A Teen & Tween Perspective of Cruising the Danube River with Avalon Waterways

Sponsored by Avalon Waterways

What did our kids think of our European River cruise? Many of you eagerly followed our journey down the Danube River this past summer with Avalon Waterways. We worked in partnership with them to showcase why this can be a memorable travel experience for families, and today our kids are sharing their thoughts!

Mom and two daughters having lunch on a cruise ship
Lunch on our ship in Passau, Germany

We have several blog posts sharing the reasons why we thought European river cruising was great for families, and a breakdown of our 8 Day Danube River itinerary. We sailed from Vilshofen in Germany to Budapest in Hungary. 

In this post, we’ve asked our kids to pick up the pen – or tap on the keyboard – to share their perspective of the ship, the activities, the tours and destinations. I can tell you that we’re ready for our next river cruise. You can’t beat that relaxing pace where everything is taken care of for you!


We’ve secured an exclusive yTravel discount: Save $100 per person on select 2024 Globus and Avalon Waterway Vacations. Use the code: YTRAVEL when booking online at the Globus, Cosmos, and Avalon Waterways websites, by calling Globus and Avalon Waterways directly, or booking with a preferred Travel Advisor. Terms & Conditions.

12 year old Savannah’s Perspective of the Avalon River Cruise

child drinking mocktails on river cruise
Mocktails at happy hour on the ship

I was very privileged to go on the Avalon river cruise from Germany to Hungary. I’ve been lucky to travel to many countries and exciting destinations with my Mom and Dad, but this was my first time on a river cruise. 

Most people assume that a river cruise is meant for older people, but I’m 11 and I actually really liked it. The Avalon Cruise has a very good variety of stuff to do and here are a few of the things I loved. 

Endless sweets

Girl holding an ice cream
I enjoyed this local ice cream in Cesky Krumlov

As you may or may not know, I really like sweet foods. So I was very happy when I realized everyday from 4:15-5:00 there was afternoon tea on our cruise ship.

The afternoon tea had many different things every day including black forest cake, chocolate mousse and multi-colored macarons which were probably my favorite.

There was the all-day snack bar that Kalyra and I often raided at midnight. Don’t tell my Mom and Dad. My favorite was the donuts so I had extra of those when they were available. 

And we also had dessert every single night for dinner in the restaurant and had a few different choices. One night our funny waiter, Julian bought out all three for me to eat which I didn’t complain about!

desserts on  table
So many yummy desserts at dinner

Lunch was usually served with ice cream and the breakfast had donuts and pastries! And then every day there was happy hour on the ship where I got to have my favorite Avalon fizz mocktail. 

The Entertainment

Lady and young girl having a selfie photo
Me with singer Lindsay Hamilton

So probably one of my favorite things about this whole cruise ship was when at nighttime we had this amazing singer come and perform for us, her name was Lindsay Hamilton.

She was a beautiful singer and also a funny comedian. She sang mostly old songs but I knew some of the lyrics so I was able to sing along. However for her last song she sang “This is me” by The Greatest Showman, doing the song she came up to me and I sang with her with the microphone. It was so fun and I really enjoyed it but a bit embarrassing!

People dancing to music
Dancing with my mom on the ship

Then on one of the nights we had a dancing competition. We had to vote on which three songs we thought most people would get up and dance to. Then each song was played and we all danced. 

I think I danced to every song. It was so much fun. The other people on the cruise were so fun. And guess what…I won the competition!! I got an Avalon Waterways cap and a bottle of sparkling wine, which I gave to Mom and Dad.

You can watch all the fun I had singing and dancing in this video:

I tried lots of new food

Girl eating an apple strudel
I really liked this apple strudel in Budapest

You may already know that I’ve been a fussy eater all my life. I’m usually happy with just chicken nuggets – no sauce – a plain burger and vegemite toast. 

Because every meal was so fancy, I decided to try lots of new foods and I enjoyed it. I could have had plain grilled chicken if I wanted but instead I tried tuna teriyaki, butter fish, lobster, apple strudel and sausages in Vienna! 

So as I have now told you a little about the food we ate, I’m going to tell you about maybe one of my favorite things about this whole cruise. 

Lots of tour options

Young girl with two adults standing at a fence overlooking a city view
I enjoyed this hiking tour of Passau in Germany

One of the things that I really enjoyed about the Avalon cruise was the different options we had for exploring the places we visited. However if you just felt like relaxing the whole day you were more than welcome to stay on the ship. 

I loved the ship, but I wanted to get off and explore! 

Mom and daughter standing in front of an Abby in Austria
At Melk Abbey in Austria with my mom

Each destination had a city tour and I did a couple of them, but I really enjoyed doing the active discovery tours because I like to be active. 

Family biking beside a river
Biking around Vienna with my dad and a tour guide was fun

The ship’s adventure host was lots of fun. He name was Hristo and he took so many photos of us as we went on hikes and rode bikes around Vienna

I also did two food tours and got to try special cake from Vienna, sausages, and some really weird things in Budapest like horse meat which I said no thanks!

Group posing for a photo in front of a sign that says Prater
Our adventure guide Hristo took so many photos!
Young girl and man walking along a cobblestone street
Exploring Passau in Germany with Hristo

Four countries in one trip!

I like counting countries. I’m always asking my mom “how many countries have I visited now?” How many states in the USA have I been to?”

Dad and daughter exploring a medieval city
In Cesky Krumlov with my Dad

The river cruise helped me add four new countries to my list! And I didn’t even have to take one flight between them. I didn’t even have to show my passport. On our Danube River cruise we visited Germany, Austria, and Hungary

Mom and daughter standing on a balcony of a church in Budapest, Hungary
In Budapest, Hungary with my mom

I chose to do the Cesky Krumlov day trip with my Dad because it sounded like a cool Medieval town BUT also because it meant I could add one more country to my list – the Czech Republic

Our own cabin!

Two girls sitting in chairs on a river cruise with a view
With my sister Kalyra in our cabin

My own private cabin with my sister Kalyra was absolutely stunning. I loved it so much, especially the huge glass doors we could slide open right in front of the beds.

While we were doing our night cruising on the river you could watch the world go by from your room. The beds were so comfortable and I’m very happy that my sister and I got our own beds. The bathroom was very spacious too and I loved it. The room was absolutely spectacular. 

To wrap up,

Group of people posing for a photo
This is the captain of our ship. And his staff.

Cruising on the river, watching the gorgeous sunset, and eating yummy dinners every night is what was very enjoyable for me on this Avalon Waterways cruise. I loved this whole trip and was so sad to have to leave the ship.

Thank you Avalon cruise for an amazing time. 

16 year old Kalyra’s Perspective for Teens

Girl biking in Vienna, Austria
On our fun bike tour in Vienna, Austria

The Avalon river cruise was a relaxing and fun experience and I felt that they were focusing on making it enjoyable for us kids. If you’re a teen thinking of doing this cruise, I think you’ll have a good time.

You get to see multiple countries in Europe in one week, and you get to cruise in luxury and have friendly cruise staff bringing you lots of great food, taking you on tours, and entertaining you of an evening.

It would be even better if you can convince your parents to let you bring a friend!

Lots of delicious food

Girl picking out donuts
The back lounge had free donuts and cookies!

I loved the daily unlimited snacks and drinks, like the sugar donuts and hot chocolate. At the back of the ship there was a lounge area with a snacks station that changed daily. Some days there were cookies, muffins, and of course the donuts. I also like to go to cafes in different cities and try local food and their drinks.

Mom and daughter sitting at a cafe in Passau, Germany
With my mom at a cafe in Passau, Germany

On the ship you could also get nonalcoholic drinks during the happy hour. I always ordered the tropical fruit punch drink which was refreshing. 

There was also a coffee machine and juices on the ship. I loved going to this area every day – without having to ask my parent’s permission! But I’m 16 so I can have a little more independence now.

My Own Cabin Suite

Girl laying on bed looking at her phone
In my own cabin

I liked how the cruise gave me more space to be independent and do my own thing. Teens just sometimes need to get away from everyone – even their parents and siblings!

One of the best things about the cruise was my sister and I having a room all to ourselves. Before the cruise, we had spent two weeks in Italy staying in hotel rooms, so I was thrilled to finally have some separation from my parents!

They were only across the hall if we needed them – and they did come in each morning with a key to make sure we were awake and getting ready for the day. But it was nice to have our own space. I often retreated to my room to read my books (I love reading) or chat with my friends back home on Snapchat, when we had spare time on the ship. 

Row of colorful buildings on a rivers edge
This view of Passau in Germany is from my cabin

I loved the floor to ceiling glass doors so we always had a pretty view outside from our beds. The bathrooms were also really big and luxurious. And I loved the bath products they had – the body wash and shampoo smelled soooooo good. 

Interesting Tour Options

The cruise provided alternative tours for the day trips that were usually a hike or a bike ride, which some kids might like more than a history walking tour of the city. 

I did a bike ride tour in Vienna with Dad and Savannah, and it was fun and the guide was really nice and helpful. We went along the river seeing parks and pretty scenery, and then at the end we biked through the city. 

People riding bikes around Vienna, Austria
Our bike ride around Vienna was cool fun

For a while we locked the bikes up and walked through a fair that had many rides like roller coasters. Savannah and I would have definitely ridden them if we had the time. 

We did multiple food tours which my sister and I enjoyed. We like tasting new food from other countries, it’s more exciting than a history tour. 

Girl looking at pastries and hot chocolate
I got a pastry and a hot chocolate at this cafe in Salzburg, Austria

I also tried some strange foods like horse in Hungary which I did not like, but some I loved were Vienna cakes and chocolates.

I liked getting to choose what activities we could do every day. For example, doing the food tours instead of the history tours because I find those boring and tiring having to walk around so much also. 

I also think being able to split up into different groups was good so members of our family could do what they would enjoy the most. On some tours I went just with Mom or just Dad, and others with my sister, or as a family. And then at night over dinner we could each share what our different tours were like.

Family of four having dinner in a restaurant on a cruise ship
Dinner time on the cruise ship

My favorite attraction of the trip was when we all went to the classical music show in Vienna. I loved the performance because I love piano and violin. I had listened to some of the songs before, so it was cool to see the instruments being played in front of me. 

Classical music concert in Vienna
The classical music show in Vienna was my favorite

There were also good singers and dancers in the performance which made it more entertaining. I listen to music all day long, so I think a musical activity for this cruise was a good idea as teens can be music obsessed. 

To Wrap Up,

Mom and daughter standing on steps near a gate in Salzburg, Austria
With my Mom in Salzburg, Austria

The cruise was a relaxing way to end our busy European summer trip. I was happy we didn’t have to move every few days and instead unpack all our things for a week and have a comfortable and fun home on the Danube River.

We saw and did a LOT and always had something beautiful to see as we cruised from one destination to another. In the future, I’d love to see the European Christmas markets on one of Avalon’s River cruises or even sail down the Nile River to see the Valley of Kings.

Check out our video of our Avalon Danube River Cruise:


We’ve secured an exclusive yTravel discount: Save $100 per person on select 2024 Globus and Avalon Waterway Vacations. Use the code: YTRAVEL when booking online at the Globus, Cosmos, and Avalon Waterways websites, by calling Globus and Avalon Waterways directly, or booking with a preferred Travel Advisor. Terms & Conditions.

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