River Cruise vs. Ocean Cruise, How Do You Choose?

River Views®, a River Cruise Blog

river cruising vs ocean cruising
If you are a seasoned ocean cruiser and enjoy sailing the open seas, perhaps you are now ready for something a bit different. Perhaps something more intimate with less crowds and more intrigue. Well, river cruising offers you exactly that and then some. A river cruise offers the opportunity to experience the historic and cultural significance of old destinations from an entirely new perspective…the indescribable perspective of the river. What might you expect from making the switch to river cruising vs ocean cruising?

A leisurely pace

River cruises are ideal for travelers who prefer the leisurely pace of traveling by water minus the often chaotic pace of hotel changes, railway changes, and bus travel. Riverboats typically dock in the heart of the port of call city and with less than 400 passengers in tow, there are no endless lines waiting to get off the boat. Riverboats themselves are not necessarily the focus of a river cruise. In fact, the cruise is geared toward showcasing the historical sites and natural marvels along some of the country’s grandest rivers. You see, the focal point is not always onboard the ship, but rather what happens off the ship.

Intimate accommodations

When it comes to river cruising, size does matter. But not to worry, bigger doesn’t always mean better. In order to sail the inland waterways, riverboats must be smaller in size than ocean cruise ships. Riverboats are more aligned to a small ship luxury cruise than to a mainstream cruise, as they are designed with the convenience and comforts of a fine hotel. Additionally, the ambiance is intimate and promotes more social interaction. Fewer passengers and fewer distractions ultimately equates to more opportunity for discussion and camaraderie. River cruises also afford you the opportunity to get acquainted with the crew and learn of their passion for the regions. This is a difficult feat for large ocean ships boasting upwards of 3,000 passengers.

Ever-changing landscapes and smooth sailing

The views will be all-together different on a river cruise. Instead of expansive, everlasting sea views you will enjoy the sights of beautifully evolving landscapes. Rivers also offer calm waters for smooth sailing which means no motion sickness.

Relaxing dining experiences

Dining on a river cruise is quite often exceptional, as you will enjoy genuine, friendly service and fresh, local cuisine thoughtfully prepared by the vessel’s chef(s). Dining rooms on ocean-going cruises are often overwhelmingly packed with passengers waiting in line to be seating or for lunch at the buffet. With a smaller vessel and fewer guests onboard, river cruises offer a more relaxing dining experience, as lines for dining are often non-existent.

Unique and engaging entertainment

While you aren’t likely to encounter over-the-top production song-and-dance revues or late night discotheques that you may be accustomed to on larger ships, you will often discover a blend of unique entertainment to engage your mind. Often featured are performances by local musicians, engaging lectures on the culture and history of the region(s), and special events such as wine tasting and cooking demonstrations.

All-inclusive experience

Overall, river cruises are one of the most all-inclusive cruise experiences that one can enjoy. Generally, river cruises include all onboard meals including wine and beer with dinner; complimentary soft drinks, water, coffee and tea throughout your voyage; guided shore excursions in each port and even bicycles for the freedom of exploring on your own. The focus and feeling on a riverboat cruise is different and unique, leaving guests with new travel experiences, and often, new friendships that one is sure to never forget.