My family and I have taken four ocean cruises. All have been on first rate huge cruise lines such as Princess and Disney. We enjoy them for the way we feel pampered and the quality of the staterooms and services.
So it was with some trepidation that we decided to try a river cruise. Would we have the same comfort? Would the boats be too small? Would the rooms be too small and hence uncomfortable?
Conclusion: Despite some drawbacks, we enjoyed the river cruise more than ocean cruises.
The rooms on the River Royale were certainly large enough. The did an excellent job of designing the rooms so that one could easily put things away, stow luggage and live relatively comfortably for the cruise. So, if you're worried about feeling cooped up...don't worry.
We enjoyed the frequency of the stops and the amount of time in port. On an ocean cruse you can have a whole day or more on the ship. That can be fine, we're not complaining about that. But, if you're going to travel, the time might be better spent actually seeing as many sites as possible.
Also, the fact that the river cruises are smaller boats helps with the intimacy of the experience. When we did our ocean cruising, we never met anyone. On the river cruise we spent dinner times with a variety of people we met aboard.
The same is true of the staff. Ocean cruises have friendly and attentive staff members. But on a river cruise, you actually get to chat with them and get to know them.
While smaller and perhaps a lower guest to staff ration, our river cruise provided excellent service. Everything was taken care of promptly and with great friendliness.
We dislike the embarkation craziness of ocean cruising. Waiting in long lines with unresponsive check in personnel at the start of an ocean cruise is awful. That doesn't happen on a small boat.
Incomprehensively, our cruise line has a rigid and customer unfriendly airport to transfer policy. The straightened it out...but only after needlessly annoying their customers. But that was not enough to put us off river cruises.
The overall experience was grand.