Ocean, River & Barge Cruises
PROS: A river or ocean cruise allows you to unpack just once, sleep in the same bed each night, and enjoy dining aboard your ship in a variety of different restaurants. Some ships carry thousands of passengers, while others are smaller, carrying few passengers.
Cabins (staterooms) choices are based on your budget and desires (from interior cabins at a lower price, to cabins with balconies to larger, more luxurious suites). Destination views may influence your choice:
Choose from a number of shore excursions for all activity levels, some included in the cruise price; others to more specific points of interest vary in cost from $40 to several hundred.
The best excursions for those with limited mobility or who want to simply get a feel for a port of call are those that offer a motor coach panoramic overview with stops along the way for short walking tours and photos.
Half-day tours allow you to enjoy a locale at your own pace in the afternoon, taking an Uber, cab or walk back to your ship depending how close it is docked. tt’s perfectly OK to stay aboard your ship and relax the entire day.
River cruises dock right in town so it's generally fast and easy to walk in for shopping, dining or nightlife. Ocean cruises dock at the closest port, sometimes relatively close and other times a good distance away though transportation is often provided by the cruise line. River cruises generally carry about 200 passengers.
If you are in good physical condition and love to ride bikes or hike, you'll likely find an excursion available. Barge trips (smaller number of rooms) are great for bike trips.
CONS: Cruises are generally more expensive that land tours, largely because of the meals and services included. But, when comparing apples to apples, perhaps not so much. Worried about seasickness? Ocean cruise ships are remarkedly stable.
You will be travelling with anywhere from 900 to several thousand of your new “best friends.” But ships vary in size and number of decks, so it won’t feel too crowded even on the biggest cruise lines.
Finally, WIFI can be “iffy” on cruise ships, sometimes it’s free and sometimes not. Regardless, don’t count on it being speedy.