So you’ve decided to join the millions of Australians who set sail on a cruise holiday each year, but aren’t sure where to start? The wonderful world of cruising has grown exponentially so you can rest assured there is an adventure at sea just right for you. Cruise ships sail all over the world, whether it be navigating the idyllic South Pacific Islands, sailing down the winding Yangtze River or going from city to city along the peaceful Danube. Many first time cruisers want to know, is an ocean or river cruise the way to go?
The easiest way to narrow down your cruising choices is to start by choosing your destinations. Where in the world would you like to go? If it’s your first time at sea and you would just like to test the waters, a close to home holiday might be the best choice. From Melbourne, you can easily make your way down to Tasmania or Brisbane residents can sail to the Whitsunday Islands. On the other hand, you could be eager to explore the highlights of Asia with a luxury Mekong River cruise or sail from Australian shores all way to beautiful Bali. If you are preparing for a big European adventure, you will have your pick of exciting waterways to explore.
Cruising can either be your entire holiday or just one element of a multi-faceted trip. You can easily embark on a cruise from most of Australia’s big cities that will take you to exciting close to home destinations. For some, the sheer delight of being at sea is more than enough. For others, you will fly to Europe, Asia or America and then take a cruise as part of your overseas adventure. River cruising is becoming quite the fad, giving holiday makers an easy way to get around foreign destinations. The second thing to do is decide whether cruising will be your sole purpose or simply part of a more complicated itinerary.
Ocean cruises are perfect for those who love the freedom of the sea. If your dream is to relax and unwind on an open deck while enjoying endless ocean views, than you are the ideal candidate for an ocean cruise. That being said, a river cruise also has its own perks when it comes to the scenery department. Views on a river cruise are more often dotted by rolling hills, quaint villages and ancient towns. If ever-changing countryside is your favourite vista, then a river cruise may be your ideal holiday.
The dining options differ from ship to ship but there are a few main differences to note between ocean liners and smaller river cruising vessels. Ocean liners are typically larger ships and can hold thousands of passengers. This means the dining scene is greater, with more options and more choice. If your ideal spread consists of sumptuous buffets and a la carte restaurants that feature a fusion of cuisines, than you will be more than happy on a big ship. Meanwhile, river cruises often dial up their restaurant options by offering specialty gourmet dishes paired with fine wines that showcase local flavours.
There is no denying that ocean liners typically leave no holds barred when it comes to entertainment. The big beasts offer a wealth of activities, from wild waterslides to rock climbing walls and ice skating rinks. Onboard, there are fitness centres, full services spas and even hair and beauty salons. Broadway shows are on every night and clubs, pubs and lounges are everywhere. River cruises will offer less when it comes to the entertainment department but they still offer plenty. Onboard lectures, live music and informative presentations are common. Operating at a slower pace, river cruises typically make frequent stops so there is less time spent actually on the boat itself.
While in some categories it may seem the bigger the better, there is something to be said for smaller ships. For starters, they carry less passengers, which means less waiting and less crowds, which can be a big plus. Another point to note, is smaller vessels have greater access to narrow waterways and seaside ports. Passengers will often find themselves right at the gateway of a city, so there is reduced travel time and your land adventures can begin right away.
Do you prefer ocean or river cruising?
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