“All Ashore That’s Going Ashore!” Especially Kids!

I like to foment unrest. It’s part of my DNA.

I’d rather be remembered for taking a stance on a subject than disappear alongside the vast majority of Americans who choose to go with the flow.

That’s why I’m devoting today’s column to Viking Cruise Line’s decision to ban ALL children from their highly-acclaimed river cruises.

Let me begin by stating that river cruises hold no allure for me. I’m not the type to sit around with well-heeled, aging Boomers and gape at a Gothic cathedral as the ship glides majestically by. Nor am I the type to go sightseeing (unless I can first include an intense two-hour workout).

The above notwithstanding, I salute Viking’s decision to prohibit kids from their uber high-end cruises.

I’ve always said I adore my kids, but I disdain other parents’ offspring 😎

My feelings are based on multiple, first-hand experiences, two of which include the so-called Magic Kingdom.

Speaking of DisneyWorld, hell can best be defined in two ways:

  • Taking a United Airlines flight to, or from, Orlando and being systematically kicked in the lower back by the tot seated directly behind me. To add insult to injury, I always seem to attract the terrible two-year-old sitting directly in front of me who has decided the best way to spend three hours is constantly popping up, turning around and shouting, “Boo!”
  • Standing in mile-long DisneyWorld lines surrounded by screaming kids and losing a pound of water weight every 15 minutes (thanks to Orlando’s horrific combination of excessive heat and humidity).

I don’t want other peoples’ kids ruining a vacation I’ve paid serious bank to enjoy.

In Viking’s case, I believe they did the right thing. They listened to the wants and needs of their constituent audience and acted accordingly (knowing full well there would be a backlash from parents everywhere).

The litmus test of today’s organization is its ability to anticipate audience needs while doubling down on its purpose. In Viking’s case, their value proposition is providing a serene sail down the Seine. Screaming tots shred that value prop to pieces.

Having posited the above, I will return to my twin pursuits of mountain climbing and stand-up comedy (both of which are blessedly kid-free zones).

4 thoughts on ““All Ashore That’s Going Ashore!” Especially Kids!

  1. Appreciate the comments, gents. You obviously get it. Sadly, far too many parents don’t (especially the ones who allow their kids to scamper up and down the aisle of a plane in mid-air). The kids love it. Businesspeople detest it. When working parents take their kids on vacation and let them run amok on planes and trains, they forget their fellow business executives need that time to work (and not to play hide-and-seek with Baby Sydney).

    • One friend derisively refers to such kids as “little Throckmortons. ”

      Given my luck, I will meet the parent who actually named the poor kid that.

  2. I adore being around my mostly well-behaved 2nd grade daughter. But we were single for many years; I like to think we get it. We’d never take her to an afternoon matinee revival of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?” We mostly don’t take her to super-nice places for dinner and never after 7pm, And if we ever do a cruise, it’ll be family-oriented.

    Those who object to Viking’s decision – and they will make themselves known – have an over-developed sense of entitlement t. They must believe the world always deserves to be subjected to their spawn. We don’t.

  3. As someone who cruises fairly regularly and enjoys it, I think this is a smart move given their demographic – older couples, empty nesters, older single travelers, etc. If I paid for one of their river cruises I wouldn’t want the experience destroyed by out-of-control kids. The ships are smaller than the giant vessels you get on ocean cruises with the likes Royal Caribbean, so one brat can have a lot bigger impact on Viking than on a larger ship. There is also a lot less space on these smaller vessels for designated children’s’ areas.

    I’m glad family-friendly ships exist, because it is a great way to vacation with kids without having to worry about meals, moving hotels, activities, etc. But it’s also good to see other options for those not traveling with kids.

    And as I found out when I was in Alaska, it is easy to combine cruising with mountain climbing, assuming you do a little bit of planning in advance (and avoid nasty weather).