What’s the difference? There are many myths about river cruising, that just are simply not true – I think the biggest myth is that it’s all OLD people! There are just as many myths about ocean cruising as well – that are simply, just as not true – for instance – oh! Carnival is just for partying! Or, to many kids!
Both vacation types have their advantages and disadvantages – but it all depends on what your looking for and the type of adventure you are seeking.
So, let’s look at the differences and then maybe you can decide which is right for you? Maybe they both are – depending on what your in the mood for?
River ships are smaller than Ocean Liners – without a doubt – average river cruise is between 100 and 200 guests. For an Ocean cruise – there is no longer an average ship size – they are getting bigger and bigger every year. Ocean cruise ships can be anywhere from 2000 to almost 7000 passengers. Yup, I said 7000 – Symphony of the Seas – worlds largest cruise ship (currently) can hold up to 6,680 passengers. Now I’ve been on cruise ships that were filled to capacity and honestly, the ship didn’t feel over crowded. They have done amazing things to make sure you don’t feel that way.
Cabins – way different from an ocean to a river cruise. Besides there a much fewer cabins on a river cruise, they tend to be smaller in size. A river cruise cabin tends to be between 100 and 200 square feet, but most have floor to ceiling glass balconies or verandas and do feel spacious. On an ocean cruise – you can go from this same size cabin (inside, lower deck) to a spacious suite. Not that they do not have them on River Cruises, they do. It’s just the average size.
Dining options – way way less on a river cruise, usually buffets with maybe (1) restaurant – where on a mega ship you can get up to 25 choices on what to eat.
Entertainment – more subdued and low key on a river cruise – you probably won’t find any splash broadway play or a full chorus of singers and dancers. Many times, the entertainment is linked to the cruise itself and the destinations. If your doing a wine cruise, the entertainment can be a wine tasting or pairing.
Itineraries – on a river cruise you’ll spend longer time in the destination port and usually a different port each day. There will be guided tours offered and your closer to the actual village and towns. Ocean cruising – well, you can pull into port with 3 or 4 other ships at the sametime on the same day – most of the excursions revolve around beach, snorkel, diving, fishing or tours.
What’s included – on most river cruises close to everything is included in the fare you pay – there aren’t many extra’s – maybe an upcharge for a certain tour or on some, added costs for alcohol – on an ocean cruise – everything is extra – even your food if your looking to dine in a speciality restaurant.
Early riser your not! well, on most river cruises, tours start early in the day so if you want to participate you’ll be up a bit early or you’ll miss breakfast. On an ocean cruise – sleep in, stay up – doesn’t matter – food is available 24/7 you won’t miss a meal by sleeping in.
But, I guess the biggest difference you’ll find is the water – remember a river cruise is just that – it’s on a river, not on the ocean. You won’t be looking out from the ship to beautiful sunset on the water – not that you won’t have beautiful sunsets, they will just be different.