A Look at Small Cruise Ships
Whether you are planning your first cruise, your fifth or your fiftieth, your choice of ship – including the size of the ship – will determine a lot about your vacation experience. Cruise ships of any size produce remarkable vacations, but small ships have some distinctive characteristics.
Small cruise ships generally offer a more intimate cruise experience than their larger cousins: you’ll be on board with a few hundred, rather than a few thousand, other guests. This will provide more opportunity for you to get to know your fellow passengers, which can be a delightful part of cruise travel.
Small ships don’t have the space for numerous dining venues, large-scale entertainment, enormous sports decks or dedicated children’s areas. However, the onboard dining and accommodations will be top-notch: most small ships tend toward the gourmet and the luxurious. The ratio of crew to passengers is usually quite high on smaller ships, so the level of service will be exceptional as well.
The most significant advantage of small-ship cruising may lie in the choice of destinations and ports. Small ships are able to glide into spaces where large cruise ships can’t go: your ship might sail further into a narrow fjord, dock at a tiny island off a distant coast, or head up the mouth of a river to reach a historic town.
Picture yourself on deck as you dock in Phuket, Thailand, ready to tour Buddhist temples and shop for Thai silks and gemstones; in Cagliari, Sardinia, where the emerald-green Mediterranean Sea meets the Costa Smeralda; or at the El Chato Reserve on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos, where you can see the world-famous giant tortoises in their natural habitat.
Small cruise ships come in a surprising variety of styles. Some have the familiar ocean-liner look – just on a smaller scale – but there are also sleek yachts, masted schooners with white sails, and rugged expedition ships equipped to withstand the perils of rocky shorelines or ice (don’t let a rugged exterior fool you, you’re likely to find upscale amenities and high-end cuisine on board).
Another type of small ship is designed specifically for travel along the world’s most storied rivers, including those in Europe, Asia and Africa. Narrow and low enough to pass under antique bridges, these river-specific ships can be quite luxurious in their own right, with balconies, pools and sun decks.
To find out more about the exotic places that small cruise ships can take you, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.