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  • 09
  • Nov
  • 2016

Difference between River and Ocean Cruise

Difference between River and Ocean Cruise: 5 ways to compare

Difference between River and Ocean CruiseShould you take a river cruise or ocean cruise? Ocean cruises reign as one of the most popular vacations around, but river cruising is rapidly growing in popularity. River cruising has become the fastest growing segment of travel, as vacationers search for ways to gain a deeper understanding of the cultures and destinations they visit. So many travelers are singing the praises of river cruising that even devoted ocean cruisers have started to wonder what is a river cruise like. To help you decide which method of cruising is right for you, we’ve highlighted five areas that show the difference between river and ocean cruises.

Happy Traveler Comment
Thanks [Glynna] for this "gracious" walk through. What a wonderful customer service style you have. Much appreciated. Indeed I expect to enjoy this cruise. Will be hard to get off at the end of 16 glorious days. — Lynette K.


When we are talking about the difference between river and ocean cruise, the cost of a river cruise tends to be higher than an ocean cruise, but the fares are all-inclusive. That means shore excursions, Wi-Fi, in-room movies, and beverages are already paid for so you don’t have to worry about hidden costs. There are no inside cabins on river cruises and plenty of room on the observation decks, so every passenger can enjoy glorious views of the passing scenery throughout the cruise.

Ocean cruising can be incredibly affordable, especially with lower prices for inside cabins and special pricing like Last Minute Deals. Ocean cruises generally charge for various amenities, such as Wi-Fi, beverages, and shore excursions, so be certain to include these expenses when planning your vacation budget.


River cruises are designed for adults and are not particularly kid-friendly, with on-board entertainments that tend to focus on cultural activities unique to your destination. You’ll get to enjoy folk dances, lectures by local experts and guides, and craft demonstrations that bring a deeper understanding of the local areas. In contrast, the entertainments on ocean liners are flashy, elaborate events. You can expect to see world-class productions like Broadway shows and musicals, club / cabaret productions, and more. Many ocean cruises provide age-appropriate activities and entertainments for the whole family to enjoy, including flying simulators, rock-climbing walls, water slides, and other high value entertainments.


River cruises include at least one complimentary excursion in every port, and generally consist of activities that help you to experience the culture of your destination in an immediate and personal way. Excursions like small party guided walking tours, cooking lessons, and private wine tastings make river cruises perfect for those wanting to immerse themselves in different cultures.

Shore excursions are not generally included in the fare in ocean cruises, but you get the opportunity to participate in a wide array of exciting activities, including scuba diving, zip lining, and ATV tours. These high intensity outings make ocean cruises perfect for adventure enthusiasts looking for a thrill.


The majority of river cruises have just have one or two restaurants. Multicourse meals are served at set times, and delicious beverages and wines are usually included. Dining tends to be casual and cozy, with open seating at tables that sit from four or eight. One of our favorite things about river cruises is that there is so much time spent socializing with fellow cruisers that we always make some new friends.

Ocean cruises offer a variety of dining choices, with multiple dining rooms, seatings, and menus. Wine is generally extra and room service is an option, so you can escape to your balcony to enjoy a romantic dinner for two. 


River cruises are available to many exotic destinations around the world, taking you inland where you can experience the cities, towns, and countryside of countries in depth.  Favorite river cruise destinations include trips on the Danube, Rhine, and Elbe Rivers in Europe, Yangtze and Mekong Rivers in Asia, Mississippi River in North America, Nile River cruises in Egypt, and tulip cruises in Holland. This might be the biggest difference between river and ocean cruise.


Ocean cruise lines sail to exotic locales on every continent on the planet. You have your choice of fabulous locations including the Mediterranean, Baltic and Northern Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Whether you prefer tropical islands like Tahiti, Hawaii, and the Caribbean, the historic cities of Europe and the eastern seaboard of North America, or the remote wilderness vistas of Alaska, Antarctica, and Norway, you are certain to find an ocean cruise to a destination you will love.

ocean cruise vs river cruiseAs you see, once you compare a river cruise vs sea cruise you find out they each have some wonderful benefits to offer! If you are not sure which cruise best fits your travel style, call today at 1-888-804-CRUISE (2784). Our travel experts know well the difference between river and ocean cruise and they can compare cruise deals, dates, and destinations to find the perfect cruise for your next vacation. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and join our InnerCircle for exclusive offers and cruise news you can use! Also, check out our new Resource Center, where you can receive expert knowledge from us before your next cruise or cruisetour!

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