmile entry with friends.

Step 2: Enter for more chances to win by posting a “cruise smile” photo directly to Twitter or Instagram, use #CruiseSmile and #Sweepstakes.

Step 3: Share your #CruiseSmile with friends to gain more entries into the sweepstakes.

Step 4: Come back to www.CruiseSmile.org each day to enter for a chance to win and discover the week’s featured cruise vacation sweepstakes prize.

Step 5: Follow the #CruiseSmile campaign on social channels for the latest information each day – On Twitter and Instagram (@CruiseSmile), On Facebook: Facebook.com/CruiseSmile

Contest entries do not roll over and entrants must upload a new photo each day to be eligible for each day’s prize. The sweepstakes is open to entrants 13 years of age or older. If a minor is selected, a guardian age 21 or over must accept the prize on their behalf. Winners will be selected at random each day in October and some blackout dates apply and are determined by cruise lines.


A view of Budapest and the Danube River.
Katie Dillon headshot

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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