Anchor YOUR way! Comparing ocean cruises with river cruises

by Tori Ward, ROX Travel, Cruise and Resort Specialist

When clients ask me if I like cruising, my response is, “I like ocean cruising; I love river or small ship cruising.” My husband and I spent our honeymoon on a small 40-passenger vessel that explored tiny villages and communities along the inside passage of Alaska. We kayaked along glaciers, four-wheeled on an island with only one habitant and went fishing with the crew one day for fresh halibut. We saw whale every day and many brown and black bears with bear cubs, because the draft of the vessel was so shallow that we could almost pull right into shore. I’ve taken two ocean cruises to Alaska and, while lovely, they were nothing like that trip. When we share those experiences with people, the first response is almost always, “It sounds wonderful, but that type of trip is so much more expensive.”

But, is it really?

The type of personal experiences desired should always inform your choice of the type of cruise to select. If you want to spend more time in each location with fewer people on board and want more of a cultural immersion, then a river cruise is a great option. Many people reject that because they assume, from looking at the bottom line brochure price, an ocean cruise is less expensive. If price is the only factor preventing you from taking a river cruise, consider the following. I decided that I would compare an ocean cruise that included at least one highly desirable European city with a river cruise that also included a popular European city in the itinerary. From my experience, I assumed the cost would be about the same when all things were considered. I wasn’t able to find a 10-day river cruise and believed that since the 12- day cruise that I was comparing included two nights on land in luxury hotels in both Paris and Prague, my assumption would be incorrect. Both of these cruises were during the same cruise season.

Surprised? So, river cruising turns out to be very affordable because so many of the optional items you pay for with ocean cruising are included on a river cruise. On the ocean cruise, the excursions alone totaled more than half the base price for the cruise itself.

River cruises tend to focus more on the cultural experience of each area, therefore, you end up spending more time in the ports. And, since most large European cities were established along rivers, the added benefit of docking closer to the city’s center in more efficient than finding transportation from coastal areas.  Cruising past the iconic Budapest Parliament and under the Chain Bridge is an experience I’ll never forget. Spending my morning in the Hermitage Museum and my evening enjoying a performance of Swan Lake was only one of the wonderful tours included during three days we spent in St. Petersburg on a Russian River Cruise. While cruising the river between St. Petersburg and Moscow, I lost count of the many onion-domed churches, abandoned monasteries and babushka-clad waving grandmas I saw.

Another concern that I’ve heard from clients is that river cruises require more formal dress. The opposite is actually closer to the truth. I’ve been on three different river cruises and never had a formal night on any of them. Almost all ocean cruises include at least one formal night.

Currently there are some outstanding deals on both types of cruises. With summer right around the corner, give me a call if you’d like information about a trip that will be perfect for you and your budget.

Victoria “Tori” Ward is a cruise and resort specialist with an interest in traveling and seeing the world since she first began to crawl. For more information on these trips and others, contact Tori at tori@roxtravel.com or 928-254-9968.

Ocean Cruise-10 Day Med River Cruise 12 Days-City of Lights
Base Price Including Taxes and Port Fees

$2,089.92 p.p Mid-Ship Balcony Room

Base Price Including Taxes & Port Fees $4,099 p.p

French Balcony Room, tours in each port

$93.00 Transfer Fee from Airport to ship

and back even when using Ships Air Program

Transfer Fee No Charge if using Ships

Air Program

Eight tours for – Rome, Naples, Sicily,

Croatia, Montenegro, Corfu, Corsica and


Includes 8 Day Cruise and 2 Nights each in

Paris and Prague in luxury hotels

Beverage Package-$57.45 per night=$574.50 Beverage package with beer and wine included
Internet Package-460 mins =$159.00 Free WIFI
Tips-12.95 per day automatically added to

your on-board account=$129.50

Tips Optional
Formal Nights- 2 Formal Nights-0
Total Price=$4,114.62 per person less air Total Prince=$4,099 per person less air