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The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.
- Jacques Cousteau


Ocean and River Cruises


Cruising is for everyone! Don't believe me? Below, I offer myriad examples of cruise benefits, plus some top cruise destinations and the main differences between ocean and river cruising. 

The Benefits of Cruising


Cruises appeal to a wide range of travelers due to their convenience, variety of activities, and opportunities to explore multiple destinations in one trip. Feeling leisurely? Have a relaxing spa day, read a great book with a view to the ocean, or have some cocktails at the pool. Feeling more energetic? Exercise in the ship's gym or partake in games or classes offered on board. Some ships even offer adrenaline-satisfying activities like ziplining!

Most cruises are all-inclusive — meals, shipboard activities, entertainment, and even tips. You have the freedom to explore various ports, but can go back to your own comfy bed at night and wake up somewhere else the next day — no packing, unpacking, or hectic transportation needed.

A young girl on a cruise ship balcony with her parents in the background

Which Is Better, River or Ocean Cruises?

A middle-aged couple relaxing on pool loungers

They're both great! It just depends on your personal style and where you want to go.


River cruising offers a more intimate, scenic experience with smaller ships that navigate inland waterways, allowing passengers closer access to city centers and cultural sites in the heart of destinations. These cruises typically focus on cultural immersion with more time spent in ports, often including guided tours in the package. 


In contrast, ocean cruising features larger vessels equipped with a wide range of amenities and entertainment options, from theaters and multiple dining venues to water parks and spas. Ocean cruises cover greater distances, offering a mix of sea days for relaxation and diverse port calls, from bustling cities to secluded islands, catering to a broader range of interests and activities.

Where Are the Best Cruise Destinations?

There are so many exciting cruise destinations and each offers its own character and personality. Here are some cruise destinations to consider:

  • Caribbean Cruises: Revel in sun-soaked beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant cultures, with stops at islands like Barbados and St. Lucia, each offering its unique paradise.

  • Mediterranean Cruises: Navigate the storied waters of the Mediterranean, visiting ancient ruins in Rome, picturesque landscapes in the Greek Isles, and the rich histories of cities such as Barcelona and Dubrovnik.

Adventurers on a tender in Antarctica
An older couple on the balcony of a cruise ship
  • Alaskan Cruises: Encounter the majestic wilderness of Alaska, from Glacier Bay National Park to whale watching encounters and the rugged beauty of the Last Frontier.

  • River Cruises in Europe: Experience the heart of Europe's charm with stops in historic cities along the Danube, Rhine, or Seine, offering intimate access to cultural treasures, from Vienna's classical music scene to the vineyards of Bordeaux.

  • Asian Cruises: Explore the diverse cultures, cuisines, and landscapes of Asia, with itineraries that take you from the bustling streets of Tokyo to the serene beauty of Halong Bay in Vietnam.

  • Antarctic Expeditions: Embark on the ultimate adventure to the untouched landscapes of Antarctica, where you can witness icebergs, penguins, and whales in their natural habitat.

  • South Pacific Cruises: Discover the idyllic islands of the South Pacific, including Fiji, Tahiti, and Bora Bora, where you can add a land stay in overwater bungalows and snorkel in crystal-clear lagoons.

  • Norwegian Fjords Cruises: Sail through Norway's dramatic fjords, with their towering cliffs and waterfalls, offering some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the world.

Each of these cruise destinations provides a unique set of experiences, landscapes, and cultural opportunities, making cruising a versatile option for travelers seeking convenience, variety, and the joy of discovery.

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