So, you’ve done the ocean cruises, visited all the islands of the Caribbean, explored the wonders of Alaska and marvelled at the ancient sites in the Mediterranean. And now it’s time for something different.

The Rhine

The Rhine

You have heard that river cruising is much different than ocean cruising: the ships are smaller – 170 to 240 feet in length and passenger compliment is 100 to 220 people – as opposed to the 1100 feet or so in length and 800 to 1600 guests which you are used to. You wonder if you can get used to one dining room, one bar, and one entertainment venue as compared to multiple dining options, bars and entertainment choices.

So the question remains – would you enjoy a river cruise? Most ocean cruisers who have tried river cruising , when asked, will answer with a resounding “yes”! There are no lines, a slower pace, and a more intimate and immersive atmosphere. These are all comments we hear time and again.

Whereas an ocean cruise is quite often about the ship and its many amenities such as pools, theatre events, dining options, the casino, shopping and less about the destinations, a river cruise is about immersing you in the culture and history of the various ports and cities it visits. Often you will dock in the heart of a city allowing you to walk directly into its historic centre. Excursions ,which are normally included in your fare , focus on history, art and flavor of the city or town that you are visiting. Dining is of five star quality with focus on native ingredients and on most river cruises your wine and beer is included with the meals on board. Yes, the entertainment is limited but most cruise lines try to engage local entertainers to maintain the immersive feeling. The trade off for limited entertainment is the continually changing scenery that you see from the expansive windows of your stateroom, public rooms or top deck.

Ken in Strasbourg

Author in Strasbourg


To be succinct, there really is no comparing river to ocean cruising – they are two very different choices of vacation. For this writer, I can tell you as a seasoned ocean cruiser, my first river cruise was a culture shock. It took me a day or so to settle into the slower pace and lack of “bells and whistles”. But I have to tell you that it’s the river cruises that have stayed in my memory – the intriguing history of places visited, the pleasant evenings chatting with tablemates over fine wine, the majestic vistas seen from the sun deck, and of course, the fabulous food.

Vacations are about memories, and river cruises will deliver those memories no matter if you are a first time cruiser or a seasoned ocean cruiser. You will not be disappointed.

Your river cruise professional can find the perfect river cruise for you.

Article written  by K. Lawrence of Compass Media. Photos are the authors own and courtesy of