River cruises are considerably smaller than ocean cruises, and usually range between 50 and 400 people. This means plenty of space, and opportunities to get to know the other passengers and crew on a much more personal level. This also opens up smaller group options on shore that would not be available to the huge crowds of ocean cruises.
You are open to explore many more locations than an ocean cruise allows. For the most part, river cruises spend all day on land, and travel to each destination at night, with an occasional half day aboard the boat if necessary.
3. Inland Stops
An ocean cruise is limited to certain stops on the coasts because of the size of cruise liners. River cruises do not have that problem, and can sometimes even pull into the heart of the city and dock, making everything a short walk or bike away.
For the most part, river cruise passengers are adults. The rich history, culture, and unique food and drink appeal more to those 30+, versus an ocean cruise which has activities for all ages. You will almost never have to deal with twenty-something partiers, which makes for a very peaceful and relaxing vacation. That isn’t to say that the environment is unfit for families, many children would very much enjoy the experience. The audience is just generally more mature, and perfect for adults who want to get away and spend time with other adults.
5. Many places, one bed
There is no need to ever unpack or deal with hotels when river cruising. Everything is so close when you cruise on the river, that you could easily go back to the boat for a mid-day nap, and then go back out into the city and enjoy the night life. As we said before, there are also rarely days “at sea” where you are just on the boat. The amenities of the cruise are plenty, but the experience allows you to immerse yourself more deeply in a variety of cultures on and off the boat.
6. The views
For some people, looking off the deck of the boat and seeing the wide ocean expanse is breathtaking, which it is. However, there is just something incredible about walking out of your stateroom and watching the sun rise over a new landscape every day, from castles to landmarks to wildlife, the scene is always changing, and always incredible.
7. Culturally rich
There is so much more to experience with the time you gain from river cruising. A river cruise, versus an ocean cruise, is a truly immersive cultural experience. Many times the dinners served will be fresh local ingredients picked up in the port, and the drinks, especially beers and wine, will be local as well. Performers will come on board, as well as speakers, who will give you deeper insight into the region you are visiting. There is so much to learn, and no more enjoyable way to do it than aboard a river cruise.
8. New friends
The crowds are much smaller, and because of that there is plenty of opportunity to build memorable friendships with other passengers, and get to know the staff working on board. You are sure to walk away with new perspectives and incredible new friends.
The freedom offered with river cruising is similar to what you would experience when vacationing on your own. Typically, there is a short tour in the morning which allows you to get accustomed to your location, and afterwards the adventure is in your hands, You can choose to go on guided tours and excursions, or explore on your own, whatever is preferred. Usually, there isn’t a scheduled return time where everyone must leave at once, and people can return at their leisure. There are sometimes even options to stay later in the night to catch a theater production or opera, all depending on the cruise of choice.
10. Seasickness free
One of the biggest things that can stop people interested in cruising from pursuing this incredible experience is motion sickness associated with being on boats. Even if you get sick on large cruise ships, it is unlikely to happen on smaller river cruises, because the water is much calmer and does not create the rocky waves that cause seasickness.