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  • Writer's pictureTrey Tracy

6 Benefits of Choosing a European River Cruise Over an Ocean Cruise

Updated: Aug 2, 2023

The world is a beautiful place, and there are many things to see. If you want to get away from it all, but still want the convenience of having all your needs met without too much hassle, then a European river cruises may be perfect for you. In this blog post I will discuss six reasons why people who like adventure may find a river cruise more appealing than an ocean cruise.

I heard this quote once and it really does describe cruises perfectly: "Ocean cruises take you to the destination while river cruises take you through them."

6 Benefits of Choosing a European River Cruise Over an Ocean Cruise
  1. Smaller, Intimate Experience When you are on a large ocean cruise ship, you are among several thousand guests and crew members. There are usually long lines to get through the buffet, into the theatre, or off the ship for an excursion. Not to mention overcrowded swimming pools. However, on a river cruise you us are usually sailing with 125 to 150 passengers and less than 100 crew members. Therefore, you get more of a one-on-one attention from the crew, more opportunities to get to know your fellow passengers, and an overall more intimate experience on the ship that you cannot easily get on a large floating city.

  2. Cultural Immersion/More Opportunities to Explore Docking in the heart of the city you are visiting places you in the heart of the cultural experience. Most river cruise ports of call will be for a full day, or even overnight, rather than a partial day like you will find on an ocean cruise itinerary. You can come and go on the ship more easily since you are docked at the city. You will have local guides who can help you immerse yourself in the culture and history of the location you are exploring.

  3. Changing Views On an ocean cruise the scenery doesn’t change much. Usually you are looking at the same bluish green ocean water for days at a time. Whereas on a river cruise the views are constantly changing as you wind up or down the river. Not to mention you are cruising close to the shore which gives you great opportunity to see the vast scenery as you are sailing along. Keep your eyes open for wildlife, residents of the towns you pass, beautiful landscapes such as vineyards, and much more. For most river cruises, it doesn’t matter which side of the ship you are on. You are going to have great views no matter what.

  4. Slower/Relaxed Pace Because you aren’t traveling as far to your next port of call like you would on an ocean cruise, the ships are going to sail slower. Additionally, with lower passenger counts this allows for guests to take their time at dining, entertainment, etc. Your excursion groups will also be smaller allowing more time to take in the sights and engage with your guides as well as the locals. Don’t forget for most stops you are in port for a full day (or longer) which gives you more time to explore. The beauty of a river cruise is that you can be more at your own pace allowing you to fully enjoy the experience.

  5. All-Inclusive Pricing River cruises are typically more expensive than ocean cruises for a good reason. After all, you are getting a lot more value compared to an ocean cruise which is in the business of selling volume to fill up those extremely large and costly ships. For most river cruises, everything is included in your cruise fare. This includes the cruise itself plus ground transportation, food, drinks, entertainment, excursions, gratuities, taxes, and other fees. Some packages even include your pre and/or post-cruise lodging. Typically, on an ocean cruise ground transportation, pre/post-cruise lodging, drinks, all excursions, gratuities and more are going to be an extra fee above your cruise fare.

  6. Floating, Luxury Boutique Hotels Most river cruise ships are luxurious. Upper-level rooms will have a small balcony, or your room becomes the balcony when you open your exterior sliding doors allowing you to enjoy the beautiful sights from the comfort of your room as you sail by. The appointments on the ship are going to be higher quality as if you were staying in a five-star hotel.

While there are certainly more reasons to consider a river cruise than what I've listed, these are the main ones to consider. However, if a river cruise is on your bucket list, be sure to contact me so we can discuss your plans. I work with the major river cruise lines such as Avalon Waterways, AmaWaterways, Viking, and more. I will handle all the details from booking your cruise, pre/post-cruise lodging and tours, air fare, etc. I make it easy for you to get to your European river cruise so you can sit back and relax. So, what are you waiting for?


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