Taking a cruise can be a memorable and exhilarating experience. Deciding whether to take a river cruise or a mini cruise is a matter of personal preference. There are pros and cons to both choices and choosing the right one will make all the difference in your holiday experience. Whether you are interested in visiting a popular Caribbean island or a hidden gem in the Mediterranean, there are great cruises for every seafarer.
– Mass Market Appeal:River cruises cater to the needs of larger crowds. These cruises are great for group voyages and are great venues for your family reunion, photography club outing or alumni association group. River cruises are also a great choice for new cruisers who are just earning their sea legs.
– Better Value: River cruises are the least expensive form of cruise travel and offer great value for the money. Large ship river cruises offer all-inclusive meals, accommodations and entertainment. Large river cruise holidays often offer a huge savings over land holiday.
– More Popular Ports: If you are looking for popular destinations like Nassau, Bahamas, Ocho Rios, Jamaica or Cozumel, Mexico, river cruises may be the voyage of choice. These ports are often filled with other cruisers and make for great nightlife experiences.
– Onboard Crowding: Large river cruising can often be crowded and cramped. Long lines at buffets, waits for dining room seating and packed entertainment venues are common. It can be difficult to find a pool chair, make a spa reservation or book an excursion on a large river cruise.
– A la Carte Pricing: Although river cruising is economical, there may be additional fees that add up quickly. Travellers are often surprised at how quickly the cost of beverages, shore excursions and premium dining adds up. Low cost cruises can often end up costing hundreds of dollars more than their sticker price.
– Overcrowded Ports: In some of the more popular destinations, there may be multiple large ships in port. This means that thousands of cruisers are descending on the same small island at once. This can equate to sold out excursions, crowded streets and packed attractions.
– Limited Appeal: Smaller ships often cater to more discerning travellers who want an intimate experience. With smaller ships, you can avoid waiting in lines, sold out shows and heavily trafficked areas. These ships offer personalized service, gourmet food offerings and a luxury atmosphere.
– Truly All-Inclusive: Small mini cruises offer the true all-inclusive experience. For example, many of the 2013 mini cruise offer standard balconies, included beverages and complimentary shore excursions, meaning travellers get an entire package for their money. Cruisers often enjoy free round trip flights, pre-paid gratuities and ground transfers as well.
– Exotic Ports: Mini cruises use small ships that can easily navigate smaller, more exotic ports. Enjoy the sights and sounds of Fortaleza, Brazil, Cairns, Australia and Bali, Indonesia on a smaller vessel.
– More Expensive: Mini cruises can be cost prohibitive for many travellers. These cruises often cost upwards of $20,000 for even moderate accommodations.
– Limited Destinations: Smaller ships are often unable to dock in larger, more popular ports. These mini cruises may not offer certain itineraries for popular Caribbean and European destinations.
– Less Privacy: If you are looking to simply fade into anonymity on your cruise, a mini cruise may seem obtrusive. These cruises often hold only a few hundred passengers, making it less likely that you will just blend in.