Ocean or River – The Main Differences
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Ocean or River Cruises

Passengers now have more options than ever on what type of cruise holiday to book. River cruising is the fastest growing sector in the cruise industry. They are a great option if you want to relax and avoid the masses.

Whether it is the Rhine, Danube, Nile or the Amazon, river cruises are perfect for close up encounters in towns and villages. There are many differences between river cruising and those on the ocean.

Take a look below to see which type will be a good fit for you.

TOP REASONS TO BOOK A RIVER CRUISE

Arrival and departure

There are no huge port terminals and long queues to stand in with thousands of your fellow passengers. Embarkment procedures are quick and easy. Whilst docking, simply walk off the vessel and into the town. Once the journey is complete, there’s not too much trouble with your luggage either.

Itinerary and location

River cruises are better for those that want a slow and relaxing holiday. The ships often make stops right in the centre of smaller cities, towns and villages; allowing you to get a real feel for the area instead of arriving at a not so nice commercial looking port and getting on a coach to view the attractions.

More intimate

River cruise ships are not mega ships and are designed differently than a traditional cruise ship. They are narrow and not so deep which allows them to navigate the shallow waters. The advantage for those who enjoy meeting new people, is that you will get to know nearly everyone as the numbers onboard are very small compared to an ocean going ship. Cabins are designed for two people and many come with French style balconies.

Dining and entertainment

Mealtimes are designated at the same time each day on a river cruise ship. Entertainment can sometimes be based on the most recent port of call. Regional music is frequently played in the lounge and enrichment programs with lecturers are very common.

Excursions

A huge advantage is that most river cruise lines include some free excursions. There are also for-a-fee premium tours, but no matter where the vessel calls at, there will be a freebie too. Prior to reaching a designated destination, you can attend a destination guide or seminar the day/night before to pick up some knowledge of the culture and points of interests.

Child free

Whilst river cruises don’t ban families with children, most cabins on river cruise ships can only sleep two and there’s not much to keep younger children entertained. For the time being, a river cruise is attractive to couples and older passengers who don’t like the idea of children running about.

TOP REASONS TO BOOK AN OCEAN CRUISE

More choices

An ocean cruise holiday offers much more choice in terms of destinations, the number of cruise lines and ships. Because of the vast amount of passengers, prices tend to be lower on an ocean voyage when compared to a river cruise. Great deals are available all year round.

Flexibility

Last minute bookings are common and are usually great value especially if you are not fussy about the cruise line or destination. River cruises sell out very quickly simply because each ship can take so few people. With an ocean cruise, you can head out on impulse for the most part.

Non-stop activities

Ocean cruise vessels are enormous when compared to river ships. This means that your floating hotel can be an all inclusive holiday filled with a never ending amount of activities and entertainment. From full service spas, swimming pools and even a mini golf course or rock climbing wall, a holiday on an ocean cruise ship really does have something for everyone.

Dining

For foodies, nothing beats an ocean cruise. Besides main the dining room, passengers have more alternatives with specialty venues, casual dining and extensive buffets nearly all day long. For many passengers dining is one of the most important parts of their cruise holiday.

Entertainment

Extensive entertainment options from West End shows to Las Vegas extravaganzas to chamber music performances are found on a sea going cruise. Whilst river cruises focus on views and destinations; the ocean cruise experience offers much, much more.

Family Oriented

Ocean cruises have children’s centres that are popular for not only the kids but their parents too. There are children’s camps which give parents a break to head to a casino or have a meal in a specialty restaurant for instance. There are many activities that offer good family quality time. These may include aqua parks, bumper cars and bowling, depending on the ship.

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Been on an Ocean or River Cruise? Tell us which you prefer below!

Crystal Cruises to Have Largest River Vessel
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Crystal Mozart Rendering

Regular cruisers are always seeking something different for their next adventure and one sector of the industry that has in recent years been growing in popularity is river cruising.

More and more seafaring cruise lines including Crystal Cruises have been looking into this lucrative niche. Crystal is known to cater to passengers seeking ultra-luxury. They have gathered many awards for their fine service such as being voted by Travel + Leisure readers for 20 consecutive years as the “World’s Best Large Ship Cruise Line” and as Conde Nast Traveller’s Reader Choice Awards for the past 22 years as the “World’s Best Cruise Ship”.

Crystal recently made headlines with the announcement that they were extending their signature quality to the rivers of Europe. Two new river cruise ships sailing under the name of Crystal River Cruises were due to set sail in March 2017.

News in the cruise industry can change quickly and the CEO Edie Rodriguez made it known that the company had a change of plans. They will launch three more luxury river vessels than previously announced; now totaling five in all. Crystal believe this expansion will pay off, making them serious players in the river sector. The new river cruise line will now commence earlier than planned and begin sailing in 2016.

Crystal River Vessel

One of the ships scheduled to embark on July 13, 2016 along the Danube River is the former MS Mozart. This vessel was built in 1987 and is scheduled to be the largest river cruise ship on European waters, holding more than 160 passengers and measuring 75.1 feet wide. She is presently going through an extensive dry dock refurbishment and will be known as “Crystal Mozart”.

Crystal Mozart cabins all have window views and the smallest suites have a spacious 203 square feet. The deluxe suites follow at 215 square feet; whilst 322 square feet is the size of the penthouse suite. The two-bedroom Crystal Suites are the largest on any river ship measuring a massive 860 square feet. Several venues are available for dining and there is a wraparound promenade. Everything for a luxurious stay is available including a spa, salon and fitness center, an indoor pool and library.

Crystal River Cruises Suite

“Once the transformation of Crystal Mozart is completed, it will truly be the crown jewel of the European rivers” stated Edie Rodriguez.

The remaining four vessels are being built at the German shipyard, Lloyd Werft and each vessel is appropriately being named as “Crystal Bach“,“Crystal Debussy“, “Crystal Mahler“ and the “Crystal Ravel”. Their designs will be along the lines of luxurious yachts and feature the ‘best of the best’ in amenities.

Cabins will boast walk in wardrobes and king sized beds. Debuting in June and August 2017, all of the ships cabins will be suites with the smallest cabins measuring a spacious 220 square feet. The next sizes measure in at 250 square feet (deluxe suite), 500 square feet (penthouse) and 750 square feet (the two-bedroom Crystal Suite). Tentative sailing schedules will offer the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers for two of these new vessels. Both will hold 110 passengers.

The other two are more intimate with an 84 passenger capacity. One of the smaller vessels will follow the Garonne and Dordogne rivers route, whilst the other will sail on the river Seine.

All of the new vessels will feature “spacious public areas” including the Palm Court with a dance floor and glass domed roof. There will also be fitness center, spa, and library. Sporting equipment will be provided for intensive activities such as biking around the countryside or kayaking along the tributaries on exciting excursions, known as “Crystal Adventures”.

The cruise line also plans on including overnight stays which will allow passengers a chance to enjoy the essence of the ship’s destinations after dark.

Crystal River Cruises promises that no matter which of the itineraries are chosen, the passenger will be presented with many scenic stopovers along the way. Bookings for the 2016/17 season on any of the new vessels will begin on the 30th of November.

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Win Tickets to the Daily Mail Cruise Show
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Daily Mail Cruise Show 2015

Hosting the largest selection of cruise lines both large and small The Daily Mail CRUISE show is one of Europe’s leading cruise events.

At the event you will be able to get an insight into the different styles of cruising including luxury and river cruising, cruises for the family and if you are a solo traveller there will be options for you too.

ENTER OUR DAILY MAIL CRUISE SHOW 2015 CONTEST

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SHOW INFORMATION

At the show you will be able to take advantage of exclusive money saving offers and extras for example onboard credit and all inclusive drinks packages. There will also be free talks by the experts where you will be able to gather important expert advice that you won’t be able to get elsewhere.

With new ships and destinations constantly coming to the market the cruise lines will be showcasing what’s new for 2015/2016.

So, if you have never been cruising before or if you are more experienced and want some inspiration for your next voyage, be sure to visit The Daily Mail CRUISE show at the following venues:

NEC, Birmingham – 12 & 13 September 2015
Manchester Central – 26 & 27 September 2015
SECC, Glasgow – 10 & 11 October 2015

For talk timetables and a list of the companies showcasing at the event please visit www.cruisingshow.com

READER’S TICKET OFFER: 
We are also offering reduced price advance tickets to the shows! Get your tickets for only £4 (that’s saving £6 off the door price!!) by quoting ‘2CRUISE’ when booking tickets online at www.cruisingshow.com or when calling 0871 620 4024. (Calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras).

A picture is worth a Thousand Words!
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Pinterest Banner

Whether reminiscing or planning a cruise holiday, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Pinterest boards are a great place to visit to get some inspiration before heading out to sea. Here you will discover the world of cruising that is a feast for your eyes.

A basic search in Pinterest such as “cruises” will bring up thousands of photos that you can like or re-pin to your own boards. Cruise line´s internet sites usually have a follow prompt, so you can follow your favourite line on Pinterest too.

Even with the thousands of boards out there, you will be able to narrow it down to a few favourites you’ll want to follow. They tend to be the ones that post the most photos and have an abundance of followers.

To make things a little easier, we have picked some of the best accounts to follow. Besides enjoying fabulous photographs, you can click on the source for some interesting reading too.

Follow Popular Cruising on Pinterest to relive some of your favourite ships and ports or explore new ones. Click on to a few that will take you directly to their cruise podcasts.

Image: Kauai Hawaii via Popular Cruising

Kuai Hawaii

Hawaii is the land of flowers and waterfalls and with it comes lush and beautiful territory that can’t be seen anywhere else. The best way to see the islands from a bird’s eye view is to take a helicopter trip that is arranged by the cruise ship. The helicopter tours mostly focus on the Kauai part of the island.

The buzz word is out there and the word ‘cruise’ is attached to it. Get the latest information and tips with Cruise Buzz.

Image: Food on the MSC Divina via Cruise Buzz

Lunch on MSC Divina

The MSC Divina offers an enormous variety of foods from a wide variety of different cultures and cuisines, with something for everyone to enjoy. They say that presentation is everything and the dining experience onboard the Divina won’t disappoint the eyes or the palate.

This account has everything from ships to ports of call. Cruise Panorama is considered one of the top on-line magazines available today.

Image: Liberty of the Seas in Haiti via Cruise Panorama

Liberty of the Seas in Haiti

Liberty of the Seas is one of Royal Caribbeans Freedom Class cruise ships and is the third largest ship in the world after their Allure and Oasis of the Seas ships,

Besides partaking in all the things a cruise ship has to offer from activities, spas and dining, a port of call is the highlight of any holiday. To browse some ports of call, click on the Cruise Ports link above.

Image: Cruising from Southampton via Cruise Bart

Cruising from Southampton

If flying isn’t your thing, Southampton is just a train, bus or car journey away. Many cruise ships from all over the world are making stops at this port with some starting and finishing their itineraries here.

Suzanne Rowan Kelleher is a family expert with About.com. This mum of three has been a contributor to Fox News, AOL/MapQuest, amongst others and certainly has the experience to set anyone straight about cruising with the little ones and teens.

Image: Zip line fun via Travel with Kids

Zip Line Fun

For those with an adventurous side, there’s always thrilling activities to be enjoyed. One good way to get some adrenaline pumping is by trying a zip line, a popular activity that can be found in some ports. Zoom down the line at a fast speed as you watch the world flash by you.

Who hasn’t thumbed through their travel books at WH Smith? Fodor’s has published more than 440 guides including those on cruise holidays. Pick up some great tips from a leader in travel advice on their Pinterest boards.

Image: How to pack for a cruise via Fodors

Fodors packing pin

Read some advice on packing for your cruise by clicking on the image above.

Rolling along the inland European waterways is gaining popularity for those who are cruising fans and seeking a new adventure. Uniworld River Cruises on Pinterest provide some fantastic ideas to wet your appetite.

Image: Venice Italy via Uniworld River Cruises

Venice

Click on the image above to view the original on Pinterest.

Ok, we had to sneak in our very own contributions on Pinterest. So far, we have 50 boards and over 1300 followers. The best part is that our blogs and articles are attached to many photos. If you have to track back, it will be easy to locate an About2Cruise article through Pinterest.

Image: P&O Britannia via About2Cruise

P&O Britannia

The Britannia is the largest ship in the entire fleet of P&O. Sailing the Mediterranean she made her debut earlier this year. Prior to her maiden voyage, Queen Elizabeth officially named her in Southampton. With 141,000 gross tonnage and 4,100 passengers, Britannia is a mega-ship built mainly for the British Market.

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APT to Expand their River Cruise Offerings
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Bagan Burma

River cruises have gained popularity over the past few years. Whether it is the Danube or the Rhine, a river cruise is a great way to view the countryside and visit cities and villages situated along its banks.

According to Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), “Over the past five years, river cruising has seen a 10% annual passenger increase” and the lines that specialise in river cruising are responding to the demand. Many river cruise holidays are based in Europe but the companies are keen to expand their offerings to more exotic locations such as China’s Yangtze River.

apt logoWorking in conjunction with AmaWaterways, Australian Pacific Touring (APT) offers several types of river cruise experiences to its guests from Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

APT began as a family-owned and operated travel company that was founded in 1927 and based in Melbourne. It was recently announced that APT will provide passengers with two new river cruise vessels that are scheduled to debut in 2016.

APT is a part owner of AmaWaterways who are well acclaimed by having a member of their fleet listed as ‘Number-One’ in Berlitz: Cruising and Cruise Ships, River Cruise Edition.

The two new ships will be based in Burma (Myanmar) and both will be meandering on the Irrawaddy River between Yangon and Mandalay with 15-day sailings and welcoming its first passengers in January 2016.

The vessels, in partnership with the Maing Fong Company, are being built in Yangon. The RV Samatha will be in the luxury-class with 30 suites and two dining venues and a swimming pool. The RV Princess Panhwar will be a four-star premium 36-suite vessel.

“We already offer river cruising in Burma for APT guests aboard AmaPura and although this is our first year, sales have already exceeded expectations,” Debra Fox, APT’s gm sales and marketing, said.

Although full details are only in the planning stage, the following two ports provide an insight into the type of adventure that awaits in Burma. It promises to be a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Yangon 

Once known as Rangoon, this city was at one time the capital of Myanmar and had some of the most revolutionary building styles of the 19th century. The structures, although aged, have retained their beauty and you should not miss out on seeing the Shwedagon Pagoda.

This pagoda is said to have been built during the Buddha period and contains some of his relics. It is 326 feet (100 meters) in height and is considered to be one of the Wonders of The World as well as an iconic landmark.

Shwedagon Pagoda

Mandalay 

Mandalay is located in the centre of Burma bordering both the Irrawaddy River and the Shan state. In a cultural sense, there are many customs that are performed here. Mandalay’s main form of transportation is the bicycle.

The U Bein bridge is the longest teakwood bridge in the world and is used as a passageway by the locals and for monks walking home with their bicycles.

U Bein Bridge

At one time, this was also the capital of the country as seen by the 150-year-old palace. The palace is kept in immaculate condition, and the Mahamuni Buddha Temple is considered to be one of the most valuable sacred places in the world.

There are enormous statues of the Buddha as well as those depicting religious scenes. Each day, the monks and pilgrims come in to cleanse the statue at 4AM and this is known as the “Face Washing Ceremony”.

This is not the first time the company has had sailings in this region and they still offer Burmese trips in association with AmaWaterways. About2Cruise will be following any updates on the latest venture and the highly anticipated arrival of the RV Samatha and the RV Princess Panhwar.

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