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4 Ways To Combine Ocean and River Cruising

Ocean and river cruising are two completely different experiences and many people prefer one more than the other. However, if you can’t choose between the two, there is no reason why you have to. A number of different cruise lines have started to offer itineraries that blur the lines between a cruise inland and a cruise across the sea.

Some combine the two on an extended journey, whilst others will travel a coastal route on what feels like a river cruise but actually takes place on the ocean. Here are a few of these unique journeys to consider.

Victory Cruise Lines

Victory I

Victory Cruise Lines has only recently started offering their itineraries to the UK market. Focussing mainly on the Great Lakes near the border between the US and Canada, the sailings provide a chance to learn about the history of these giant bodies of water and see some breathtaking landscapes. As well as cruises across Lake Superior, Huron, Michigan, Eerie and Ontario, you can also venture out into the St. Lawrence Seaway or along the coast of New England. Sailing on board a specifically designed coastal cruiser, you will visit intriguing ports such as Bar Harbour, Boston and Portland.

Viking Cruises

Viking Sky

Viking has set themselves the goal of becoming the largest cruise line in the world, announcing the launch of yet more river cruise vessels and making plans to have a fleet of 16 ocean ships within the next few years. With such a large selection of ships available, it is no surprise that they have started to offer combined ocean and river cruises. There are currently three itineraries available, all of which consist of a river cruise followed by an ocean cruise (or vice versa) using Amsterdam as a crossover point.

‘Rhine & Viking Shores & Fjords’ (15 days) takes you from Bergen to Amsterdam on board Viking Sun before dropping you off in Amsterdam for a Rhine River cruise. ‘Grand European & Viking Fjords’ (22 days) is similar, but you start with a Danube River cruise from Budapest before boarding Viking Sun for a Norwegian fjords cruise. Finally, ‘Rhine & Amsterdam To Catalonia’ (18 days) involves a Rhine River cruise from Basel to Amsterdam and then an ocean cruise that explores many different Spanish ports.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines


The four mid-sized ships that Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has in its fleet are perfectly suited to intimate ocean cruising. However, the fact that they can reach ports that larger ships are not able to means they are not restricted to the seas. Itineraries such as ‘German Waterways’, ‘Cruising European Rivers & Canals’ and ‘River Seine Sojourn’ allow you to venture into the mouth of the Elbe River, the Seine and the Nordzeekanaal in the Netherlands. Departing from ports such as Dover, Newcastle and Southampton, these journeys are perfect for those who don’t want to fly but still want to experience what a river cruise is like.

Crystal Cruises

Crystal Serenity

In the reverse to Viking, Crystal Cruises has recently launched river vessels to sit alongside its fleet of ocean ships. With inland and coastal bodies of water now covered, they have announced a series of Crystal Exclusive Journeys that will combine the two. The itineraries for these either use a dual ocean and river port, such as Amsterdam, or provide a direct flight from the final port of your river cruise to the departure point of your ocean cruise. This means that a seven-day sailing along the Danube could easily be followed by a romantic cruise along the coast of Croatia – the possibilities are endless.

If you would like to know more about combining ocean and river cruises in any of the ways mentioned here, our team can talk you through your options. Call us on 0808 252 0099 or click here to submit an online enquiry.

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