The world of leisure cruising has expanded in the past few years with new options for ocean and river cruising. Both will take you to interesting ports, but that’s about as far as their similarities go. Their differences are many, providing you with a choice of distinctly wonderful vacation experiences.
Ocean cruise ships vary in size, but can have as many as 18 decks and room for more than 6,000 passengers. You can expect multiple stateroom choices, expansive areas for sports and fitness, spas, lounges, theaters, swimming pools, a range of dining venues, and special features like on-board water parks and demonstration kitchens.
River cruise ships have three decks at most, accommodate about 200 passengers, and are built to glide beneath the many bridges they encounter. The atmosphere is more like that of an elegant private yacht than the “floating resort” style of an ocean cruise ship. Entertainment, activity and dining options are much more limited, but everything tends toward the luxurious and gourmet.
Facilities for docking ocean cruise ships vary, ranging from lovely waterfront developments to busy commercial docks. Sometimes, ships have to drop anchor in the harbor and ferry guests to shore on tenders. Occasionally, the dock is quite far from the city featured on the cruise itinerary, requiring train or bus travel to reach the sights.
River cruise ships can often dock in the heart of a city or town, enabling guests to immediately begin exploring or to take an excursion further inland. And, while most river cruise itineraries call on a port –sometimes two – every day, ocean cruise itineraries often have one or more relaxing “sea days” with no port call.
Ocean cruise ships have broad appeal, and you’re likely to have a diverse mix of companions, from honeymoon couples to multi-generational family groups, “girlfriend getaways,” affinity groups, business colleagues and more. Luxury lines are an exception, as they attract an older clientele with more disposable income.
River cruises also tend to attract more mature guests who have the time and money to travel this way. River cruise guests also tend to be more interested in the ports of call than the amenities of the ship. Plus, river cruise lines don’t offer special activities for children or teens, making ocean cruises the top choice for families with children.
To decide whether ocean cruising or river cruising is the best choice for your next vacation, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.