River Cruises Versus Ocean Cruises


Initially, the differences between river and ocean cruising might not seem so obvious. They both feature ships traversing sizable bodies of water that make regular stops to new, exciting locations rich with charm and adventure. However, there are subtle differences meaning they appeal to different tastes and to different guests.

Here we’ll make clear the differences between the two, helping you size up river and ocean cruising.  

1. Ocean cruise liners are much bigger. Our Star-Ships make up a chic, nimble fleet that allow us to dock in places that ocean cruises simply can’t, from Passau’s provincial cobblestone streets to Cái Bè’s floating markets. Our largest Star-Ship has a capacity of 182 guests, with our smallest holding 113 – evoking an intimacy and familiarity not afforded by the comparatively massive ocean cruisers that host 1,000+ passengers. 

2. Although our ships are sumptuously crafted and made to make your time on the water packed with comfort and luxury, your port destinations are the true highlights. So, Emerald Cruises opens up more opportunities to experience these mesmerising attractions compared to regular ocean cruises. Our EmeraldACTIVE and EmeraldPLUS experiences give you chance to explore the culture and highlights of your destinations.

ocean cruise vs river cruise
3. On-board our Star-Ships, the suites and staterooms are perfectly formed. Spacious and spectacular, we haven’t spared on the luxury either, with river-facing cabins that allow for amazing views. Passionate travel writer, Pat Richardson, notes: “comfort, luxury, a walk-in shower and ample wardrobe/drawer space come as standard.” So, whether you make an Emerald Cruises Stateroom your new abode or you splash out on our luxurious Owner’s One-Bedroom Suite, you can guarantee supreme comfort from start to finish.

4. The serene, tranquil waters you’ll be traversing mean there’s very little, if any, chance of seasickness during your time on-board.

5. On river cruises, you’ll get to know your fellow guests much quicker. In the vast surroundings of ocean cruise liners, even seeing the same people twice would be quite the challenge. Meeting like-minded folks is easy with Emerald Cruises, and we pride ourselves on the relaxed, intimate environment we’ve helped create.
ocean cruise vs river cruise
6. You get more for your money. Every Emerald Cruises river offers exceptional value, with so much included in the price - meaning you can spend more time relaxing and less time worrying about the small stuff. Flights, transfers, meals with complimentary drinks, on-board meals, shore excursions, Wi-Fi, and so much more are all included with Emerald Cruises. We’re dedicated to ensuring every aspect of your journey is catered for.

7. A river cruise myth: you need to dress formally. By all means, show off your finest style in the evening, but we’re not strict when it comes to your on-board wardrobe. Actress and TV presenter Julie Peasgood says: “The overall atmosphere is relaxed and laid back, with smart casual very much the order of the day - and night.” There’s no need to worry about the dress code during your time with us, your comfort is of utmost importance to us.