Am I Too Young or Too Old For A River Cruise?

As a travel agent that specializes in river cruising, people ask me all the time about age and fitting in. I’ve found that many people think that only the “wheel chair” set goes on river cruises. So let me set the record straight:

  • Different cruise lines attract different demographics.
  • Different itineraries attract different demographics
  • Certain times of the year will attract younger travelers who may be on a school schedule

Confused?  No reason to be – there’s just a lot of factors that go into the answer.  



Most of the cruises we’ve been on are very active.  We’ve spent 3 – 6 hours per day, every day walking. Not too many assisted living patients would manage this.  And there are hiking and biking options as well on many AmaWaterways cruises.  Add in yoga, the excercise room and wellness classes and you can make a river cruise as active as you’d like.


Themed cruises such as our Tulips & Beer and Christmas Markets & Beer cruises are attracting a much younger demographic. You might want to consider one of these for your first river cruise.  Wined themed cruises also attract a younger crowd.

No Wheelchairs allowed

Wheelchairs and scooters are not allowed on a river cruise. (some scooters are allowed on some ships).  The way the ships dock can make it dangerous for passengers using wheelchairs or scooters.  Plus elevators can’t get to every single level.  The ships dock side to side and occasionally you have to go up the the top deck and walk across to another ship then down to the dock. That’s a lot of stairs to navigate.

Some of the cruise lines are very accommodating to different activity levels.  AmaWaterways for example, offers bicycle tours for the more active guests as well as gentle walker tours for those that want to go at a slower pace.  Our observation is that the gentle walker tours attract a relatively small number of passengers but are a very nice option for those who want to take it easy.


You always have your choice of sitting something out.  Tired half way through a tour?  Simply walk or take a taxi back to the ship.  Want to go faster than the tour is going or want to see something yourself?  Feel free to take off on your own, just make sure you know the schedule of the ship.  You don’t want to have to make it on your own way all the way to the next port. 

A night on the town

Not tired after dinner?  Many times you’ll be able to get off the ship after dinner and continue the activities.  When we were on a river cruise in Paris the ship docked overnight so we spent the day enjoying Paris and had dinner off the ship.  We didn’t get back to the ship until close to midnight.  It was like having a wonderful floating hotel.

Too young or old for a river cruise?


Children?  maybe not so much

Children on a river cruise ship?  If your kids are into history and sightseeing, they may be a good candidate.  But don’t expect video game arcades, water slides or kid oriented activities on board for entertainment.  Some lines do not allow children, others allow them but don’t offer special bedding and one offers a couple of cruises just for families.  

Can we talk?

Want some help deciding if river cruising is for you?  Call me at 610-398-2444.  Don’t go it alone.  On one cruise, we met honeymooners who were way out of place on this specific cruise – they could have used some advice.  Most people can.



Susan Wolfson
My goal is to Make Your Next Vacation Your Best Vacation!®

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