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  #1  
Old March 4th, 2013, 05:40 PM
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lois1112 lois1112 is offline
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Default River cruise vs Ocean Cruise

I am planning a trip to Europe for 2014...I know I will spend a few days in London visiting with friends then would like to do Spain/ Portugal

for those of you have done both Ocean and River cruises....I know the advantages of the ocean cruise...what is the river cruise like? how are the rooms? similar to an ocean cruise?

has anyone done Portugal or Spain on a river cruise they are willing to recomend.

I will be sailing solo (which I do freeguently on the ocean cruises)
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  #2  
Old March 4th, 2013, 06:13 PM
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Well lets see, cruise ships have 2000 - 3000 passengers and 10 to 12 decks. Riverboats carry between 120 - 200 passengers and have 3 passenger decks and a sundeck. The riverboats can only be as wide as the river canal locks in Europe and some of these locks are 100 yrs old ( ok someone help with the age of some old locks). What this generally means is that the average passenger cabin is very tiny and even the suites are generally less than 250 sq ft.

The cost are very different as the cruise lines have 1000's of cabins to sell.while the riverboats can only offer 50 or 60 cabins a sailing. Rivercruise pricing generally includes much more some even incl airfare, most incl tours and beer and wine at lunch and dinner

Did I mention the lack of broadway shows, MUTS, and rock climbing walls.

You can't really draw a comparison between Ocean Cruising and River cruising as they are completely different experiences.

Seriously, go online to several of the more popular Riverlines: Viking, Uniworld, AMA, Avalon and just look around, you will see pictures and descriptions of everything!

Good luck and happy cruising! And Welcome to the RiverCruise Board
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Last edited by nana541; March 4th, 2013 at 06:15 PM.
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  #3  
Old March 9th, 2013, 05:57 PM
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Two very different experiences but both valuable!

Here are my thoughts given what you have told us about yourself:

1. The cabin - You will find the river cruise cabin very comfortable. I have found them more comfortable than the smallest of the ocean-going balconies as they all seem to have such sensible layouts and wonderful storage. We are fairly picky about space and now always upgrade on the larger cruise ships to at least a mini-suite. But I still find river cruise cabins comfortable.

2. The excursions - As the excursions are all (they occasionally have "optionals") included in the price of the trip you simply follow your group. Many are simply a walking tour in the town where you are docked, some require a bus to get to the town and sometimes there are choices about what you would like to do.

3. The people - I believe you will find that you will meet new friends more easily on a river cruise. The smaller number of people lends itself to this. We have met 6 couples on river cruises that we still keep in touch with while friends met on larger ships have faded away. Especially traveling solo I believe this will be an advantage.

4. You mention Spain and Portugal. We were looking for additional rivers to cruise on but did not find the itinerary in Spain/Portugal to be of interest to us, so I cannot advise on this area.

5. We traveled on Avalon for the first 3 trips and loved them but, now after experiencing Viking we have booked another with them. Honestly, I haven't heard anything but good things about all the European cruise lines. As Nana541 advises, check online and you will get lots of good info.

Enjoy!
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Avalon "Artistry" Budapest to Amsterdam 5/06
Avalon "Tapestry" Amsterdam to Basel 9/07
Oceania "Insignia 2/11/08 Valparaiso-Buenos Aires
Avalon "Scenery" Paris to Nice 6/08
Oceania "Regatta" 3/09 Miami to Barcelona
Caribbean Princess 6/2/09 RT New York
NCL Dawn 9/13/09 RT NY New England/Canada
Diamond Princess cruisetour 2/9/10 Auckland to Sydney with land tour in Australia
Celebrity Constellation 4/11/10 Miami to Germany
Royal Princess 6/7/10 Alaska Connoisseur Voyage
Coral Princess 10/26/10 Panama Canal
Diamond Prin 4/20/11-5/21/11 Singapore to Alaska
Emerald Princess 5/15/11 RT Copenhagen
NCL Pride of America 3/3/12 RT Honolulu
Viking River Cruises May 2012 China
Carnival Miracle July 2012 Caribbean
Emerald Princess - 9/2012 Copenhagen to NY
Regent SS Voyager Nov 14, 2013 Luxor -> India
NCL Jewel Feb 3, 2013 Caribbean RT New York
Regent SS Voyager May 18, 2013 Rome to London
NCL Gem 7/20/13 Caribbean

Booked:
Crown Princess-10/14/13 London RT Canary Island
NCL Breakaway March 2014 Caribbean
Oceania Marina May 6, 2014 Lima to New York
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  #4  
Old March 9th, 2013, 08:07 PM
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Both are great , This year we are doing a 27 day river cruise ..
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We've been on
Carnival: 27 voyages; 187 days
Celebrity: 3 voyages; 24 days
Holland: 9 voyages; 138 days
Norwegian: 2 voyages; 16 days
Princess: 16 voyages; 154 days
Royal Carib: 5 voyages; 35 days
Vantage: River 2 voyage 36 days
GRAND TOTAL: 64 voyages -590 days

NOT YET SAILED
Holland Maasdam 6/14 -14 days
Holland Eurodam 8/14 -18 days
Princess Coral 10/14-11 days
Holland Prinsendam 11/14 -28 days
Holland Ryndam 1/15 -14 days
Holland Maasdam 3/15 -14 days
Holland Amsterdam 5/15 - 16 days

Holland Veendam 6/15 - 14 days
Vantage River Cruise 8/15 - 21 days
Holland Prinsendam 10/15 - 28 days
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  #5  
Old March 10th, 2013, 11:22 AM
caviargal caviargal is online now
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After a 6 year hiatus from mass market ocean cruising, we took a cruise on Grand Princess last December and were reminded why we stopped cruising on large ships.

Crowds, lines, loud announcements, tenders, nickel and diming every minute, constant pressure to buy/spend, lousy food, impersonal service, in your face photographers, crowded public spaces and loud public areas - disliked it all. If we were to ocean cruise again, it would only be to return to Alaska or to cruise on a line with small ships and an upscale onboard atmosphere. We are going on Oceania in October because it is an itinerary my husband has wanted to take for some time and which would be too difficult to DIY as is our preference. Oceania does not nickel and dime passengers to death and has far fewer passengers than the mass market lines. I am hoping for a good overall experience.

We started river cruising in 2008 and have taken 6 since then, some of which we enjoyed much more than others.

We are on the younger age range of river cruisers and prefer some nightlife, the option for active tours, and a lively onboard ambiance is more enjoyable for us so gravitate to those features. We also prefer overnight port stays and minimal day time sailing so we can spend as much time as possible in port.

Some consider the various lines to be more alike than different and we have only cruised with two but for us, they were night and day in terms of onboard personality, quality and attention to detail.
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Last edited by caviargal; March 10th, 2013 at 11:25 AM.
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  #6  
Old March 10th, 2013, 01:55 PM
bphman bphman is offline
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We are going on our second river cruise in July and can't wait. Much more relaxed and inclusive. Excursions are low key and give you a brief overview of the port and then there is usually time to explore. We did some optional excursions and found them to be very well done and well priced. Not only do you tend to meet more people on a river cruise but, even more important, the crew and cruise director get to know each passenger. It's nice to be greeted by name when you return. Service far exceeds what you will find on the large ship for obvious reasons as the number of passengers is limited. Included wine and beer with meals was a plus. On the Douro, the boats are even smaller with 106 pax maximum.

As far as a lack of nickel and diming on Oceania, that is true. It is more like $5 and $10. There are plenty of extras and alcohol is expensive. Add on the way overpriced excursions and you have a nice bill at the end. Don't get me wrong. We enjoyed Oceania but it was expensive.

Cabins on river cruise ships are small by square footage at 160 to 170 Sq. ft. in the newer ships but everything fits in its place. Even our bathroom was roomy despite the size of the cabin. Some of the older ships have Pullman suites at 100 Sq. ft. comparable to a train compartment.

There may be some entertainment on board but the evenings generally consist of having a drink with your new friends. We found the passengers in general to be well traveled and quite open. We had many great conversations.

Now, we were the kids on board at 60 and 55. This may give you some perspective as to the passenger mix. I would give river cruising a shot. You may be surprised.

Last edited by bphman; March 10th, 2013 at 01:57 PM.
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  #7  
Old March 10th, 2013, 02:54 PM
caviargal caviargal is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bphman View Post

As far as a lack of nickel and diming on Oceania, that is true. It is more like $5 and $10. There are plenty of extras and alcohol is expensive. Add on the way overpriced excursions and you have a nice bill at the end. Don't get me wrong. We enjoyed Oceania but it was expensive.

.
We pre purchased the drink package and have booked our excursions independently, as we always do. We are DIY versus scheduled ship's tours as we do not enjoy being part of a large group and not in control of what we wish to do and see.

They have washers and dryers on every floor which means no bills for laundry.

Bottled water and specialty coffees are included as well, which is different from the mass market lines.

Our fare includes tips and with the drink package we don't expect much of a bill at the end.

We won't use the overpriced spa, the specialty restaurants are included and our fare was a bargain.

I cannot imagine what we would have a large bill for at the end of the cruise.
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  #8  
Old March 10th, 2013, 10:16 PM
bphman bphman is offline
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We paid for tips, drinks, wine, and excursions on the Marina last year and it was a tidy sum.
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  #9  
Old March 11th, 2013, 05:42 AM
caviargal caviargal is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bphman View Post
We paid for tips, drinks, wine, and excursions on the Marina last year and it was a tidy sum.
I am certain that is true for some passengers that plan everything with Oceania. We have paid for drink package so no bill for any drinks or wine, tips are included and excursions have been arranged independently and are quite reasonable.
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  #10  
Old March 11th, 2013, 06:36 AM
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We went on a Seabourn Cruise on the brand new Quest, two years ago. People told us were too young (late 40s and very active). They were wrong. It was magnificent! Only 450 passengers, all drinks and tips were included. The room was huge with a wonderful bathroom with a tub and shower and wonderful amenities. There was a walk in closet and a balcony. There were shows at nights, great service, a great gym and pilates classes etc. We did have to pay for excursions. We were going to book another, but my DH wanted to try something new

We are going on our first River Cruise this summer on Uniworld in Portugal. I hope that we enjoy it as much as Seabourn. But I wanted to point out that all Cruise lines are not the same. We had been on RCCL and Princess and after going with Seabourn, I would never go on a mass market cruise again (even with our sons). There are so many options out there. I am sure that everyone can find something that fits their priorities and their wallet. Seabourn was not cheap but we both felt like it was a "great deal"
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