Cruises Travel Tips

5 Reasons To Make a River Cruise Your Next Vacay

River or ocean is the question that pops up often in travel forums, with potential cruisers asking seasoned veterans which is best. The answer all depends on your personal traveling style and what you’re wanting to get out of your vacay on the water. River and ocean cruises provide surprisingly totally different experiences.

For starters, river cruise ships are considerably smaller, designed to carry about two hundred passengers at the most. Ocean-going vessels, on the other hand, usually carry thousands of passengers. The largest, for instance, has a capacity of over 6,700 passengers. However, that’s only one difference. The following are 5 other ways in which a river vacay getaway will differ from an ocean cruise.

Less Razzmatazz, a lot of Culture

Because a river ship is smaller, it has less space for large frills, therefore you won’t find large water slides, zip-lines or glitzy Broadway-style plays aboard these vessels. Instead, river cruise ships tend to offer entertainment and excursions that are more culturally enlightening therefore you’ll enjoy performances by local musicians and folk dancers or fascinating talks regarding the culture and history of the areas that you are visiting.


The size of a river cruise ship isn’t the sole reason why you won’t find huge entertainment choices aboard. On an ocean cruise ship, you’ll usually spend more time traveling from one port to the next. You may, in some cases, even spend a full day or two at sea thus it’s vital that ocean cruise ships provide lots of entertainment choices. On the other hand, river cruise itineraries are more jam packed with at least one, sometimes two, port visits each day that include excursions. Thus, it’s not nearly as vital for a river boat to supply its passengers a large number of entertainment choices.

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Locals Only

In addition to providing local cultural experiences, most river boats additionally try and showcase regional dishes and wines on their menus. One of the reasons they can do so is because these vessels can pick up fresh local produce, meats, fish and regional wines throughout their daily stops on the river.

See Deals for Viking River Cruises

If you are interested in an even more in-depth feel for one of your local ports of call, then think about asking your river cruise line if they carry bicycles aboard or if they can arrange for you to rent one from a local vendor. For instance, with advance notification, the concierges on Viking River Cruises have been known to line up bike rentals and tours for their passengers. And depending on the itinerary and also the cruise line, there are some instances where you’ll be able to even ride a bike from one port and meet the ship at its next stop.

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Talking About My Generation

You’ll usually notice fewer youngsters aboard a river boat for many reasons. For one, most river boats simply don’t have the space to offer kid-specific amenities, like children’s clubs. As for swimming pools, if there is one, it’ll definitely be smaller.

The rooms aboard a river cruise ship also are smaller, thus you may feel a tad squeezed if you add a third, albeit very little, loved one to your cabin. The bottom line is if you favor going on a vacay with fewer youngsters around, a river cruise is also better suited to your desires than an ocean getaway. On the other hand, if you’d like to take your kids on a river cruise, don’t fret. Some cruise lines are currently providing family-friendly itineraries that are designed specifically to please the little ones.

See Deals for AmaWaterways River Cruises

Dare to compare the Fare

At first glance, a river cruise may appear costlier than one on the ocean. However, comparing the two is a bit like comparing apples to oranges. That’s because most river cruises include unlimited wine and beer with your dinners and, in some cases, with your lunches. River cruises also usually include a minimum of one shore excursion at each stop.

See Deals for Avalon River Cruises

Viewing Time

On an ocean cruise, there will be days when your scenery will simply be the endless blue of the ocean and the blue sky. Some ocean cruisers totally love the sensation of being out in the middle of this vast expanse of wide, open ocean. Other travelers will prefer river cruises where there’s nearly always something new and totally different to see while sailing from one port to another. The one caveat, because passengers spend the bulk of their daytime hours on shore, most of the boats cruise at night. This means that you might not see as much scenery as you may expect.

See Deals for Viking River Cruises

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