How are River Cruises Distinct from Ocean Cruises?

While river cruises and ocean cruises share a number of characteristics, there are also several — and considerable — differences between the two. Generally, ocean liners are inclined to be quite a bit bigger and you will enjoy additional amenities in your room. cinque-terre-1859688__340.jpg Given their larger size, they are able to carry many more guests on board. Since river ships hold fewer travelers, passengers tend to get to know each other better and frequently develop lasting friendships.

Another big difference is that river cruises typically do not ever travel a full day, as opposed to ocean cruises which might be at sea for many days at a time. Every day takes travelers to a different port of call. The sensation of seeing new places is also felt while the ship is cruising since the outside view is constantly changing.

Anyone nervous about becoming seasick will like the smooth sailing and shallow waters of a river cruise as well as the fact that land is normally within sight. That said, ocean cruises usually have more extensive features including places to work out, more of a selection for dining, and wonderful live shows. But river cruises are nice in that they give you inclusive pricing that includes water, alcoholic beverages, Wi-Fi, and even some fun activities off the ship.

The Wonders of Europe From a River Cruise

Experience the finest of Europe’s historic waterways by boat. From the rivers Rhine, Danube, Volga, Douro, and Dnieper to the Loire and the Elbe, cruising along these legendary waterways is the ideal way to cruise.

Size doesn't matter.
Although these river ships are smaller in size, they are no less luxurious or technologically advanced, and offer high-end amenities, fine dining experiences, and interesting off-ship activities.

Altogether, these make for an romantic, elegant, and stress-free experience. So that people can enjoy as much time as possible at each local attraction, itineraries are carefully scheduled to allow for this.

What is compelling about these excursions is that they give guests the opportunity to experience the local culture of each port. Discover these great cities through the stories revealed by its artists, history and culinary delights.

River Cruise Ports of Call

Off-board tours at ports of call can be as spectacular as being on board the vessel. Any river cruise around Europe includes unique adventures. Discover Europe by way of its graceful waterways and unlock whole new worlds at the heart of your destination city.

History aficionados, adventure-seekers, and people just wanting to learn about new cultures will all find something to love. Take a seat in the most exciting cultural centers on the continent, learn about history at the ancient monuments, and take in the beautiful cities and countryside. sunset-3902980__340.jpg Traveling on these smaller, well-appointed riverboats, suitable for docking in town centers, close to the important sights, is a great way to celebrate Europe’s most luminous ports.

Famed Rivers of France

France boasts many diverse regions celebrated throughout the world, and a river cruise will allow you to explore them. From the legendary food of Lyon and Bordeaux’s most distinguished wineries, to the elegance of Paris and Provence, to the historic sights of Normandy, France provides a world of experiences. Take time in Aquitaine, once one of the richest areas of Europe, and see its lovely farms, forests, vineyards, and ports. Hunt for truffles near Périgord and create your own personal blend of Cognac at the Camus distillery.

Break for a dinner of fresh oysters in the seaside resort town of Arcachon. Go winetasting at distinguished wineries in Saint-Émilion, Médoc and Sauternes. Regardless of which French river you choose – the Seine, Dordogne, Gironde, or Rhône – you will be able to delight in France’s distinct food and wine culture and well as its art, history, and other traditions.

Historied Rivers of Central Europe
Cruises on the Elbe River sail through Germany and the Czech Republic on a course lined by ancient fortifications and medieval villages. If you enjoy German wines, choose a cruise on the Mosel River, whose French name is Moselle, as it travels through the part of Germany that crafts world-class Riesling. In Central Europe, a Danube River cruise will cruise through Vienna, Austria, where you can be taught to waltz as they did back in the days of the Austrian court; and through Budapest, Hungary, where you can delight in the celebrated thermal baths called banya locally.

Go on to enjoy Austro-Hungarian cooking at one of the region’s well-known restaurants, or check out lesser-known Central European cities like Bratislava and Passau.

The Waterways of the Tsars
Visit Russia as never before on waterways of the Tsars where you’ll discover the swirling onion domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral and the well-known towers of Moscow’s Red Square. Russia’s Hermitage Museum is the second biggest museum in the world, and the building itself is also breathtaking and awe-inspiring.

hot-air-balloons-1984308__340.jpg The glorious Peterhof Palace will take your breath away, while the Soviet-era kommunalka will give you fascinating insight into the everyday lives of the multiple families who lived there together commune-style.

In addition to its world-famous caviar, Russia has some other wonderful traditional cuisine you should sample: blini pancakes, solyanka, borscht, and pirog. The Dnieper River tells a multifaceted story that includes Greek, Mongol, Tatar, Ottoman, Cossack, Jewish and Russian influences. Historic churches and monasteries, Soviet-era structures, museums and displays of legendary horsemanship, and music and dance dot the river’s banks from Kiev to Odessa.

Portugal's Duoro River Valley

The Douro River in Portugal will take you to the spectacular capital city of Lisbon, where you can step back in time in the city’s old town or visit the newer areas filled with vibrant cafes, bars, restaurants, and art galleries.

Stroll through the gorgeous vineyards that produce the country’s well-known Port wine and enjoy traditional cuisine, wine and fado singing.

Not only is the Douro River Valley a designated UNESCO site, it was likewise the first wine region in the world to be demarcated.

Nordic Wonders
Start off by observing the breathtaking Nordic sights from the sea before heading to the spectacular Rhine River. Start in Bergen, a historic city where the Vikings landed, then check out the enchanting village of Flåm and the nearby fjords, historic Kristiansand, and the more lively modern cities of Stavanger and Olso.

No visit to Holland is done without a tour of the windmills in Kinderdijk and a stop in the fascinating city of Amersterdam; and Skagen, Denmark is enjoyable to visit with its northernmost sand bars.

The many sights and tastes of Germany along its riverways
In Germany, Cologne’s gorgeous cathedral and Ehrenbreitstein Fortress are places you will not want to overlook. The picturesque Middle Rhine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is really worth a visit with its imposing cathedrals, great fortresses, ancient villages, and rich history.

Pamper yourself in the decadent spas found in the Black Forest of Germany; visit the splendid Gothic cathedral in multicultural Strasbourg, France; and tour the illustrious art museum in Basel, Switzerland. What you do on land should be just as exciting as all the fun you will have on board. Experience all you can of the sights, sounds, and tastes presented to you at each local stop.

Your cruise ship is a work of art, and in much the same way, each place is its own artistic creation made from history and traditions.

Discover the Mediterranean

It is thought that coastal Europe was the birthplace of present day civilization, including democracy, science, art, and wine. The thousands of years of history of the "Old Country" are visible along its many shores. Once you have seen the remarkable scenery of the Greek Islands and Santorini, sipped refreshing drinks while lying on the beaches of Italy and Spain, or felt the significance of the historical places in Jerusalem and Greece, you will be forever changed.

Step back in time with a visit to Rome and its famous Pantheon and Colosseum as well as Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica, one of Christianity’s holiest sights. Anyone who loves unique architectural design needs to visit Barcelona to see Antoni Gaudi’s most renowned work.

For wine enthusiasts, top spots include France’s Provence region, Chianti in Italy, and Port in Portugal. In Croatia, travelers can visit the ancient walled city of Dubrovnik, selected as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.

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