What is the difference between a river cruise and an ocean cruise?

An ocean cruise is typically on a much larger ship usually with 3,000 to 4,000 passengers, there are some ships that will accommodate up to 6,000 passengers. River cruise ships are much smaller limited to 150 to 225 passengers. Ocean cruises will be loaded with activities ranging from big production shows to rock climbing walls. River cruise ships do not have casinos, do not have big shows and have limited activities. River cruises focus more on the destinations not the onboard experience. They typically host performances onboard by local artists, possibly a string quartet or a local dance or singing group.

��� Where do the cruises sail?

Ocean cruises sail around the coastlines of the countries generally stopping in multiple countries. This makes it difficult to experience sites very far inside the countries. River cruises sail just about anywhere there is a large river. Europe is the most popular river cruise destination with ships on most of the major rivers including the Rhine, Main, Danube, Rhone, Seine, Moselle, Douro, Soane and more. You can cruise the Volga River in Russia and the Yangtze in China. You can sail the Mekong in Cambodia and Viet Nam or the Zambesi in Africa. In the U.S. you can sail the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee or out west there are the Columbia and Snake rivers. These are the major river cruises but there are smaller river cruises on other rivers.

��� What is the food like?

The meals on both cruises are exquisite. Ocean cruises offer many different places to eat and choices including the main dining room, buffet and other restaurants. River cruises generally have a buffet for breakfast and lunch as well as a wonderful dining room experience in the evening. Their meals will include some local favorites to help you experience the food and culture from that country.

��� Which type of cruise should I take?

On River cruises people love the smaller ships and the endless scenery since you are always close to the shore. They love docking within walking distance to the sites. They love the smaller crowds and the more intimate experiences onboard. People also love cruising through the heart of the countries they want to see and stopping at quaint villages, historic sites or major cities. Ocean cruisers love the endless choices of activities and entertainment. They love the size of the ships with many different areas to explore.

��� Why do river cruises cost more than ocean cruises?

When you only have 150 or so passengers as opposed to thousands it costs a little more. Most river cruises include a shore excursion in every port, usually in the morning and then in the afternoon you can explore on your own or take an optional tour. There are a few other inclusions on a river cruise but a river cruise is just a more intimate adventure and a way to see places you might never get a chance to see. Plus, these days many river cruises include complimentary wine and beer with lunch and dinner, WiFi, bicycles to use ashore, and many other amenities.

��� When should I book my cruise?

Book as far in advance as you can since many of the popular dates and itineraries sell out quickly.

��� Are there ever sales on river cruises?

Yes, lately they have been offering early booking discounts, added amenities or possibly discounts on the airfare. Sales/discounts all depend on how popular your river cruise is. It does not cost more to book your river cruise through The Cruise & Vacation Authority.

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