What to Expect on a River Cruise Ship
Are you considering a river cruise, but wondering how the ships compare to the cruise ships that sail the oceans and seas of the world?
As you might expect, river cruises ships are smaller than their ocean-going cousins. They are made to travel inland waterways, docking in the historic heart of cities and towns not reachable by ocean cruise ships – and, sometimes not reachable by land. Most river cruise ships are made to accommodate somewhere between 90 and 250 guests.
If an ocean cruise ship can be compared to a floating resort, a river cruise ship can be likened to a floating country inn. You may not find dozens of cocktail lounges, dance clubs and casinos on your river cruise ship, but you’re sure to find comfortable staterooms and public spaces (both indoor and outdoor), delicious food, a relaxed atmosphere and a knowledgeable, attentive crew.
River cruise ships may lack some of the glitz and glamour found on ocean cruise ships, but that’s more than made up for by the scenery. Whether your ship sails through peaceful countryside or dramatic gorges, there’s an ever-changing panorama to enjoy. When the ship docks, you can simply walk down the gangway right into the center of town, where you may find museums, galleries, historic buildings and shops full of local products. In many ports, you can take a guided excursion to nearby attractions, or hop on a bike to explore the town.
Still, river cruise ships are evolving and adding new, sophisticated features. Until recently, balconies were a rarity on river cruises. Now, some ships have floor-to-ceiling windows or sliding glass doors that open onto French balconies. Expect to see even larger staterooms with more balconies as river cruise lines add to their fleets.
While river cruise cabins have traditionally been a bit more basic in design and decoration than those on ocean cruise ships, some are truly luxurious, with marble bathrooms, high-end linens and fresh flowers. Some newer ships offer a choice of dining spaces, such as an indoor dining room and an open deck for al fresco dining. And they are continuing to add additional amenities, such as personalized butler service.
Cruise ships sail many of the world’s best-known rivers, including the Yangtze, the Mekong, the Danube, the Rhine, the Volga, the Nile and the Amazon. To decide which river you want to explore aboard a compact, comfortable ship, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.