If you’re independent vacationers, either a honeymooning couple or small group of close friends, you may be wondering what the best option for your next ‘floating holiday’ would be. Should you charter a luxury yacht or join a river cruise ship? That, dear fellow boat lovers, is the million dollar question!
River cruising and yacht charters offer two very distinct types of vacations, each with its own set of pros and cons, depending on various factors. Yet unless you're a solo traveler, and one who thrives on company, luxury yacht charters offer the most comprehensive and exclusive experience of the two.
And here's why:
Unless your group consists of between 120 and 200 people, you won’t find a river cruise vessel that'll allow you exclusive use. Luxury yachts, catamarans and superyachts can host between 2 and 12 people, making them ideal for small groups of independent vacationers. Larger groups can still have exclusive use by chartering multiple yachts and sailing in tandem. For the ultimate in privacy and exclusivity, private yacht charters are unparalleled.
If you've ever enjoyed a river cruise abroad you will know that although having company is lovely, especially at mealtimes and on excursions, that's mostly the case only when you're the one who chooses said company. Don’t want to get stuck dining, day in and day out, with people you don’t know and with whom you may not have anything in common? Choose the travel companions you actually like and charter a luxury yacht together. Because life is far too short for endlessly boring dinnertime conversations about the weather. That is, of course, unless your group is large enough to charter an entire river cruise ship for exclusive use.
River cruises are revered for placing much emphasis on land activities and attractions, rather than river-based activities. This makes them ideal for more sedate guests who aren't too keen on spending days on end frolicking in the sea. You cruise at night, wake up in a new place, disembark, and spend the whole day ashore. If you crave a phenomenal summer vacation, however, basking in the heat of a tropical destination and spending endless hours playing with water toys like jet skis, kayaks, inflatable slides, and trampolines, then a river cruise ship vacation just won't cut it. If you'd rather be a sea creature for the whole duration of your trip, a private yacht charter is by far the better choice.
River cruise trips are great for those who don't mind foregoing their independence and adhering to a schedule. From set travel dates and cruising times, to shore stops and even group excursions, everything about river cruises is set to a tight schedule. One in which you'll have no say in altering. The independence on private luxury yacht charters is arguably their most enticing aspect. You decide what day you leave, where you go, where you stop and when you sail. Your experienced captain will take all of your wishes into consideration when designing your dream itinerary. Even once you've set sail, only safety and weather concerns would stop you changing your mind. If it’s love at first sight with a particularly charming cove, there’s nothing stopping you from staying longer or returning to it later. On a private yacht charter you can do that, as a passenger on a river cruise ship, you cannot. There is much greater flexibility if you can charter a river cruise ship for your private use, although do note that even then, vessels are bound by lock-transfer schedules.
River cruise ships are mammoth vessels which employ dozens of crew members. The problem is that you'll barely get to meet but a few. Unlike luxury yacht charters, cruise ships must satisfy the needs and desires of a couple of hundred people so it is only logical that personalized service is something they simply can't offer. On luxury yachts, however, this is one of the priceless benefits. Service is akin to 'butler service'. You get to meet and know every crew member on your yacht and they, in turn, get to know you. All your likes and dislikes, what you love for breakfast, how you like your cabin serviced and what kind of dessert or nightcap makes you weak at the knees. For that extra special vacation, this kind of opulent indulgence is simply dreamy.
If you wish to simply sail away for a few relaxing days, you'll find a yacht charter itinerary to fit the bill, as yachts require a minimum booking of only three nights. River cruises, on the other hand, must be booked for at least one whole week. Moreover, our best river cruise destinations are in far-flung corners of the globe: Europe, Asia and Africa, none of which are possible destinations for a long weekend.
Even luxury yacht charter afficionados like us recognize the fact that if it's a particular river you wish to experience, then luxury yachts just won't be able to get you there. If you wish to see the outstanding cultural and historical attractions along the Danube, Nile, Amazon or Mekong Rivers, our planet's most magnificent waterways, then a river cruise ship is your only option. It's in this very specific situation that a comparison between yachts and river cruise ships becomes totally irrelevant.
Aloneness and loneliness can often be intertwined, with the former being an almost imperative part of a rejuvenating getaway, and the latter being one of the least favorable side-effects. So what to do when one travels alone? Luxury yacht charters for single sailors are not insanely rare, yet we find that even the most ardent solo-sailor will tend to spend much time ashore if simply to socialize with people other than his or her yacht crew. River cruise ships, however, can offer you a great compromise. You may have to put up with traveling in a crowd and following a set schedule, yet if chartering a luxury yacht on your own is not an option, then a river cruise ship voyage may well be.
There are some river cruise ships which pride themselves on offering delectable meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and some are indeed akin to 5-star restaurants afloat. Yet no matter how great the food on board may be, it can't compete with the kind of dedicated cuisine on board luxury yachts. A private chef, armed with a list of your dietary requirements and most loved foods, will concoct a daily menu of individual meals, designed for you and every member of your cruising party.
Still not sure what would best float your boat? Then let us help you make the right decision for you and your traveling companions. Here at Ocean Getaways, we pride ourselves in designing tailor-made vacations that take all of your desires under consideration. Along with decades’ worth of first-hand experience in the industry, we’ll be delighted to point your bow in the right direction. On whatever river or sea that may be.