A river cruise is a type of cruise in which people travel along a river, usually in a flat-bottomed boat. Travelers will often get to enjoy the scenery as well explore a number of ports along the river during the time spent on these cruises. Compared to ocean cruises, these types of cruises are generally smaller, less formal, and less expensive. Also, the accommodations and amenities on a river cruise are usually simpler than those aboard an ocean cruise.
As its name suggests, a river cruise involves using a boat to travel up or down a river. During these types of cruises, travelers will often sit back and enjoy the scenery. River cruise boats also usually stop at several docks along the length of the river, so passengers can explore the areas.
Afternoon or evening river cruises will usually only last a few hours. An afternoon river cruise will often include lunch, while an evening cruise can include dinner and cocktails. Longer cruises are also available in many areas, and these can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the size of the river.
Unlike an ocean cruise, a river cruise is usually somewhat small and intimate. A riverboat is typically much smaller than an ocean cruise ship, simply because rivers are smaller. Some of these types of cruises can only accommodate a handful of passengers, while others may be able to carry a few hundred.
This type of cruise is also usually less formal than an ocean cruise. Some river cruise companies may even encourage passengers to help out during the cruise. Rooms aboard these boats are usually small but cozy, and meals are often very informal. Entertainment on small river cruises may consist of lecturers, small bands, or even just some after-dinner conversation.
Larger river cruise boats, on the other hand, may be somewhat more luxurious. These larger river cruises may include spa treatments and gourmet meals. Some riverboats even have casinos on board.
Another major difference between an ocean cruise and a river cruise is the price. Ocean cruises tend to be a bit more expensive, and there may also be a number of hidden charges, including meals and drinks. Not only are river cruises somewhat less expensive, but passengers will usually not need to worry about hidden fees, since nearly everything is included. Excursions ashore will also not usually cost river cruise passengers any extra money either.