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sunset and side of ship along the Mekong River
Anna K Mueller/Shutterstock

Cruise Expert Shares Her Favorite River Cruise Benefits

Sailing along the Mekong River, SmarterTravel’s Christine Sarkis took some time to sit down with Gina Kramer, an editor at our sister-site Cruise Critic to discuss the benefits of river cruises. Aboard the new Avalon Saigon, they talked about what it’s like travel through Vietnam and Cambodia by river cruise and outlined three notable benefits.

For more details about each reason, take a few minutes to watch the video. Even if you’re the sort of person who doesn’t think they enjoy would enjoy cruising, you just may come away with an urge to set sail.

River Cruise Benefits

River Cruise Ships Are Smaller Ships: Whereas ocean cruise vessels can house thousands, river cruise ships top out at hundreds—and are often significantly smaller. For instance, the Avalon Saigon has room for just 36 guests. A smaller ship means that passengers can explore smaller places where larger ships could never go. And that offers the chance to forge a deeper connections with locals.

There’s a Smaller, More Intimate Feel Onboard: The small-ship environment is ideal for people who want to enjoy a cruise but who are intimidated by larger ships or put off by crowds. This more intimate atmosphere feels relaxed, fosters friendships, and offers a great passenger-to-crew ratio.

River Cruises Tend to Be More Inclusive: Kramer notes that anyone who has gone on a mainstream ocean-going cruise line has likely felt at least a little nickel-and-dimed by the a la carte pricing model of shore excursions, drinks, Wi-Fi, and special meals. Onboard river cruises, in contrast, most of what you do—from shore excursions to most drinks—is included in the cruise fare.

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Christine Sarkis visited Vietnam and Cambodia as a guest of Avalon River Cruises. Follow her on Twitter @ChristineSarkis and Instagram @postcartography for more advice about making every vacation the best vacation.

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