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Is a River Cruise Very Different from an Ocean Cruise?

Ocean example There are both similarities and differences between ocean cruises and river cruises, so it is beneficial to understand both prior to determining which is best for you. Normally, ocean liners are more spacious and offer more stateroom comforts. Consequently, they are able to hold significantly more guests aboard. Since river ships hold fewer travelers, passengers tend to get to know each other better and often form lasting friendships.

In contrast to ocean cruises that can include numerous sea days, you will hardly ever get a full day of sailing on a river cruise. For the most part, travelers wake up each morning to find themselves in a new port. When river cruising, you can also enjoy an ever-changing mural of breathtaking scenery from your ship, so the journey itself becomes part of your discovery. For those without sea legs, river cruises have the advantage of smooth sailing, shallow waters and the gift of land that’s always in sight.

Of course, with their greater size, ocean cruises normally feature additional things like onboard gyms, live performances, and many more possibilities for where and what to eat. But cruising on a river is convenient since the inclusive pricing packages mean you will enjoy free Wi-Fi, all the water and other beverages you want (even alcohol), and fantastic activities off-ship at select destinations.

River Cruises and Various Ports of Call

Your visits off the ship can be just as exciting as being on board the cruise itself. Every European river cruise has its own special attractions. Explore Europe by way of its famous rivers and get to know the cities and peoples along the trip. Whether you tend to be an adventurer, a history enthusiast or a curious site seer eager to experience the local flavors on offer, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Take a seat in the most fascinating cultural centers on the continent, learn about history at the ancient monuments, and delight in the gorgeous cities and countryside.

These elegant vessels are the perfect size to maneuver into the smaller harbors and ports closest to the most important attractions and town centers.

Famed Rivers of France
France’s numerous rivers will take you to some of its most popular places.

From its majestic Bordeaux region and gastronomic Lyon, to historic Normandy and scenic Provence, not to mention fabulous Paris, France offers something for everyone. The farms and forests of Aquitaine, once one of the richest places in Europe, are as breathtaking as its renown wine region and picturesque ports. You can go Cognac tasting at the Camus distillery in Périgord and perhaps go hunting for its celebrated truffles. Some of the most delicious oysters in the world come from Arcachon in the southwest region of France.

In Bordeaux, don’t overlook the delightfully sweet wine crafted in Sauternes, or the famous reds of the Médoc and Saint-Émilion. Whether you choose the Rhône River, the Seine, the Gironde, or the Dordogne, you are in for a treat with France’s culture of decadent food and wine, distinguished works of art, and fascinating history.

Historied Rivers of Central Europe
If you would like to see the ancient fortresses and charming towns of Germany and the Czech Republic, go with a cruise down the Elbe River.

Wine fanatics will love a trip on the Mosel River, known as the Moselle in France, which flows through the region in Germany best known for its farming of the Riesling grape. The Danube River carries guests through Central Europe to places such as Vienna, where you can learn how to waltz, or Budapest, where you can de-stress in the traditional thermal baths known as banyas. People who like to discover areas off the beaten path will enjoy outings to smaller cities such as Passau and Bratislava, while adventurous foodies will enjoy noshing on the delicacies of the regional cuisine.

The Waterways of the Tsars
Cruise the waterways of Russia and see for yourself the typical Russian architecture in Moscow’s Red Square as well as the domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral.

In Russia, be sure to spend some time at the gorgeous Hermitage Museum, which in addition to being an awe-inspiring edifice, is the second biggest museum in the world. A visit to the kommunalka will give you a first-hand understanding of how families lived commune-style in the Soviet years, while a stop at the dazzling Peterhof Palace will give you fascinating insight into Peter the Great’s everyday life. Of course, when you are in Russia you must indulge in the celebrated local cooking like pirog, solyanka, borscht, blini pancakes, and of course some decadent caviar. The Dnieper River tells a multifaceted story that consists of Greek, Mongol, Tatar, Ottoman, Cossack, Jewish and Russian sections.

There are fantastic museums and ancient churches to tour at various stops along the way as well as imposing Soviet-era structures, or for a lighter experience get tickets to an enjoyable local dance or musical show.

Portugal's Duoro River Valley
Cruise the Douro River in Portugal to the thriving cosmopolitan city of Lisbon, with its newly invigorated districts of art galleries, cafes, and shopping areas. Take in a show of traditional fado singing, then over dinner enjoy the local culinary delights and delicious wines, including the region’s famous Port.

The Douro River Valley is proud to be the first demarcated wine region in the world as well as a UNESCO site.

Ocean graphic

Nordic Wonders

Start by seeing the stunning Nordic sights from the sea before heading to the spectacular Rhine River. Start in Bergen, a historic city where the Vikings landed, then visit the enchanting village of Flåm and the nearby fjords, historic Kristiansand, and the more vivacious modern cities of Stavanger and Olso. Art enthusiasts will want to stop in Denmark’s coastal village of Skagen, once summer home to the legendary group of Scandinavian artists known as the Skagen Painters, as well as Amsterdam to enjoy the many masterpieces there, before heading to Kinderdijk to see the picturesque windmills of Holland.

The sights & tastes of Germany along its riverways

Stop to see Cologne’s famous cathedral and explore Ehrenbreitstein Fortress.

A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, the lovely Middle Rhine ought to be high on your list, with stunning old forts, breathtaking churches, picturesque towns, and fascinating history.

Travel through the renowned Black Forest in Germany, stop in France’s Strasbourg with its splendid Gothic cathedral, then on to Basel, Switzerland with its charming medieval old town. Nothing on board is cookie-cutter, so your time onshore shouldn’t be either.

Experience all you possibly 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 destination is its own artistic creation made from history and culture.

The Beauty of Europe From a River Cruise

Fuel your self and your spirit by sailing Europe’s celebrated rivers. Sailing along rivers such as the Volga, Rhine, Duoro, Danube, Dnieper, Loire, and Elbe is a wonderful way to take a trip.

Size doesn't matter.
While river ships need to be small enough to navigate these waterways, they can be similarly luxurious, with world-class dining, modern technology, live entertainment, and unforgettable local excursions.

These options provide an ambiance that is elegant yet intimate and peaceful. Trips are planned in a way that offers guests ample opportunity to spend time at each destination. What is interesting about these excursions is that they give guests the option to experience the local culture of each port.

Discover these places through the stories told by its artists, history and culinary delights.

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