Ocean Cruising vs. River Cruising
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 usually with 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 do have small performances by local artists, possibly a string quartet when in Austria or a local dance 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, Saone, 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.