River Cruise vs Sea Cruise: What Floats Your Boat?

Looking to dip your toe into cruising? We know, there’s so much to choose from. Not least whether you want to sail the 7 seas or enjoy something a little gentler. The age old question, do I choose a sea or a river cruise?

Maybe you’re an avid sea or river cruiser and are wondering what it’s like on the other side of the water, or you’re thinking about setting sail for the first time but not sure which is more you? Here are our top 5 points to consider when making your choice.

Sea Sickness

Let’s get this one out of the way to start. If you suffer from bouts of sea sickness, don’t write cruising off just yet. River cruising could just be the answer.
It’s highly unlikely that you, or even the most motion sensitive people, will suffer any bouts of sea sickness on board a river cruise. Firstly, there are no waves and secondly, you’re always in sight of the shore, two huge triggers of the dreaded illness.
In fact, the ride is so smooth, river cruise passengers have said that they didn’t even notice the boat moving so you won’t be left worrying about where the nearest bucket is. You’re free to enjoy the benefits of cruising.

The Changing Scenery

If you’re a fan of visiting the ‘must-see’s’ and the thought of traveling to many different countries, looking for dramatically changing scenery is right up your street, then sea cruising has it all.
From Venice, to Croatia and a stop off in stunning Santorini, it’s all possible in one holiday! But that doesn’t mean that river cruises are any less scenic. In fact, we could say they’re more so.
Rolling countryside, cruising through stunning cities and even flowing through world-famous vine yard clad valleys, if sailing for days on end, through epic seas and mighty oceans, with nothing but the blue sea between you and the horizon doesn’t sound like your thing, there’s plenty to see when sailing on a river cruise.

It’s not the size of the boat…

Well, it could be. There’s the thrill of travelling on an ocean cruise ship, a floating resort, almost. There’s everything you could possibly wish for and it’s every inch as glamorous as you’d think.
From cafes to fine dining, West End worthy shows and spas. Not to mention endless shopping opportunities for those souvenirs or even a little treat for yourself, there’s plenty to keep you occupied on a cruise ship.
But on a river cruise, your vessel is a lot smaller. And that doesn’t mean you’re missing out on all the fun. The smaller ship provides a more intimate environment making it easier to make friends, and anywhere you want to go is just a short walk away from where you are.
And, you can be sure that the staff will always be on hand to make your experience as enjoyable as possible. The lesser number of passengers means the service is a lot more personal, and if that’s the sort of thing you like on a holiday, it’s well worth giving river cruising a go.

Cabin Space

As you would expect, ocean ships have a huge variety of cabins to choose from as opposed to river cruise ships.
And whilst the rooms on board a river cruise ship are comfortable and funtional, the luxury/upgrade options on board an ocean liner can be truly fantastic.
Often ranging from something more modest to impressive suites, you’ll be completely spoilt for choice, whatever your budget.

Right in the heart of the action.

Sea cruises take you to some of the most impressive destinations on earth, provided they’re on the coast. And what better way to approach a stunning destination of bucket list standard than to sail in on a magnificent vessel?
However, due to the sheer size of the ships, it’s not always possible to get into port or even close to land. Sea cruises sometimes use tenders to get you into your destination. And, there is a lot of people to get to shore on a ship of that magnitude.
On a river cruise, you sail straight into the heart of where you want to be, find your spot on the dock and off you go. Of course, there may be times a river cruise has to use a tender too, but with less passengers to ferry and less distance to travel, it’s far from a hassle to get your sight-seeing trip started.
And, as an added bonus for a river cruise? You’ll most likely find yourself ashore every day of your holiday, so your days will be fun packed and fly by…well, sail by.

Ready to hit the waters or high seas? We’ve got plenty of cruises to choose from, whether you’re floating more towards sea or river experiences. Take a look at our cruise offerings over at leger.co.uk

Love Scenic Cruises? We

Cruising tours with Leger

If packing your sea legs is an exciting start to a new adventure, you’re not alone. With an annual passenger growth rate of 7%, cruises are becoming an ever popular way of touring.

With a wide variety of ocean and river cruises now available, the choice of locations is a wide and varied. It’s not all about the sailing the Med and seeing coastal towns with a big enough dock, with river cruises you can get up close and personal from a different perspective inland. Even taking on the Ocean can lead you to new and exciting locations.
Cruises can really offer a fantastic adventure covering a much larger area than a coach tour and they really are a fantastic experience from start to finish.
Here’s some of our favourite Leger cruises available to book now.

Cruising the Christmas Markets of the Rhine Valley

Cologne at duskComing up shortly we will begin our Christmas Market tours, and this is one not to be missed. Cruising down the Rhine valley stopping off at the markets of Rüdesheim, Koblenz and Cologne you really will be in the Christmas spirit.
Rüdesheim is transformed from a little romantic town to a place buzzing with festive cheer. With over 120 stalls there’s plenty to do but we would suggest trying their coffee made with locally distilled Asbach Uralt Brandy, whipped cream and traditionally served in an authentic Rüdesheim coffee set. After making your way back to the ship you will be invited to the Captain’s dinner and party evening to warm up and let loose.
Kolblenz market will give you the perfect opportunity to pick up some fabulous hand-made gifts and decorations to bring home with you. There’s an array of stalls making fresh German Christmas cakes and biscuits right in front of your eyes.
And to top it off, the magical Cologne. There are several markets you can find around Cologne but the most impressive would have to be the market at Cologne cathedral. With a dramatic backdrop, there’s nothing more quintessentially German than sipping mulled wine and indulging in an unlimited array of sweets.
Click here to view this tour.

New Year Festive Celebration Rhine Cruise

Fireworks in KoblenzBringing in the New Year cruising on the Rhine River. Starting in Cologne you will board the M.S Rhine Princess for a four night cruise. You will have your chance to visit the beautiful city of Cologne. The home of the Kölner Dom, there’s plenty to see and do. You could treat yourself to a shopping spree in the elegant Belgian quarter, leave a love lock on the Hohenzollern Bridge or visit the chocolate factory to pick up some treats for your journey.
Of course, as it’s a New Year’s trip, you won’t miss the party. After cruising to the beautiful Roman town of Andernach then onto Oberwest, you will enjoy a day time coach trip to Rüdesheim then re-joining your ship in Koblenz for your Gala dinner party. You can view the fireworks in style as they light up the town around the river.
After partying the night away, you could indulge in some hair of the dog as we take an optional excursion to Moselle Valley for wine tasting at the Anton Hammes wine estate which has been family owned for over 150 years.
You will spend your last night in the town of Bonn, the former capital of West Germany. For anyone interested in classical music, Bonn is best known for being the birthplace of Beethoven. You can enjoy your final dinner before heading off home from this fantastic trip.
Click here for more information on this tour.

Iberian Peninsula Cruise & Lake Garda

MarseilleIf you’re looking a bit further ahead and a warmer climate is more your style, the Iberian Peninsula Cruise & Lake Garda cruise could be the one for you.
You will stay for ten nights cruising on the Costa Fortuna, spectacular in every detail. This superb vessel offers four restaurants and eleven bars, which include a Cognac and Cigar Bar. The ship includes a choice of swimming pools, jacuzzis, a theatre on three levels, a Casino, shops and a disco.
You will greet the Costa Fortuna in Savona for a 10 night cruise but not before you’ve stopped off at Lake Guarda for a full day tour and the beautiful city of Venice where you can enjoy the spectacular sights mentioned in our Venice blog.
The first stop on your cruise will be the beautiful town of Marseille where you can visit the Notre–Dame de La Garde and get your hands on a bar of the traditional Savon de Marseille soap, scented with lavender, verbena or honey, to take home with you as a gift or a treat for yourself.
You will then make your way to Spain stopping off at Palma de Mallorca, Malaga and Cadiz. You will then head on to Portugal where you will stop off in Lisbon where you can visit the world’s most expensive chapel, Sao Roque and head up the Santa Justa Elevator for sweeping views of the spectacular city.
Heading back through Spain, stopping off at Vigo and La Coruna, your final stop will be in La Havre in France where you can sample some famous Normandy Cider and Cheese to top off this fabulous 15 day trip.
You can view this tour here.

Norwegian Fjords Cruise

Norwegian FjordThe last of our featured cruises is certainly not least. The Norwegian Fjords Cruise. Setting sail in June, you will be taken on a breath-taking tour of western Norway.
Once again you will take sail on the Costa Fortuna
You will start off your tour with a day in Amsterdam where you can visit the fantastic museums and the world famous coffee shops. In such a vibrant city, you will wonder where the day has gone when you board the ship and head off for your Norwegian adventure.
Spring time in the Fjords is when they really come to life, as the sun starts to shine on the mountains turn spectacular colours. The temperature will typically vary between 14-16 degrees Celsius, so be sure to take some warm clothes.
You will stop off in Bergen, Hellesylt, Andalsnes, Olden, Flam and Stavenger. The Fjords are canals reaching inland from the coast where the mountains emerge from the ocean. You will sail through the fjords taking in the breath-taking natural beauty.
Be sure to take your camera on this 12 day break as the photos will be treasured for a life time.
To view the itinerary for this tour click here.

For more information and even more Leger Cruises visit our website www.leger.co.uk

The Rhine Valley: on land and water

A day out on Leger’s Romantic Rhine, Fairytale Castles of Bavaria and the Black Forest tour took us along just a small stretch of one of Europe’s longest rivers, the mighty Rhine.

Pastel-coloured buildings of pink, green, yellow and mustard lined the banks of the river amongst clean white churches and half-timbered buildings, all looking like tiny matchboxes against towering hillsides. Above them, I noticed how the land resembled a patchwork of deep green corduroy – stripes left to right, up and down – as if it was a large blanket, holding the hills together.

Colourful buildings line the Rhine

As we began sailing along the calm waters of the Rhine we passed one of the many castles which cling to the valley: Burg Maus – ‘Mouse Castle’, with its distinctive round tower, sitting above the small village of Wellmich on the east side of the river.

Burg Maus
Burg Maus sits high on the east bank of the Rhine.

Through the commentary on our ship we learnt that the castle – official name, Burg Peterseck, and also known as Thurnberg – was built by the archbishop of Trier to protect its borders against the Counts of Katzenelnbogen who had previously built a castle on the opposite side of the river: Burg Rheinfels. In response to the building of Thurnberg, the counts built a larger castle, the name of which was shortened to Burg Katz (Cat Castle), and, according to tradition, renamed the archbishop’s castle Burg Maus (Mouse Castle), saying that Burg Maus would be eaten by their nearby Burg Katz!

Burg Katz sits along the river from Burg Maus
The larger Burg Katz sits along the river from Burg Maus.

A bit further along we passed the rather unusual Zur Klosterschenke – a church which is attached to a pub! To get to the church you actually have to go through the bar. Here, the priest apparently serves at the bar when he’s not covering his other duties. That’s something I’ve never encountered before!

Zur Klosterschenke
Zur Klosterschenke – see how the church is adjoined to the pub!

In Kamp-Bornhofen the two castles of Sterrenberg and Liebenstein stand high on the hill and hold a couple of interesting stories about two brothers from the 13th century. Legend has it that the brothers, who shared the castles, became enemies and a wall was built between the two structures. These castles – one white and one black, seen clearly from the river – are sometimes referred to as ‘The Warring Brothers’.

Cruising along the river

It was a beautiful, sunny day as we continued along the Rhine. Our party were sitting in deck chairs laughing and joking, enjoying a drink and a chat in the sunshine. It was so relaxing, just sitting there, listening to the commentary and taking in the scenery. Flags were flapping in the welcome breeze and everyone appeared to be having a great time.

Cruising down the river
Cruising down the river

Off the ship and back on dry land in the lovely town of Boppard I enjoyed a short walk along the Rhine Promenade before we left for our next visit. Along the promenade people were walking their dogs while others strolled along, eating ice cream or pedalled past me on bikes. Baskets of red and pink geraniums lined the railings against the river adding a hint of colour to the view.

The Rhine Promenade

Leaving Boppard, our next stop was the small town of St. Goar (Sankt Goar). After a short walk along the edge of the Rhine, I was in the centre of town, and immediately spotted the cuckoo clock shop – not hard to do since outside it displays the world’s largest free-hanging cuckoo clock. Behind the clock, up on the hillside I could see the Burg Rheinfels (one of the castles built by the Counts of Katzenelnbogen) which was apparently the largest castle on the Rhine until Napoleon’s army came and blew it to bits! Today, while some of the castle is still in ruins, other parts of the building are a hotel and restaurant.

The world’s largest free-hanging cuckoo clock in St. Goar
The world’s largest free-hanging cuckoo clock in St. Goar.

As I continued along the town’s pedestrianised, central street, lined with souvenir shops, inviting cafés and kondotorei, I could hear the loud ‘tick tock’ of the ‘world’s largest free-hanging cuckoo clock’ following me for quite a distance. I spotted a few members of our party sitting at the cafés, enjoying an afternoon tea break: a pot of tea, a cold beer or a large ice cream.

St. Goar
Rheinfels Castle can be seen from St. Goar’s main street.

Up in the quiet backstreets of St. Goar, the only sound I could hear was my own footsteps. The maze of cobbled streets lead me to a picturesque church, tucked up into the centre of the town, amongst old buildings and streets lined with colourful planters. Following the paths back to the main street, I sat beside a couple of men enjoying huge slabs of cake – a strip of biscuit base holding orange sponge, pink mousse and topped with strawberries. Yum!

Tasty cakes from the konditorei.
Tasty cakes from the konditorei.

But there was no time for cake for me. The day had all-too-quickly come to an end and it was time to leave the lovely little town of St. Goar and the picturesque Rhine Valley after a wonderful, memorable day by the river.
Have you been to the Rhine Valley or experienced a cruise along the River Rhine? Have you been on Leger’s Romantic Rhine, Fairytale Castles of Bavaria and the Black Forest tour? Share your stories with us.