River Cruise VS Ocean Cruise,
We are home and this adventure has ended but there is one last thing I want to do.
Several have asked which we prefer, an Ocean Cruise or a River Cruise so I have decided to do a comparison. First of all I will compare a Viking River cruise with a Princess Ocean cruise since those are the only ones I have ever done. To make certain I am comparing apples with apples I am comparing a Princess cruise in a B Balcony with a Viking veranda cruise.
First of all I went on line and got the cost information for a 7 day Princess and an 8 day Viking. Then I divided accordingly and arrived at the per day cost for each. The Viking Cruise would have cost about $769.00 Canadian dollars per day per person and the Princess cruise would have cost about $279.00 Canadian dollars per day per person. These figures are based on 2 people in each cabin with no sales or promotions..
The adventure begins with a wonderful booklet personalized with all of your information. It includes flight plans and booked excursion and everything you need to know about your cruise. It also contained a lovely leather luggage tag which we will use for years to come. That was a very nice extra special touch.
One hundred eighty passengers versus three thousand or more means you see a lot more familiar faces each day,
The room on Princess is larger as is the balcony. There is a lot more storage space in a Princess cabin and it is laid out much better. Our Viking room had the desk right next to the patio door so the person working at the desk had to get up if the other wanted access to either the balcony or their bed.
The Viking ship has much nicer bathrooms. The shower is almost twice as big and the floor is heated which is an amazing feature.
The included toiletries on the Viking ship are of higher quality and they continue to provide individual products. Princess has switched to having the pumps on the shower wall which is not as nice by far.
The meals on both ships were wonderful but there were more meal selections with Princess. Princess has specialty dining venues and several other areas where you could dine such as a pizza parlour and a hamburger and hot dog eatery and the 24 hour international Café.
A fruit bowl is available with Princess and the only thing available in between meals with Viking is cookies.
Room service is not available with Viking and there is 24 hour room service with Princess.
There is only one seating for meals with Viking where as Princess has 2 seatings which gives guests a better choice of times. Personally I found that 7:15 or 7:00 was too late. I like to have assigned seating. In that way you get to really make new friends. But if your table mates change every day you never get to really know anyone. The couple who travel alone get left out when it comes to deciding where to sit, assigned dining solves that problem.
The dress code for Viking was very casual with no formal nights. Whether or not that is a plus or a minus depends on your personal preference. Personally I like to dress up once in a while.
Embarkation and disembarkation is much smoother and much faster with Viking. That is to be expected. Getting 180 people on board has to run smoother that getting 3600 people on board. The same is true of getting them off of the ship.
I really appreciated the daily news letter supplied by Viking. Princess has nothing like it and I miss knowing what is happening in Canada and the world while I am travelling. Neither line has TV reception or channel choice that is good. The choices are terrible.
I enjoy the production show after dinner. Princess does a superb job of providing entertainment on their cruises. Between big shows and comedians and magicians and musicians they really do provide memorable evenings..Viking had the same 2 people every night in the lounge. There were special guests 2 or 3 times and that is all.
There are several lounges and bars on the Princess Ships providing lots of music and entertainment well into the evening.
The enrichment lectures on sea days are something I look forward to and this is basically lacking with Viking, partly because there are no sea days, just sailing afternoons or evenings..
There is little or no shopping on a Viking Ship where as there are several shops on the Princess ships. That can be a plus or a minus depending on your point of view.
They play BINGO on Princess ships and they have casinos on Princess ships . That also can be a plus or a minus depending on the passenger. The same is true of Art Auctions. The art lecture can be very entertaining however.
There are no pools or hot tubs or SPAS on the Viking ships and there are always several on Princess ships.
Princess gives everyone a lovely recycle bag with their logo.
You do not have to tender with Viking, and you do have to tender sometimes with Princess and that is a major MINUS with Ocean cruises.
However docking along side of each other and having to pass through other ships to get to shore in no picnic either. Your balcony is useless if you are butted next to another ship. If you are on the side which is next to the other ship you do not have a view of the city you are in. This is a major minus for Viking River cruises.
Viking includes an excursion for each port and that is a big plus. Princess does not offer included shore excursions. You must pay extra for such things.+
For these excursions you are provided with what is called a quiet Voice. It is basically private ear phones. You wear it around your neck and install an ear bud. Even if you are several feet from your guide you can here the commentary. I just loved my quiet voice.
Viking supplies a bottle of water to each passenger as they leave the ship to go on an excursion. Plus they put fresh bottles of water in your room each evening. On Princess you must pay for your water if you do not want to refill your bottle. This saves on plastic pollution but it was nice to get a new bottle when you headed out for the day.
Princess has the Princess Patter and Viking has the Viking Daily. Both provide the information you need for the next day’s activities. The patter is more extensive but they have a lot more to cover.
For me the major item was lack of laundry facilities. Viking has none but Princess has a self serve laundry on every deck. Being able to run an iron over something that may have gotten wrinkled in your suitcase is a big PLUS for me.
I think the biggest plus was UNLIMITED free internet. Because I blog it is important to do things quickly to save minutes. But with Viking it did not matter if it too 15 minutes to download one picture. When ever we were dock in city centers the uploading was very fast but speed did not matter as much when it is unlimited.
I love the chocolates on my pillow at night and Viking does not provide that.
Viking really wears their cruise director our where as Princess has a cruise director’s staff. Because there are fewer passengers, one staff member can be worked where as it would just not be viable with 36 hundred guests
With Princess a passenger may bring one bottle of wine to drink in their room. Viking allows you to bring any amount of wine to the table at no corkage fee.
If you enjoy wine or beer with your meals at no extra cost then Viking wins the prize. These items are included with the cost of a Viking cruise.
So in conclusion which one to take depends on a person’s personal preferences. The river cruises cost a great deal more and that would not be good value for us. We are not drinkers and we would never spent hundreds every day on excursions, water and alcohol.
We would choose 2&1/2 ocean cruises over 1 river cruise.
BUT we are happy to have sailed with Viking, we had a fabulous time!!!
A river cruise is something we can take off of our bucket list.