If you’ve cruised before, it was likely on an ocean cruise. While Caribbean cruises, Alaskan cruises and Mediterranean cruises remain some of the most common types of cruises, river cruises are becoming popular with travelers.
If you’re wondering what makes river cruises different from other types of cruises, we’ll aim to answer your questions here.
River Cruises vs. Ocean Cruises: What Stands Out
From European river cruises to those ferrying passengers across Asia and North and South America, river cruises are quickly becoming popular with travelers. More cruisers are choosing them as ways to see parts of the world where larger cruise liners can’t go.
River cruises offer many of the amenities of ocean cruises and add the ability to visit smaller ports of call into which large ships can’t dock. All of the following are potential features of a river cruise:
- Specialty dining
- Exotic ports of call in harder to reach or remote destinations
While they won’t feature the endless activities and options that ocean cruises do, they do offer the conveniences of cruising, such as only have to pack and unpack once, and visiting multiple cities with itineraries and transportation pre-arranged and planned for you.
How River Cruises are Different
There are some critical differences you should know about before you set sail on a river cruise.
- River cruise ships are smaller, typically carrying 200 or fewer passengers.
- River cruise cabins are smaller.
- Buffets, rather than restaurants are the norm on river cruises.
- River cruise entertainment is present, but not as flashy or grand. Instead of a chorus line or entire bands, you may enjoy a piano soloist, comedian or karaoke.
- There are few sea days, making itineraries more port or land-focused.
While you can’t hide in a crowd on a river cruise, you can have a more intimate experience, including the possibility of making lifelong friends on a specialty cruise with people who share similar interests.
How Excursions Differ on a River Cruise
River cruises tend to feature excursions that are more culturally-focused or specifically tailored to the ports of call being visited. Walking tours with experienced guides are a hallmark of a river cruise. Instead of buses, bazaars and beaches, you’ll encounter culture, architecture and local cafes.
Another difference is that tours tend to start earlier in the day and are closer to town centers. These factors allow you to truly take in more of a port city than you would typically find on a large cruise liner.
River Cruises vs. Ocean Cruises: The Bottom Line
River cruises offer the best of both worlds when it comes to cruising. As a passenger, you’ll enjoy the convenience of cruising with the intimacy and culture-focus of a land tour. If you’re hungry to experience local cultures in destinations across Europe, Asia, North and South America, a river cruise may be right for you.
Our experienced travel advisors help people plan amazing cruise vacations every day. They can help you determine whether a river or ocean cruise is best for you. Contact us now to start planning your next getaway!