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  • Writer's pictureKatie

What Makes A River Cruise Different From An Ocean Cruise?

River cruises have been around for many years but have started to gain popularity over the last few years. At face value, a river cruise may sound similar to an ocean cruise. It does have most amenities that an ocean cruise has to offer, with the difference being the scale of these amenities. However, a river cruise isn’t an ocean cruise on a smaller scale; it is its own unique experience. Here are five things you need to know before you plan on taking a river cruise!

1. They’re much smaller than ocean cruises

River ships and cabins are smaller when compared to ocean liners, but that doesn’t mean they are less comfortable. Newer river ships are getting creative by adding balconies or panoramic windows that slide down at the touch of a button to create a balcony feel.

By cleverly designing their cabins, they can make the most of the space allotted. Smaller ships mean limited passengers; if traveling with thousands of other passengers on a ship isn’t your thing, give river cruising a go. Most river cruises are limited to only a couple hundred passengers or fewer.

2. Dining options are limited

The restaurant options onboard are limited as well and mainly consist of buffets. Recently a handful of ships started providing their passengers with room service and private dining options.

While River ships may not be abundant with their dining venues, the smaller number of passengers and daily port calls make it possible for the venues to bring in fresh meats and produce to serve during mealtimes.

3. The entertainment isn’t as extravagant

If you’ve ever been on an ocean cruise, you know how grand the entertainment can be. The entertainment on a river cruise is more low-key.

You won’t find the massive dance floors, swimming pools, and onboard cinemas. What you can expect are local dancers and musicians, food presentations, and wine tastings.

Some river cruises might even have educational seminars and quizzes. The focus of river cruise isn’t the onboard entertainment but the destinations and the journey you’ll go on to get there.

4. River cruises are port-intensive

River cruises don’t have any of the leisurely “sea” days that the ocean cruises have. When you’re on a river cruise, you’ll be visiting a new destination every day.

As mentioned earlier, it’s not the ships that are the focus of the trip but the journey and destinations. River cruises are relatively fast-paced when being compared to an ocean cruise.

Being port-intensive, a new port will present itself each day, and with these ports may come a choice of tours. River cruises can be exhausting, so make sure you’ve packed a comfortable pair of shoes for yourself. Don’t forget that you’re allowed to take a day off and relax if things get too overwhelming for you.

5. You have to wake up early

River cruises aren’t for anyone that likes sleeping in. The slower pace of ocean cruises is something you shouldn’t expect when you go on a river cruise.

Most activities and excursions begin early. Whether it’s the call for breakfast or your scheduled tours for the day, if you choose to sleep in or lounge around, you might miss them.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t relax on a river cruise. The tours may be included in the package, but there is no obligation to go on all of them!

There are so many beautiful rivers to pick from, but cruising may not be for everyone. If you’re new to cruising and don’t want to commit to a long ocean cruise, a river cruise is a great place to start.

Picking the perfect river cruise is just a matter of knowing what you want. That’s where I come in- let me help!

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