The massive size of sea going cruise ships keeps their prices at an affordable level. When you have 3000-4000 beds to fill, well, you cut deals. Especially when you know that what people spend once on board is as profitable as how much they spent on their cabin.
A different business model informs river cruises, which are limited in size because of the narrow waterways they traverse. On these, room rates are a much bigger slice of the pie.
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Why would you choose a river cruise rather than an ocean voyage? For several reasons, foremost among them that these sailings go through the heart of Europe, rather than around its edges. For centuries, these rivers were the highways of the continent and the cities and towns that grew up along their banks were places of great wealth and culture. Great universities grew up in these towns, alongside important Cathedrals and splendid palaces. While some sea port cities will have these attractions, not all do.
As well, the food on board these vessels is often thought to be superior
to what you'll find on most sea going ships. Not surprising, as these
vessels can pick up fresh supplies as they sail from town to town. Wine,
too, is included with most meals; its an added cost on the bigger
Cheers to Gate 1 on this terrific offer!