It’s news that marries two of the fastest-growing styles of travel: river cruising and family heritage travel.
AmaWaterways has partnered with Ancestry, the company that specializes in genomics and connecting people to their family history.
The river cruise line has done family-heritage themed cruises before, but now, you’ll be able to uncover specific details about your own family. That’s because guests are given pre-cruise private ancestry consultation and family history research, while onboard, presentations and curated excursions hosted by an expert genealogist connect your present with your past.
AmaWaterways says the pandemic highlighted how we cherish our family connections and travel – and trips like these offer us the privilege to travel to find our roots. They were inspired to help guests bring “treasured family stories to life.”
Obviously, not everyone will find their roots on a European river cruise. The series begins on the Rhine river, from Amsterdam through the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France and Switzerland, so people with ancestors who came from one – or more! – of those countries, and who have wanted to walk in the footsteps of family members who came before them, will find it an appealing opportunity to have an expert-hosted trip to the land your family once called 'home'.
Imagine a deep dive into your family story, with the help of experts – and while you are sailing the historic Rhine river, the magic of travel is enhanced by the knowledge that your forebears likely passed along the river too. The rivers were the first transportation and communication routes, before road travel developed, so sailing on the river makes an ancestry trip feel even more authentic.
The marriage of ancestry and river cruise begins before you actually sail. You’re matched with an expert from Ancestry’s professional research division, and on a call at home, you can discuss what you already know about your family history and what you’re hoping to discover.
The experts take that information away and start researching your family background – and filter away what is true and what’s just family legend! As well as identify places of interest you may visit or pass by while sailing along the Rhine.
On board, an expert genealogist offers presentations to provide insight into what life was like for guests’ ancestors and highlight the types of records that are available for them to learn more. As guests sail along the Rhine, enjoying every delight of a river cruise, since you’re passing through different regions where your ancestors lived, it triggers your historic imagination and heightens the river cruise experience even more.
The genealogist will also explain the history behind those areas, providing a deeper understanding of the past and a glimpse of guests’ ancestors’ everyday lives.
Guests also enjoy a private onboard consultation with the expert genealogist to review their own family tree, coming full circle from their initial consultation at home before their trip and connecting the dots with what was discovered during your journey. Guests will also have the opportunity to enjoy an Ancestry-specific group excursion with their expert genealogist. In certain cases, travelers can delve even deeper with an optional add-on of an Ancestral Home Visit accompanied by an expert genealogist.
Heritage travel on the rivers of Europe promises to be a whole new way to enjoy European river cruising, with another dimension of meaning to the historic towns and countryside, even the waterways themselves.
Your trusted travel advisor can help you plan a trip with the deep meaning of returning to your roots – and the great pleasure of returning to travel.
Images courtesy AmaWaterways