Thursday, March 17, 2016

Cruise Boat or Jet Boat?

The first time that I heard the term "jet boat cruise", I immediately thought that it was probably a high speed boat jetting up the Zambezi River, splashing lots of water and making noise for the animals and people on the bigger more silent cruise boats along the way - and I’m sure I’m not the only one. The Jet boats that operate in Victoria Falls are certainly smaller than the big cruise boats, and use jet propellers, but they don’t make as much noise as I imagined. Much like the river cruise boats, jet boats move slowly on the river and the cruises are relaxed. So what is the difference?

The Darter Jet boat on the Zambezi River

The Zambezi River has islands and channels in some parts, and some of these places are not on the river cruise boat routes. The jet boats, however, will take you up some channels and go further upstream in search of wildlife.

Boat sizes
Jet boats are typically small, either a 16 or 7 seater for private trips, while the cruise vessels can accommodate anywhere from around 14 to over 100 people. There are smaller cruise boats available for private hire. The jet boat cruise will certainly give a sense of exclusivity, even though they may not be privately hired, while the large boats will not give you the same feeling.

The range of services and offerings during river cruises are vast. Some cruise companies offer 5-star service with luxury seating, gourmet snacks and canap├ęs, with premier beverages and cocktails. Others offer basic snacks or eats, as well as local drinks and beers. On the jet boat, clients will be provided with a choice of local and imported drinks from 5 different spirits, 4 different beers, red and white wine and varied soft drinks, with snacks.

As it is not a luxury cruise, the jet boat cruise will cost you US$55 (2016 price), while the normal river cruises will run slightly cheaper. The luxury sunset cruises, however, will cost between US$55 and US$110 depending on meals offered and the cruise company.

The following was published about the jet boat cruise:

“The term jet boat conjures up visions of being hurtled around at very high speeds and getting thoroughly wet, this couldn't be further from the experience you get on this cruise which is more like a gentle safari, meandering between the islands taking in the flora and fauna on the Zambezi River above Victoria Falls. Most importantly this cruise gets away from the myriad other cruise boats and it gets you closer to the Falls themselves giving you a marvellous opportunity to see the rising column of spray while enjoying a sundowner. Priced at just US$10 more than a standard sunset cruise, this should be a winner.” – Tony Peel

Which would you opt for? Let us know in the comments below.

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