Both ocean and river cruising are great ways to experience the world’s best destinations and while one offers the opportunity to travel across multiple continents the other opens a gateway to landlocked capitals that can only be seen by river.
Being the most hotly discussed topic in the cruising community, there is no right or wrong answer, as to which is better. It’s more down to personal preference and trying out both to discover which suits you more. So, whether you have already taken both types of cruise or want to know more about the ‘other side’, here are the benefits of both an ocean and river cruising.
As mentioned before, ocean cruises have been taking travellers across the world since the birth of commercial sailings and, while this might sound a bit obvious, seeing more of the world is what travellers want to do. Whether you are planning to take a seven-night or 114-night cruise, there is still plenty of choice for where you can sail. So, if you are looking for that more obscure destination, ocean cruising is probably your best bet.
Sea-going vessels have been operating for over 100 years and there are plenty of fans who are loyal to certain lines. On the other hand, river cruising is still a considerably new market and has only been operating for the last 20+ years. This means that the larger vessels have had more time to develop, try new ideas and respond to what their market is saying over a longer period.
Yes and no. Yes, because there are more things to do during your ship days and, while you might argue that there are no/fewer ship days during a river cruise, you will still have time in the evenings to relax. Sea-going vessels will usually come with a wide range of dining venues, while river vessels are unlikely to have more than two. This is the same with entertainment, as most ocean ships will offer multiple exhilarating shows on a grand scale, while river cruising may settle for something more authentic.
This does also have its downsides too. The reason for a large variety of dining options and entertainment is linked to the number of cruisers on board. You only typically get around 100-200 passengers on a river cruise ship, while larger liners are likely to hold anything from 2,000 to 7,000 passengers.
There are plenty of countries around the world which are landlocked, making them inaccessible to large vessels. Even when bigger ships can reach certain ports, there are long transfer times that cut into your overall experience of the destination.
When river cruising, you will be docked in the city centre where you can hop straight off the ship and into the city without wasting any time. Another benefit to river cruising is the scenic side of it; unlike with its counterpart, guests can see their destination float by during the evenings.
Cities are already pretty busy places and dropping off an extra 3,000 tourists can make it seem somewhat over-crowded. Fortunately, this is not the case with river cruising as guests will be split into medium to small sized-groups where they can get an authentic sense of each port, without the touristy feel.
When first looking at a river cruise, you might be wondering why they are often more expensive than ocean voyages. This is mainly because river cruising includes more in the price such as Wi-Fi, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages with meals, standard tours and dining at speciality restaurants. After taking all of these added extras into account, the gap between prices is closer than expected, and you won’t have to worry about paying any added extras at the end of your cruise.
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