Jeri Clausing
Jeri Clausing

After Viking quietly imposed an adults-only policy on its river cruises, a company spokesman said it was part of its strategy to remain laser-focused on its core audience of 50-plus baby boomers.

While that might seem contrary to the broader industry's recent focus to draw in a younger and more diverse group of travelers, the best long-term strategy for any company often is in understanding its strength and not trying to be everything to everyone.

After all, a traditional European river cruise full of excursions to historic sites is hardly ideal for children of any age unless there are activities geared specifically for youngsters.

The lack of interest even by millennials prompted Uniworld to create a whole new line, U, aimed at younger travelers.

For children, Adventures by Disney offers some family-focused itineraries in partnership with AmaWaterways. But many of the best family options are far away from the more traditional European lines.

Take Jungle Experiences, whose luxury fleet plies the Amazon in Peru. Because it has always attracted a lot of families, the line has traditionally offered kid-friendly activities and cabins. And like Viking, it remains focused that core audience, this year launching an Alpha Young Explorers Program.

"We have seen enormous growth in family and multigenerational travel over the last few years and we are pleased to offer the Alpha Young Explorers Program designed for both children and adults to enjoy," Karina Rodriguez, marketing manager for Jungle Experiences said in a press release about the program. "Our guests are travelers who desire not just a unique travel experience, but one that allows the entire family to be immersed in the journey, creating memories that will last a lifetime."

Guided and supervised by the company's naturalists and staff, the programs include everything from jungle treks to swimming  possibly alongside dolphins -- in the Amazon, birdwatching, photography, piranha fishing, cooking classes, dancing and visits to local communities.

As part of the program, children may also choose to participate in a series of challenges to see who is the most intrepid. On the final night, each child receives an Alpha Young Explorer diploma to commemorate the sailing.

The company's fleet also includes a variety of family-friendly accommodations. The M/V Zafiro features four interconnecting suites on the first and second deck that cater to families.

Families sailing aboard M/V La Perla can book double room cabins with the possibility of adding an extra bed, while the M/V Amatista features double and triple room configurations.

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