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Do River Cruises Have Swimming Pools?

Enjoy relaxing swimming pools on river cruise ships, adding a splash of comfort and enjoyment to your travel.

By Cruise Booking Team

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River cruising, usually associated with serenity and closeness, has recently undergone a slow and careful change. River ships have traditionally been characterized by their small size and concentration on maneuvering through narrow waterways. Still, they increasingly use an aquatic version of luxury to help improve the cruising experience.

Do Any River Cruise Ships Have Swimming Pools?

The Unique Design of River Ships

River Cruise ships are specially made to offer a different kind of cruising experience than their ocean-going counterparts. These ships, engineered to sail beneath low arches and through confined locks, emphasize limited linear and vertical dimensions. River ships are typically four decks high, with an upper sun deck and 2-3 lower decks that house staterooms and public areas, providing an intimate environment for 100-200 guests. Due to the lack of grand theaters and large entertainment centers, river cruising differs significantly from its sea version, providing a more laid-back and intimate ambiance.

The Pinnacle of Relaxation: Pools on River Cruises

Ocean cruises flaunt enormous pools, water parks, and luxury water experiences; however, river cruises are far more subtle in their approach. Seeing the appeal of water-related facilities, some river cruise providers have added swimming pools in a more modest form to enhance the quality of onboard life. Unlike the vast puddles in ocean liners, the ones in river cruises are only for relaxing dips and not for serious swimming sessions.

The Evolution of River Cruise Pools

In history, river ships paid attention to creating a comfortable and intimate environment where swimming pools were considered a luxury that exceeded the limitations of their design. Some river cruise operators are responding to the changing preferences of travelers to adapt their offerings based on the limited space available. A well-known one is Emerald Waterways' newest star-ships, which boast an indoor heated pool on Deck 3 with a sliding roof.

Emerald Waterways' Innovation

Emerald Waterways, a pioneer in river cruise innovations, has ventured into uncharted territory by including swimming pools in its ship designs. Their latest ship's indoor pool on Deck 3 represents a marvel of creative engineering, given the limited room to work with. Besides cooling off the gentlemen, this pool is unique as it becomes an entertainment area for the passengers. At the touch of a button, the pool floor turns the area into a movie hall. This dual-purpose area adds a unique dimension to the river cruise experience by smoothly integrating recreation and entertainment.

Variety in Aquatic Amenities

While some river ships have swimming pools, it must be said that not all ships have such facilities. Some prefer warm whirlpools or jacuzzis, which offer a more soothing and healing aquatic experience. River cruise operators can cater to different passenger preferences with the options available for onboard water amenities. These pools, or whirlpools, are also relatively small, but that doesn't diminish their charm. They are ideal for relaxation after a calming soak while one sails along beautiful river sceneries.

The Intimate Setting: Luxurious Aquatic Music Trade-off

First, while river cruises adopt the aquatic elements, it's also essential to recognize the compromise – no expansive pools and water-based attractions. In contrast to ocean cruises with huge swimming areas and water slides, river cruises concentrate on a cozy environment and peace. Outside the ship, the focus remains on the natural beauty – panoramas of riverbanks and charming villages are replacing the vast ocean vistas.

Related: Check Out Our Tips & Ideas for River Cruising


In the increasingly complex world of river cruising, the feature of pools represents a new direction to more sophisticated onboard activities. The innovative designs by companies such as Emerald Waterways prove the industry's resolve to fit into changing tastes and yet continue to preserve the glamor of river cruising. Whether a ship offers a small pool, a cozy whirlpool, or a plan with traditional water, the essence of river cruises lies in that intimate environment and the immersive relationship with the landscapes they travel. With travelers eager to explore the unique and luxurious experiences, swimming pools on river cruises open yet another dimension of charm to these tranquil voyages.

Tags: cruise lines

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