Feature Friday: All about Small Ship Ocean Cruising

Have you ever considered a small ship ocean cruise? If not, you might be missing out!

What’s considered Small?

6-999 guests counts as a small ocean cruise ship.

What’s Different about Small Ship Cruising?

Where they Can Sail: One major difference between larger and small ship cruising is where they can sail. Large ships require large ports with deep waters, but smaller ships can go to smaller ports where the big ships can’t go.

Amenities: Many small ships offer a watersports platform onboard so you can enjoy the ocean while you are on the ship! You can’t do that with big ships!

Making New Friends: On larger cruise ships, there can be so many people it’s hard to get to know anyone unless they are at your dining table, but on small ships, with just a few hundred on board or less, you might make some new great friends that you will travel with after meeting and getting to know them!

Ships go right in the heart of the Destination: Since you’ve come to see it, really see it! Ships smaller can port closer to the destination!

Easier and Breezier: Imagine cruising with no long lines to embark (board) or disembark the ship – this is another big perk of small ships! Also if you need to go to your stateroom for something, it’s a short walk! Captains have the option to get closer to see something unique in the sea or do something special that’s not on the itinerary – because he or she can!

Which Cruise Lines Have Small Ships?

There are many, and here’s some details about some of the best known small ships and their sizes and/or specialties:

Azamara’s Ship Quest, photo courtesy of Azamara

Azamara – Boutique Luxury ships carry 690-704 guests
Celebrity – 3 Galapagos only ships range in size for 16-100 guests
Crystal – Small ship Esprit carries just 62 guests in butlered, luxe style
Emerald – their 50 stateroom ship sails the Adriatic, Med, & Red seas & is modeled after Emerald’s river cruise experiences
Hurtigruten – specializing in polar expeditions for a broad range of ship sizes, as they have 16 ships and are equipped with the best to see nature!
Lindblad Expeditions – working with National Geographic with 10 ships taking 48-148 guests to locations worldwide.
Oceania – Worldwide cruises for foodies which carry up to 684 guests.
Paul Gauguin – French Polynesia’s perfect all-inclusive cruise for 332 guests
Ponant – if you like all things french, they are for you & range 32-264 guests
Quark Expeditions – specializing in the polar regions for up to 128 guests.
Scenic – Sailing All inclusively to Antarctica, the Arctic, South America, and the Baltic for up to 228 guests, the Scenic Eclipse is a great luxury option featuring 2 onboard helicopters and a submarine!
Seabourn – 132 all balcony ocean facing suites on Venture to 300 suites on others.
Silversea – with 4 ships in their expedition ships, sailing all inclusively for 100-274 guests.
Star Clippers – for ships with wind sails ranging from 170-230 guests
Tauck –
Uncruise Adventures – offers 22-90 guests a sailing in unique locations like Alaska, Costa Rica, Panama, West coast US, Galapagos, British Columbia, and the Mexico Sea of Cortez.
Viking – all of Viking’s ocean fleet are 930-guest ships and travel worldwide
Windstar – offering ships of 148-342 guests, expect a personal experience with Windstar.

Examples of Where You can Sail on a Small Ocean Cruise Ship or Cruise Tour

Paul Gauguin’s Cook Islands & Society Islands

This South Pacific Vessel has a exit and play watersports platform courtesy of Paul Gauguin Cruises

On this stunning South Pacific journey, this region’s amazing diversity of scenery is front & center. Explore the isle of Huahine, known for its lush rainforests. Next, experience the unique splendor of the Cook Islands. Arid Aitutaki is quite flat – so flat that you can spot the ocean from nearly any point on the island, vastly different from its sister island Rarotonga’s jagged peaks & low valleys. Rarotonga’s slopes of red earth and sparkling turquoise lagoon remind us of the ideal paradise, which is what the island was called by its first explorers from Europe. Finally, come back to the Society Islands for several days in stunning Bora Bora, Taha’a, Moorea, & Papeete!

Silversea 14 Day Japan & South Korea Cruise

Silversea Muse travels many journeys throughout Alaska and Japan, including a 14-day itinerary round trip from Osaka, and enjoying experiences like a volcanic sand bath in Kagoshima (Kyushu Island), and visiting Nagasaki (Japan), Busan (South Korea), Kanazawa (Japan), Niigata (Japan), Akita (Japan), Aomori (Japan), Hakodate (Hokkaido in Japan), and Tokyo (Japan) – most ports offering 9-11 excrusion options! You can even add a 2 day pre or post in Kyoto!

Silver Muse photo courtesy of Silversea Cruise Line

Tauck’s 8 Day Iceland Cruise

Tauck’s Small Ship cruises offer some really great locations, like Iceland, Peru, Galapagos, St. Petersburg & Baltic Sea, & Antarctica to name just a few!

Itinerary map courtesy of Tauck Cruises

Tauck’s 8 Day Iceland Cruise takes you in the summertime from Reykjavik to Grímsey Island, Grundarfjordur, Isafjordur, Westman Islands, Akureyri. Visit Fishing villages, the Arctic Circle, Akureyri and the Godafoss, Isafjordur, Vigur, & island life, Heimaey & ‘islands of western men’, as well as Iceland’s “Golden Circle”, the Althing & the blue lagoon!

Windstar Cruises’ Holy Lands & Petra Cruise Tour

Port at Haifa photo courtesy of Windstar Cruises

Sail Athens to Amman on this long-range cruise from Greek temples to Holy Land highlights and Petra. Visit Mykonos, Greece, and when you wake, you’ll see the gorgeous harbor! After this your cruise stops at Heraklion, Greece, the birthplace of El Greco and see Knossos Palace! Known as the island of Roses, days 4-5 are here, which was home to the legendary Colossus (1 of 7 wonders of the ancient world), followed by a visit to Limassol, Cyprus, where you can see Limassol Castle used as a prison alongside historical artifacts from ancient times. After this, you’ll visit Ashdod, which is one of the oldest cities in the world, where Jonah is believed to be buried and is the gateway to the Holy Land. Next you’ll go to Haifa, Israel, which has so many interesting sites, like Elijah’s cave, and many other religious sites. On this cruise tour, you’ll then disembark the ship for desert adventures at Wadi Rum! Head out on 4x4s in the desert, ride a camel, and rejoin your ship back in Haifa. Next you’ll visit Petra with its incredible sandstone walls, and after this, enjoy visiting Mount Nebo, Madaba, & Petra followed the next day with Amman & the Dead sea, where you’ll enjoy a chance to float in the waters! What a journey!

Summing Up Small Ship Cruising

Imagine this: cruising the world on a small ship & sharing your journey with anywhere from 6 to less than 1,000 guests. Small ship cruises are offered across the world with many different cruise lines, following journeys that tend to include visits to both larger as well as more intimate ports; ports that larger ships simply cannot get into.

Small ship cruises are offered by a variety of cruise lines, with a range of itineraries as well as budgets. The experience on the ship itself is much more personal & small ships make it easier to know the ship, your fellow travelers and staff.

The daily vibe is quite different on a small ship, and in a good way! Remember: no long lines for getting on and off the ship, and smaller ship itineraries usually focus more on the destinations with special things like onboard discussions by experts or naturalists & absolutely unique excursions! Dining is a more personal affair where you can meet up for cocktails and then enjoy gourmet meals, often in a single seating or even at a time of your own choosing.

Whether you think you’d prefer the personal nature and serenity of a smaller ship, a ship within a ship (big ship with exclusive areas) or the traditional big ship experience, Easy Breezy Journeys is ready to help you plan it and get your preferred experience to make the most of your vacation! Simply reach out by clicking HERE to fill out a quick questionnaire to get started!

Where in the world would you like to journey?
Photo courtesy of Azamara Cruise Line

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