Ocean Cruising vs. River Cruising: The Benefits of Each

To a casual vacationer, the difference between a river cruise and an ocean cruise may seem merely academic. In truth, the experiences of each can be vastly different. Each one has particular strengths over the other. Learn about the advantages of each so you can decide which one is right for your next vacation!

River Cruises

Main advantages to booking a river cruise:

  • Intimacy. By necessity, river cruise ships will be much smaller than ocean cruise ships. (After all, the river cruise ship has to be able to navigate the river it’s cruising on. The ocean liner has the whole ocean.) The smaller ship means a smaller passenger manifest, making it easier to meet your fellow travelers and make friends with them, as well as a crew more able to give you personalized service.
  • All-inclusiveness. A river cruise is more likely than an ocean cruise to include all of your expenses in the ticket price. So while a river cruise may seem more expensive at first glance, it may actually come out cheaper once you consider your onboard food, drinks, and entertainment, let alone shore excursions. Plus, an all-inclusive ticket offers more peace of mind, since you’ll have less to worry about once you’re on the ship.
  • Ease of disembarkment.¬† On a river cruise, the smaller ship can usually dock right in the heart of a city along the banks, which makes for a speedy boarding and disembarking process, as well as saving you travel time to reach the parts of the city you want to see.
  • The view. While most staterooms on both kinds of cruises come with a view, that view rarely changes on an ocean cruise– it’s either the port where the ship is currently docked, or the open sea, with no landmarks in sight. On a river cruise, the view is constantly changing, as you can observe the landmarks and features along the river as the ship sails.

Ocean Cruises

Main advantages to booking an ocean cruise:

  • More routes. Ocean cruising as a pastime is much better established than river cruising, with a longer history, so there are more cruise lines that offer ocean cruises, through a wider range of areas and to a wider range of destinations. As you may have read in one of our previous posts, most river cruising is limited to Europe (although this is changing), while ocean cruise offerings span the entire globe.
  • Lower prices. As you might imagine, the increased number of offerings not only provide you with more options, but often result in cheaper prices, as the companies compete with one another for your business. Since ocean cruise liners are larger than river cruise ships, they also will have more difficulty selling out. This means you’re more likely to get an extra-special deal if you hold out until it’s close to time for the cruise to finalize its passenger manifest.
  • Wider range of onboard activities. The flipside of the intimacy one can find on a river cruise is that the larger ocean cruise liners have much more space for onboard activities. You’ll be able to find activities and entertainment ranging from rock-climbing walls to mini-golf courses to live entertainment of all kinds. River cruise ships simply don’t have the space onboard to present some of the more elaborate entertainment options.
  • Better insurance against bad weather. If the weather is bad on the river– or worse, if the river floods and renders the ship incapable of traveling on it– you, and the crew, have little recourse. On the ocean, if a storm is approaching the ship’s intended route, the captain can simply steer around it.

As you can see, both ocean and river cruises have strong reasons to recommend them for vacations. If you’d like to book a cruise, or need more help determining which type of cruise is right for you, visit AffordableTours.com or call us at 1-800-627-3753 (ocean cruises) or 1-800-342-0019 (river cruises).