People who are used to spending their vacation on ocean cruises are trying out the benefits of river cruises for the first time lately, and there’s a good reason for that. River cruising is quickly becoming one of the most popular areas of the travel industry, with several new ships offering this service every year. Even though river cruises have been around for much longer than you might think, they’ve struggled to gain the same attention as ocean cruises have up until now.

So, what’s the major difference between a river cruise and an ocean cruise? While you might assume that ocean cruises naturally give you more spaces to explore, that’s not always the case, there are actually a lot of things to do and see on river cruises that you should be aware of before you book your next vacation. Here, we’re going to look at the details that you should keep in mind about the humble river cruise.

River Cruises Can Be Smaller:

The first thing to know about river cruises, is that the ships are generally a lot smaller. This simply means that you get a much more intimate, and much less crowded experience when you’re on your cruise. While river boats can carry around 200 passengers or so, ocean cruises typically attempt to cater to thousands of people at once, which means that you’re going to be in a much larger crowd if you go for an ocean cruise. Additionally, on a river cruise, it can be easier to make new friends, because you’re not talking over the clatter.

Additionally, when it comes to talking about size, the rooms on a river cruise can be much smaller too, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re any less comfortable. River ships generally get rid of accommodations inside the cabin, which means that you’ll always have a great view of the water. Because river cruises want to give you the best experience possible in the smallest amount of space, you might find that you actually end up with a better room than you could expect if you were on an ocean cruise.

Food and Entertainment on River Cruises:

On a river cruise, you won’t get as much glitzy and glamorous entertainment as you might expect on an ocean cruise. There’s no guest comedian or high-octane karaoke. Instead, you should experience a far more sophisticated entertainment experience, complete with pianist or single singers brought on board for an exclusive evening show. During the day, you might be able to enjoy the odd quiz or cooking lesson with the chef for the actual boat, or simply spend your time exploring the destinations that you call into. After all, because river cruises can cover less ground, you do have a lot more to see beyond open water.

When it comes to food, you should probably expect less of the big restaurants that you might be used to on bigger cruise ships. On mega ships, you can find countless venues for food that allow you to eat with a different chef every night, but the offers are much smaller on river cruises. Instead of the variety you might expect on an ocean cruise, you should be able to find a single restaurant, complete with lunch and breakfast on a buffet basis. This should be fine for many people, as there are plenty of great foods to choose from, and sometimes, the people on the boat actually set up special serving experiences, including BBQs on the main deck. Because river cruises are closer to docking ports, this also means that they can bring more fresh food onto the ship when lunch and dinner times roll around.

Entertainment and Exploration with River Cruises:

Ultimately, the most important thing for most travelers when it comes to choosing between a river or ocean cruise will always be the entertainment and exploration opportunities available. Many ocean cruises are packed full of days that are spent entirely on the sea. However, river cruises are far more intensive around the ports. You can expect to visit a brand-new location every day, sometimes more than one in a day if you’re lucky, and you could even find yourself looking at multiple countries per week. The ships are not the main attraction for river cruises, but instead, you’re expected to spend your time sightseeing in some of the glorious locations that your boats visit during your trip. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to bring comfortable shoes along with you, and you can always take a day off if you need to get some rest.

Another hallmark you can expect with river cruises is the presence of walking tours – the kind where you’ll be following a guide around a city as he or she provides you with details on the culture and history of the location. You’ll also get plenty of free time to spend eating food in local cafes and stopping for a drink when you need to. There are plenty of great tours available with river cruises, which can make these vacation opportunities the ideal solution for individuals who want to spend more of their time exploring and less time simply sitting around on a boat – which can be the case with ocean cruises.

There Are More Included with River Cruises:

If you’ve previously complained about having your time being wasted on ocean cruises, then you might find river cruises very refreshing although they can be a little more expensive. Fares can include a lot of different extras, including soft drinks, wine and other beverages with your meals, along with dinners in stunning restaurants, and 24-hour refreshments when you need them. Some river cruises will even offer fares that are all inclusive which provide everything you need from drinks and transfers to tips and stays at local hotels when necessary. While there may be fewer onboard attractions on river cruises, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of ways that you can get more for your money from these incredible cruise opportunities.