Are you new to cruising? There are 2 distinct types of cruises in today's market. Both offer unbelievable views, luxurious amenities, and the opportunity to explore interesting ports and go on shore excursions. So to ensure you pick the right holiday for you, we’ve put together a helpful guide so you can decide which floats your boat – river cruising or ocean cruising.
Each one comes with its own unique benefits, and depending on your specific needs for your next trip, you might find that one is a slightly better fit than the other. So, what are the major differences?
One big difference can be summed up in one word: Intimacy. River cruises tend to be much smaller (220 max vs. up to 6,200 on the largest ocean cruises), and as a result, you’re much more likely to be interacting with other passengers and crew members.
That smaller scale translates to all areas of the river cruise. You dine on a regular schedule at tables with other passengers (wine is included in the price of the cruise). On board the ocean cruises you have over 60 different things to do on board, while amenities tend to be more modest with river cruises i.e think game room, libraries, a gym, cultural programs, and free WIFI vs. ten kids’ playrooms, casino, glitzy Broadway shows, cinema and a water park. There are usually fewer kids on river cruises, making them popular for couples seeking a more intimate, quiet and relaxed time together.
You stop almost every day at a new port with river cruises, often for walking tours through quaint towns with little tourist traffic, and you’re always in view of land. With ocean cruises, you have more sea days, these are days on sea without seeing land, and ports of call and excursions tend to be more exotic and high-adventure.
Due to their size, ocean cruises offer plenty of options for many ages, from young kids to octogenarians, and they are often more able to accommodate a wide variety of special health needs. For this reason, they tend to make the best option for multi-generational family gatherings that include young children. For the traveller who is into high-octane adventure, ocean cruises provide a wide variety of activities on board, as well as exotic and more daring day excursions.
River cruises do tend to be more expensive per person — but that price also includes more luxury added on benefits. Ocean cruises have a lower price per person, but you are often charged extra for alcohol and other amenities if you are not on all inclusive package.
When you’re getting ready to plan your next on-the-water trip, here are a few questions to consider:
The number and ages of the passengers travelling
What time of the year do you want to travel?
Do you need the amenities of a mega ship — spas, gyms, a dozen restaurants, and many activities? Or are you looking for something calmer, more intimate and easy-paced?
Are you seeking authentic inter-cultural experiences? Or do you prefer more familiar settings?
As always, I’m here and would love to discuss your next cruise. We can look at all the moving parts of your upcoming trip — what you need, what you want, what your dream is — and together we can come up with a cruise you and your loved ones will remember fondly for the rest of your life.
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