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Are kids allowed on river cruises?

Updated: Apr 25

If you're interested in taking your kids or teens, you've got options!

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Although most river cruises cater to an adult audience, there are some that do a great job accommodating and welcoming kids and teens! I’m not talking about kids’ clubs like the ocean cruise lines have, where you drop your kids off in the morning and they entertain themselves all day. Rather, having kids on a river cruise experience is inviting them to enjoy the experiences with you. River cruising is the perfect option for multi-gen trips, with grandparents, parents, and kids all enjoying the activities and scenery.

Here are some of the river cruise lines which allow kids onboard, at least for certain sailings. I’m mentioning the ages of children allowed, whether there are family-friendly times to sail, and whether the cruise line offers any specific kids’ activities.


Children's Age: Welcomes children 4 years and older, though they recommend cruise experiences more for those aged 8 and above.

Activities: They have partnered with Adventures by Disney to provide family-focused tours and onboard activities, including games, puzzles, and culturally enriching experiences.


Children’s Age: Kids ages 12 and up are welcome on certain ships and cruises - a limited capacity.

Activities: Amadeus offers a variety of excursions and experiences that children may want to experience with their parents.

American Cruise Lines

Children's Age: While they don’t have specific children’s programs, families are welcome, and cruises can be enjoyable for children 8 years and older.

Activities: Though not kid-specific, American Cruise Lines offers onboard enrichment programs and shore excursions that can be entertaining for curious minds.


Children’s age: Kids of all ages are welcome, with specific amenities and programs aimed at making the cruise enjoyable for both parents and their little ones.


Activities: A Kids Club with activities tailored to various age groups during the main holiday periods. Everything from crafting and painting to movie nights and onboard treasure hunts, plus family-oriented excursions that delve into the culture and adventure of each destination.


Children’s Age: There isn't a strict minimum age for children, but activities and facilities might be more suitable for kids who are comfortable with a more adult-oriented cruise experience that's rich in cultural explorations.


Activities: While not offering a specific kids' club or tailored children's activities onboard most cruises, the line's itineraries are packed with engaging shore excursions that can captivate children with the wonders of European geography and history.



Children’s Age: The minimum age to sail on an Emerald cruise is 12 years, except for a few Christmas sailings.

Activities: A wide variety of shore excursions are available for children and adults.



Children's age: No minimum sailing age for children

Activities: Not kid-specific. Kids are encouraged to do the same fun excursions that the adults are doing.



Children's Age: Specifically designed for families, Tauck Bridges cruises are best for children aged 3 and up.

Activities: Tailored family excursions, interactive workshops, and hands-on cultural experiences are designed to entertain and educate family members of all ages.


Destinations: Their U.S. cruises explore Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and the Hawaiian Islands.

Children's age: There isn't a specific minimum age for all itineraries; however, they generally recommend their cruises for children 8 years and older. This recommendation is primarily due to the nature of the activities and the physical requirements of some excursions.

Activities: UnCruise Adventures stands out for its inclusion of kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling (in Hawaii), hikes, and skiff excursions, allowing families to immerse themselves in nature. They also offer Junior Ranger programs in areas like Glacier Bay National Park, which are fantastic for kids.


Children's Age: Welcomes children aged 4 and above, with special programs for those aged 4 to 18 (Generations Collection).

Activities: Dedicated kids and teens' programs, including workshops, cooking classes, onboard games, and excursions tailored to younger guests.


I wouldn’t rule out a river cruise even if you still have kids at home! There are lots of great ones available, especially if you’re looking to go during the summer months when kids are out of school.

And if you’re someone who DOESN’T want to travel with someone else’s kids onboard, don’t worry. I’ll let you know you’re thinking of sailing during a kid-friendly cruise, so you can prepare accordingly!


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