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Ocean cruises vs. river cruises

Try something new

Ocean cruises versus river cruises

Posted on

05 Nov 2021

Ocean cruises and river cruises differ more than you may think. One thing they do have in common is their growth in popularity over the last few years. For all you ocean cruisers out there thinking of branching out and trying a luxurious river cruise and all you river cruisers thinking of dipping a toe in the world of ocean cruising, here’s a list of reasons to try something new:

Ocean cruises

Reasons to book an ocean cruise

There’s plenty to keep the kids occupied

Once upon a time, in a sea of adults-only cruise ships, it was difficult to find a vessel that welcomed children aboard. Today, however, cruise ships offer a whole host of activities for children. Kids clubs, family cabins, surf simulators, zip liners, theatres, roller skating, rock climbing walls, play areas, the possibilities are endless!

We chatted to Allison from Tips for Family Trips, they told us: “Ocean cruises tend to be more family-friendly than river cruises. Ocean cruise ships are often very large, so they have more space for kid’s clubs, swimming pools, water slides, game rooms, movie theatres and other fun activities for families.”

This is something Adam from Cruise Critic echoes, “As someone with a young family, ocean cruises are perfect because of the enormous amount of things to keep the kids occupied on board - such as ice skating rinks, spas, amazing kids clubs and Broadway-style shows.”

...and give the parents a break!

As all parents know, it’s nice to have some time away from the kids. With a range of different activities on board, you can get some much-needed me-time.

“We absolutely love cruising,” Sharon from Where’s Sharon? told us. “We have young children and it’s the one time I feel like we actually get a break. Having the kids club, a range of food and everything else we might need right outside our cabin makes it so easy to just enjoy family time together rather than feeling like we’re still constantly working to meet our children’s needs.”

Great deals are there to be had

River cruise ships are much smaller than ocean cruises and because of this, their availability sells out very quickly. In contrast, ocean cruise ships welcome thousands of people on board. As a result, they can offer a lot of unmissable deals all the time. This means you could cruise to a glamorous destination, like the Caribbean, without having to pay an arm and a leg.

Ocean cruises are easy to plan

Ocean cruises perfectly pair together transportation and accommodation and your chosen travel agent can sort the rest (think airfares and departure ports). What’s more, you don’t need to search for hotels or plan how to travel between cities. All you need to do is pick the right cruise line, cruise ship, itinerary and cabin to suit you and your needs.

You can wake up in a new country every day

Want to visit a plethora of places in a short time? Ocean cruises allow you to wake up in a new country virtually every day. Lloyd and Yaya from Hand Luggage Only explain, “Cruises are such a perfect way to explore new places. They offer a breadth of diversity and allow travellers to truly experience a whole plethora of places.

Adam added, “For the adults, it’s fun to wake up in a new country every day and enjoy the huge number of restaurants and bars to choose from on board - these will keep the adults occupied too!”

River cruises

Reasons to book a river cruise

Everything (yes, everything!) is included

Most river cruise lines offer an all-inclusive experience; all drinks, meals and shore excursions are included in the initial price, meaning you do not have to spend anything once you are on board. This means that the upfront cost of a river cruise is extremely reasonable. Especially as independent guided walking tours and fine dining would normally be very expensive in the cities you are visiting.

River cruises offer a gentle pace and beautiful scenery

Naturally, how scenic a river cruise is depends on its itinerary but the best river cruises offer you the chance to see some spectacular views. Adam told us, “River cruises are a treat because of their gentle pace, beautiful scenery and the fact you actually moor in the towns you’re visiting - often at the bottom of the main square.”

There’s a warm atmosphere on board

The intimate atmosphere of river cruise ships means it’s a great way to meet new people. You can reminisce about the city or attraction you have visited during the day. Adam says, “The intimate atmosphere on board, due to the small size of the ships, means you make friends fast and by the end of the cruise, you’re likely to know everyone - including the crew.”

You can visit lots of impressive cities

A river cruise ship can dock right in the heart of a city and as a result, you just need to stroll to the attractions you want to visit. Lloyd and Yaya say that, as a result, river cruises offer you the chance to visit some of the world’s most impressive cities. “River cruises are a great way to discover the beauty of Europe, whilst stopping off in some of the most impressive cities,” they told us. “They’re great for travellers looking for a different travel experience.”

You don’t have to wait to get ashore

Another great benefit of a river cruise is the fact that you don’t have to wait to get on and off the ship, unlike an ocean cruise where it can sometimes take a while to embark. When on a river cruise ship, you can unpack in your cabin within minutes!

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