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It’s often said that river cruising is one of the fastest growing cruising sectors.

In fact, the sector is growing so fast it almost feels as though there’s a new river vessel launching every other day.

Last month alone four lines launched around 20 new river ships.

And although this is great for the industry, consumers can often find it difficult to distinguish the benefits of travelling on one river ship over another – this is because unlike ocean vessels, they aren’t fitted with obvious features like ice skating rinks.

When it comes to river cruising, it’s the little things that make that big difference.

That’s why we compiled a list of interest things we found on river cruise ships to help you make your choice.

Uniworld’s S.S Catherine

Authentic antique furniture, design and service – that’s the appeal of Uniworld’s newest six-star river ship, S.S. Catherine.

She is incredibly European, filled with drapes and huge vases of flowers. Her interior is reminiscent of a Viennese country house and you can almost hear the music off Johan Strauss playing as you stroll through her halls – all that’s missing is a ballroom.

Avalon Suite Ships

Club Lounge

When you’re cruising along European waters, it’s all about the view – and that’s what Avalon Waterways took into account when designing its Suite Ships.

The line’s slogan, ‘They started with walls. We started with windows’, perfectly sums up the appeal of this class of river ship.

Suite Ships have the largest standard window in river cruising, measuring 30 percent larger than other river cruise vessels.

The line has also created public spaces to offer floor-to-ceiling in various sections of the ship.

You can watch as the ship sails away from your last port of call in the ‘Club Lounge’ – a rear-facing lounges; or the Panorama Lounge at the front of the ship; or grab a bite to eat and enjoy a 360 view at the Sky Bistro.

The line will have eight Suite Ships when Avalon Illumination launches in June this year.

Emerald Sky

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Multipurpose space on board Emerald Sky turns the pool into an outdoor cinema. Image: Evergreen

Evergreen took a step toward ocean cruising when it announced its Star Ships would have transportable multi-purpose space on board.

The space, is a 24-square metre swimming pool with a retractable roof that allows guests to swim regardless of the weather.

Sounds simple?

Well it also has a platform, which covers the pool at night to transform the space into an outdoor cinema.

The transformable swimming pool is so far available on Emerald Sky, which was launched last month. A second vessel is scheduled to launch next week.

Viking Longships

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Indoor/outdoor dining creates a casual space with a view. Image: Viking Cruises

Last month Viking Cruises broke its own record when it inaugurated 16 of its newest 190-passenger Viking Longships over 24-hours.

They’re all identical ships and they’re all designed to offer a more relaxing European experience.

They have some great features such as an innovative corridor design which allows for full sized state rooms combined with full sized verandas and the Aquavit terrace which is an indoor/outdoor area that allows for viewing, relaxing and casual dining.

Tauck’s exclusives

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Image: arazu/Shutterstock

In river cruising, the vessel isn’t always the destination, which is why Tauck ensures its itineraries are filled with rare and exclusive visits.

For example, on a Danube cruise guests will receive a royal welcoming reception, tour and dinner at the 16th century Lobkowicz Palace at Prague Castle.

They’ll also get the chance to take a rare private tour of the grand libraries of Strahov Monastery and have a private Imperial Evening at a palace in Vienna featuring dinner and Viennese performers.

What your favourite/unique thing about river cruising? Let us know by leaving a comment below.