YMCA Alumni members count travel opportunities as one of their most anticipated parts of retirement.
Cruises are a great option to see new places, but which is best for you– river or ocean cruise?
My wife Jan and I have been on both and here are our thoughts on what is provided.
River cruises – much smaller ships (less than 120 passengers usually), extremely smooth travel on board, larger rooms, better food, wine and beer included, shore excursions included, higher level of service overall. Your locations take you into areas not accessible by ocean cruises. A drawback sometimes not considered – level of water in the rivers!
We had a cruise delayed because the water was too low. It seems this is happening more with droughts affecting many trips this year. The costs of a river cruise are appreciably higher than ocean cruises, but the service and benefits are there as well. You get what you pay for. River cruises are more focused on a QUALITY travel experience with less distractions.
Ocean cruises – much larger ships with thousands of passengers (some over 6,000 capacity!). (There are exceptions. For example, Viking Ocean ships carry only 935 passengers.) You cover much more territory and multiple countries (although on coastlines), the cost can be much lower, the food is good with premium options available. You have A LOT of entertainment options – shows, casinos, fitness centers, libraries, internet cafes, swimming pools, spas. These are not found on river cruises with a few exceptions. We have found service to be good.
Ocean cruise lines (again, with exceptions) believe BIGGER IS BETTER and try to give you it all – even things you’re not interested in. We’ve enjoyed both – and have one of each planned this year. Do your homework and you’ll be prepared to have a great time.m
--Patrick and his wife Jan have traveled the world extensively. He is immediate past chair of the YMCA Alumni Travel Club and past president of the Schreiner Chapter.