What are the real differences between choosing an Ocean Cruise or a River Cruise you’ve asked. There are vast choices and vast differences. Knowing those differences will help you find the perfect cruise for you, your family and any celebration! This comparison is a case where bigger may or may not be better. Both have world-wide itineraries, so what do you want to do and where do you want to go?
First and foremost, an Ocean Cruise is usually aboard a large ship, nowadays, they carry from 3,000 to 4,000 passengers. Believe it or not, there are some ships that when filled count up to 6,000 bodies aboard.
Taking a River Cruise means a much smaller ship and filled, will be from 150 to 225 potential new best friends. A tentative staff and other passengers with similar interests and more intimate.
The next big difference will be your itinerary, will you be stopping in different countries and islands or will you be gliding down a river visiting different cities, towns and villages? For example, ocean cruises like in the Caribbean have Eastern, Western and Southern itineraries. These are identified by the stops and the islands in a designated area. For river cruising, we’ve got the U.S. with Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee and one of our favorites the Columbia and Snake Rivers in the Pacific Northwest. For International rivier cruising, bring your passport and try a river cruise in Europe, the Mediterranean, Russia, China, Cambodia, Vietnam or Africa?
What’s your idea of entertainment while you’re cruising? Do you want a big production, maybe Las Vegas Style and a Casino or do you want to meet local artists, have small performances and musicians, maybe experience local dance groups and bicycle through towns to your next port? An Ocean Cruise, because of it’s size and passengers will be loaded with activities day, night and in-between aboard the ship. From race tracks to zipping, shopping and rock climbing walls. Drink packages are available for adults and children. River Cruises focus on where you are, the country you are in, the customs, sights, food and wines.
Speaking of food, there’s plenty of it on both. The Ocean Cruise is going to offer more options because there are more passengers. A main dining room and other options to satisfy different passengers and usually the cruise line has branded special cantinas, bistros or restaurants. River Cruises generally has a buffet for breakfast and lunch, restaurant menus with local flair and a great dining room experience in the evening. You’ll have meals that include some local favorites that represent where you, wine tastings and experiencing the food and culture of that country.
Which one is right for you? Bigger or smaller? Do you want to wake up in the morning to a new island and sail with the ocean as your backdrop in the evenings, or watch endless scenery as you cruise closer to shore on a River Cruise? River Cruises have the “dock and walk” aspect and smaller crowds with a more intimate experience whereas Ocean Cruises often arrive at a ports-of-call complex, may tender in. To explore the destination with specific hours in port, you will need to hire a taxi, book excursions prior to sailing with your cruise specialist and deal with larger crowds getting off and on the ship. Opposite of this is experience the heart of a country with quaint villages and historic sites, meeting and making friends with the locals.
Both cruise options make wonderful honeymoons, you unpack once and let the adventure begin. Prebook excursions and get the most out of your time whether at a special historical stop to propose or a port with a special excusion you want. Destination Weddings can occur in most countries and islands but venue time must be taken into consideration and completing legal documentation before cruising is ideal. A note to couples and brides: symbolic island or ports-of-call weddings cannot be deciphered from a legal one by guests unless you confess! A Proposal Package will require less time and the site or venue can be on ship or in port, at a special site or on a specific excursion.
Like the sound of both, it depends on why you are cruising, your lifestyle and the differences vary by ship, size and brand. Choosing your priorities and deciding what you both place the most value on will help fine-tune your choice of ship, itinerary and preference! We have group specials and benefits on both! Ask about our Small Ship Cruising experiences and UnCruise Cruising (excursions and alcohol included)! Want adventure, want Costa Rica, Fiji, Tahiti, want zodiac boats, whales and firewalkers with culture and nature? Another comparison for another time! Take me up on a one-time complimentary consult (value $150) which may be combined with a $100 booking credit if booked within two months of this post!
Pamela (PJ Ott
Director of Romance
Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Specialist