To define the difference between ocean and river cruising is to contrast a resort holiday with a boutique hotel – the mode of travel may be similar but the journeys are barely comparable. Much greater than the two respective types of waterways, the distinction comes down to each ship’s features, activities and level of service, as well as the vibe created by your fellow travellers and crew.
Small things can make a big difference. For example, most river vessels carry fewer than 160 people and offer free shore excursions, wi-fi, and wine with lunch and dinner. Whereas, on the open seas, ship capacities range from 100 to 6000 passengers, with extra charges for tours, internet and, usually, drinks. (Regent Seven Seas is the only ocean-going cruise line to include all shore excursions and an open bar.)
The Oceania Riviera cruise ship.
Then there are the subtle variations between companies. All riverboats exteriors look much the same, but inside is another story.
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