River Boat Dining Room Table DressQ – Hoping you could help me with an initial question re; river boat feasibility before I explore this any further.

My 85-year-old mother would like to participate in a river boat trip -Danube/Rhine, with her three able-bodies spouses children and their spouses. Mom is healthy except for her limited mobility. She can walk, but only for very short distances. She would be willing to use a wheelchair however, if one were provided for excursions.

I want to know if this makes any sense to pursue or,perhaps, if we would be better off to just explore other travel options. Any help you could give us about this would be very much appreciated.

A – Our first obligation is to “Mom”. This may be the last trip where she can gather the entire family and it needs to be perfect. On the basis of what you have described, we would urge you to avoid a river boat vacation. The river boats will not provide a wheelchair nor will they allow their crew to assist in handling the wheelchair on the gangway. They are concerned about litigation issues. River boats are designed to appeal to mobile adults including slow walkers. But young children or adults who require walkers or wheelchairs will be uncomfortable with the lack of facilities for those who may have special needs.

Rather than try to get around all of this, you should concentrate your efforts looking for a small cruise ship with excellent facilities and a high level of guest services. They will permit your Mom to bring a folding wheelchair on-board and will generally assist at the pier etc. Since most of the Top Ten Rated Luxury lines ( are inclusive, and come with significant discounts, you will find that the total value of cruises on oceans or on rivers is often quite compatible.