River Cruises vs. Ocean Cruises

What do you usually picture when you hear the word cruise (and I don’t mean Tom Cruise)? Because they’re a bit more popular, you probably think of an ocean cruise...big enough to take its passengers around the world and back, with all kinds of entertainment ranging from ice skating rinks to massive water parks and pools all at the ready. But there is another type of cruise that is growing in popularity and luxury. River cruises can offer a completely different experience that is by no means less grand than an ocean cruise. There are pros and cons for each of them, depending on what you prefer.



Ocean Cruises Are Bigger In Every Sense

One of the most significant differences between ocean and river cruises is size in virtually everything you come across. Since ocean liners are enormous, you’ll get a bigger room and plenty of area to explore, even though there will be many more people aboard. Large cruise ships can accommodate 2,500 to 3,500 guests, while mega ships have a minimum of 3,500 guests per sailing.


These ships have multiple dining options, from buffets to specialty restaurants, a long list of daily activities, a casino, and various entertainment options, including shows in the large theaters. There is usually a handful of shops with everything from sundries to jewelry and liquor. Kids clubs are also popular on larger ships.


While an ocean cruise will dock at any number of places, they aren’t always the main attraction, and you are likely to have one or two days at sea. Stops at certain ports may be short, meaning you cannot venture out as far as you might like. They also dock in busy port cities where many other ships are usually visiting at the same time, meaning there will be a lot of people at any popular attraction.


Many luxury cruise lines tend to be smaller in size than their larger counterparts, meaning you receive better service and you may dock at lesser visited destinations. But because of their modest ship size, which can be anywhere from 750 people to 2,500 people, these ships have more limited dining and entertainment options.



River Cruises Are For People Who Want A Deep Dive Into Culture

River cruises are less about being on the boat and more about seeing the countries on your itinerary. You can almost touch each beautiful town and city as you drift by, especially if you sail on ships with floor to ceiling sliding doors. Depending on what kind of river cruise you decide on, you could have a bigger room and some activities that an ocean cruise has, like pools and spas, but they’ll still be relatively tiny. There are not many on-boat dining options because the boat isn’t really where most people spend their time, but the food is usually exquisite. Odds are, the only time you’ll be on the ship is when it’s slowly gliding to the following port of call.


Since river cruises are port-intensive, you will probably wake up early each day, and can see many different cities in the course of a week. You can go at your own speed and choose what you want to do. You can take river cruises all over the world too, such as countries like Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. However, since river cruises are smaller, they sell out quickly and as such, should be booked early.


Ultimately, deciding between an ocean and river cruise depends on what kind of experience you want. Either way, you’ll have a good time! If you would like to discuss different ship options, contact me and I would be happy to help you choose the best cruise for you.

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