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River Cruise Vs Ocean Cruise – A Small Difference Makes A Big Difference

River Cruise vs. Ocean Cruise - A Small Difference Makes A Big Difference

You’re probably familiar with the traditional, window-lined cruise ships that dot the horizon every summer, with their expansive decks, rushing wave pools, and endless entertainment.  The swirling font painted on the side looks to be about the size of a small building as you take in the sheer size of these ships, and yes they are ships. You’ve seen these trips advertised everywhere, during winter and summer, from the Bahamas to Bermuda. However, you may be less familiar with the cruise ships lesser-known cousin, the River Cruise. Never heard of a River Cruise? Read ahead to learn the dreamy details of your next vacation.

River Cruise Vs Ocean Cruise

You may be thinking that a cruise is a cruise but that is not the case when it comes to trips on the water. There are several differences when it comes to rivers and the oceans and not just the obvious ones. First, River Cruises take place on a boat, not a ship, which means they are significantly smaller in size. A smaller boat translates to smaller crowds and fewer options to choose from. Cruise lines often offer an endless variety of entertainment, activities, and menus, whereas River Boats are scaled back.

Apart from the size, the biggest difference is likely the emphasis on ports. Cruise lines come into port much less frequently than River Boats do. In fact, the majority of your time is spent at a port. It’s all about the ports because they’re much easier to get to. You’ll visit big cities and small towns. The reason for this is because River Boats are much smaller; therefore, they can come right into small ports and on the river, the towns and cities are often much closer together.

Night and Day

River Boats do most of their traveling during the night time. In comparison to cruise ships, this is a big difference. Some days out at sea are spent as uninterrupted lounge time while you travel between ports. This can also be apart of your River Cruise too if you want to spend a lazy day on the boat; however, there are much more scheduled off-boat activities planned for river cruises. In addition, meal times stick to a schedule as well, so expect a bit more structure on the river.

Weather Is Factor For Both

Unfortunately, weather can be an issue when it comes to the river and the sea. Hurricanes and other strong storms can affect your cruise and your time on the river. However, droughts and flooding are much more likely to impede your river cruise. Minor changes in weather aren’t going be apparent on a massive cruise ship, but a strong rain or a dry spell can be something to consider on the river. Although the weather may be a factor on the river, there are significantly fewer waves to worry about. Seasickness is less likely to be an issue on calmer waters. Another perk that comes with the smaller boat is that your scenery changes almost every day. The ocean provides a spectacular view but the river has an almost ever-changing view.

A Small Difference Makes A Big Difference

There are some small differences that actually go a long way on a trip like these. If you’re trying to decide what kind of trip to take consider these facts. First, nix the tenders. The ships are often small enough to pull right into the dock, which makes the wait less torturous. Meals are more personable, you often dine with other guests and at specific times each night, whereas cruise ships often offer endless meals and endless times. In addition, everything is on a smaller scale; therefore, if you are less inclined to put yourself into a crowd or to take a fifteen-minute hike to your room, this could be for you. Possibly best of all, expenses are often cut back, like wifi, which can be pricey and slow on cruise ships is often free on river cruises. Although sailing through mountains can impede your signal, which isn’t really an issue when it comes to sailing the deep blue.

Have you taken a river cruise and an ocean cruise?  Share with us your experiences below!

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