Monday, June 24, 2024

Best Small Ship Cruise Lines

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Expeditionary Cruises To Exotic Locations From The Sea To The Shore

World’s Best Small Ship Cruise Line

The first maritime expeditions date back millennia when explorers in dugout canoes and sailing boats plied the seas to untraveled destinations. While the expeditionary ships you’ll sail aboard with Tauck are modern in every way, the remote ports where you will cast anchor are timeless still. Imagine setting foot on an equatorial beach teeming with wildlife found nowhere else in the world. Or navigating ice floes to stand on the ethereal seventh continent. Come aboard our expeditionary cruises and get ready to check off bucket list experiences other travelers only dream of.

The Best Small Alaskan Cruise Lines

Top of the line naturalist guides, safety, service, guest experience and environmental stewardship are the important criteria we consider when selecting which small ship Alaska cruise lines we represent. We are proud to partner with the top small Alaskan cruise lines around, each committed to showing you Alaska up close, in touch with nature and culture. But each company has their own vibe and focus differentiators that may draw you to one over the other. So, lets learn more about them, shall we? In alphabetical order, heres our list of the best Small Alaskan Cruise Lines and why you may want to cruise with them.

Best Cruise Lines For Luxury

Smaller cruise lines with ships that fit hundreds rather than thousands of guests dominated U.S. News’ luxury rankings list.

  • Viking Ocean Cruises “Gold Award”
  • Seabourn Cruise Line “Silver Award”
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises “Silver Award”
  • Crystal Cruises
  • Viking, a cruise line based in Basel, Switzerland, is no stranger to accolades. It topped U.S. News’ luxury list last year too despite Chairman Torstein Hagen indicating he isn’t a fan of the word.

    “I have outlawed the use of the word ‘luxury’ I think we are elegant, we are understated and hopefully timeless,” he said at a naming celebration for seven new river boats in March 2019, according to cruising website

    Also on the list: Silversea Cruises and Oceania Cruises .

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    Book A Small Cruise Ship Vacation

    Ultimately, our Club Members enjoy small cruise ships because of the intimate and personalized environment. Youll find a welcoming crew there when you need them, ready to take care of your every whim. With award-winning service and inclusive options, youll have everything you need as you sail across the open ocean. Enjoy 5-star gastronomical cuisine, take advantage of the open bar, or spend some welcome time relaxing in your own stateroom. As you explore those less-traveled waterways and beautiful destinations, you will see why so many guests choose our small ship cruises first.

    When youre ready to embark on your voyage, contact your travel professional or view voyages online. Select your itinerary and book now for the SeaDream vacation experience of a lifetime.

    The Best Small Cruise Ships At Sea

    Windstar Named Best Small

    If the only hotel you had ever stayed in was a 2,000-room highrise horror on an overcrowded and overdeveloped Spanish Costa,where you’d had an utterly awful time, and a friend suggested thatnext time you might like to try a small boutique hotel on anunspoilt Caribbean island, would you dismiss it out of hand?Probably not.

    And yet people often tell us that cruising is ‘not for them’having only ever sailed on one of the mainstream mega-ships, wherethey hated the queues, the crowds and the impersonal atmosphere. Ifonly they had spoken to an experienced travel agent such as MundyCruising prior to booking their trip! Small ship cruising is anentirely different mode of travel, and one in which we havespecialised for over 50 years.

    A small ship affords you more privacy, yet allows you to besociable when you want to you can visit smaller ports that arewell off the beaten track and you will receive a level of personalservice that you just wouldn’t get on a larger vessel. From stylishyachts to handsome sailing ships, we’ve put together this shortguide to 9 of the best small cruise ships:

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    What’s The Best Small Ship Cruise For You

    If you see the ship as transportation, as opposed to the main attraction, then a small-ship cruise might be in your future. You have to do your homework, though otherwise, you might end up on Judith Reaves’ Turkish fishing boat.

    The easiest way to find a reputable operator is by consulting a qualified travel advisor. But if you want to book it yourself, prepare to do your research.

    Top Myanmar Small Ship Cruise

    Meta IV

    Bathrooms: 4

    Price Range: from 358/day

    Step aboard a 25m sailboat built from teak wood to travel the seas of Myanmar and discover all thats waiting for you.

    The Meta IV can take up to eight passengers in four cabins, making it a small, intimate experience. This is a great ship to get to know fellow travelers and share life-changing experiences. On the Meta IV, youll enjoy top-notch dining with fresh seafood and local cuisine.

    The ship has beautiful accommodations including an outdoor dining area, a sun deck, and air-conditioned wooden cabins. When not exploring the surrounding areas off the boat, soak in the sun or enjoy a clear night sky filled with stars.

    Trips Offered:

    Choose from a three or five-night trip that takes you around the Mergui Archipelago and experience lands that have barely been touched. Youll get to visit several islands and relax on the beach, explore natural parks that are filled with diverse wildlife, and spend time with the Moken people to learn about their customs, culture, and way of being.

    The price you pay for a Meta IV includes tons of added benefits like a beach BBQ, fishing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and all land excursions. Not to mention a guide to take you snorkeling in those pristine waters.

    If youre looking for an all-inclusive adventure at a good value with tons of activities and unique experiences, this is the trip for you.

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    Small Ship Cruises Can Be A Real Adventure

    What’s the allure of small ship cruises? To find out, talk to Gerri Hether, who recently sailed on the new Viking from New York to Toronto via the St. Lawrence Seaway. The ship accommodates 383 guests and avoids the stereotypical “churches and castles” excursions, she says.

    “It is designed for scientific excursions and has two submarines, two special boats and four zodiacs,” she says. “Special cold weather and wet gear is provided for guests.”

    But the onboard experience is also completely different. She says the was roomier than an oceangoing cruise ship, with spacious accommodations and floor-to-ceiling windows instead of tiny portholes.

    But the adventure wasn’t without its risks.

    “We had to provide a specific amount of medical insurance and have written medical clearance, which was reviewed and approved by Viking no less than 45 days before the cruise,” she says.

    Now that’s some adventure.

    Best Small Ship Cruise Destinations

    Windstar Cruises Best Small Ship Cruise

    No matter which destination or boat you choose, youre sure to have an unbelievable experience on a small ship cruise. Explore remote spots, meet and connect with a small group of people, and enjoy a daily sea breeze. Youre sure to have a trip unlike any other.

    Here are some of the best small ship cruise destinations that should be on your travel bucket list.

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    Best Cruise Lines In The Caribbean

  • Disney Cruise Line “Gold Award”
  • Celebrity Cruises “Silver Award”
  • Seabourn Cruise Line “Silver Award”
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Crystal Cruises
  • It’s a clean sweep for Disney in this category too. Disney has been named the top cruise line in the Caribbean for the past eight years, according to U.S. News & World Report.

    Living up to its name, the Miami-based Celebrity Cruises partners with well-known names in the arts and entertainment industry. It’s newest ship, Celebrity Beyond, has Gwyneth Paltrow as its “wellbeing advisor” and a restaurant created by Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud, according to its website.

    Also on this list: Regent Seven Seas Cruises , Holland America Line , Carnival Cruise Line , Norwegian Cruise Line , Oceania Cruises , Princess Cruises and MSC Cruises .

    Alaska Cruises Small Ships Versus Big Ships

    Some people automatically think that bigger is better. At small ship cruiselines, they think differently. They believe that close is better than far awaythat personal is better than mass producedthat a few like-minded friends are better than thousands of strangers. No waiting in line. No trying to find a window seat. No crowds.

    Thats why each of their ships only hold around 100 guests, and why almost all of their cabins face outside with large windows or portholes. Thats why they serve delicious informal meals in comfortable dining rooms where you can sit wherever and with whomever you like.

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    Large Ship Line #: P& O Cruises

    The United Kingdoms premier cruise lineand the worlds oldest, having commenced passenger operations in 1837P& O sails Europe, North America, and the Caribbean with a crowd made up primarily of British nationals. As such, prepare for the ships amenities to have a British bent . Three of the fleets six current ships fall into the large category, while its two adults-only ships, MS Aurora and MS Arcadia, are medium-sized. P& Os newest ship, MS Iona is a mega-ship, as will be her sister, MS Arvia, due to sail in 2022.

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    Small Ship Line #: Quasar Expeditions

    2020 Best Small Ship Cruise Line

    The first luxury line to sail the Galápagos, Quasar Expeditions is best known for its in-depth trips aboard its two intimate ships that carry fewer than 32 passengers each. Yet note the street cred of said ships: One of the two, the Grace, is the former yacht of Princess Grace of Monaco. The other, the Evolution, will allow you to retrace Darwins footsteps in the Galápagos. Book the Baltra Island itinerary, where youll work your way from San Cristóbal Island to Baltra, and explore all the central and southern islands of the archipelago in between.

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    What Are The Best Cabins On Cruise Ships

    In a concise manner, the best luxury cruise cabins are to be found on Regent Seven Seas and NCL ships, while the cheapest cruise cabins are offered by all HAL and Carnival ships . NCL is well appreciated for offering a great variety of staterooms. NCL offers even garden and courtyard suites, and some of the best family cruise suites at sea featuring a separate living and dining area and exclusive access to a private courtyard with a pool and Jacuzzi. The Regent Seven Seas line is praised for its all-outside all-suite ships and best luxury.

    The largest and absolutely affordable to most cheap cruise cabins are always the deal on Carnival ships. The Carnivals standard cabins are the industrys largest and very well-equipped . As for Holland America cabins, they are 25% larger than those of other premium brands.

    Carnival, Disney, and Royal Caribbean are well known for having more than decent interior cabins the Carnivals being most spacious, and those of Disney most family-friendly. The Disney Deluxe Inside Stateroom accommodates 4 persons with a convertible sofa and a pull-down bed and also features a split bath. The Royal Caribbean ships of Freedom and Voyager class are honored for their unique inside cabins with windows looking out on the Royal Promenade .

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    Origin Theory & Evolve

    The 20-guest identical sister ships Origin, Theory & Evolve offer small exploration groups and 8-day itineraries, the ideal way to explore the Galapagos as you see a wider range of islands and species. Inside, they offer large glass windows and expansive public areas as they cruise these iconic islands with a modern style. These new and efficient ships fit perfectly in AdventureSmiths ideals as they boast a sustainable design while offering a comfortable and classy experience for guests.

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    Small Ship Line #: Crystal Yacht Cruises

    In early 2015, Crystal brought a yacht into its fleet for the first time, and following its success, the cruise line decided to custom-build a polar-class expedition megayacht. The ultra-luxe Crystal Endeavor, which sails to remote locations like the Arctic and the Antarctic, as well as urban ports around the world, launched in 2021, and can carry up to 200 passengers.

    Best Cruise Lines For Families

    Don’t Put a Pause on Your Travel | UnCruise Adventures

    The top-ranking cruises for families for 2022 are:

  • Disney Cruise Line “Gold Award”
  • Royal Caribbean International “Silver Award”
  • Carnival Cruise Line “Silver Award”
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Disney dominates the family cruise category, as it has every year since U.S. News started ranking cruises in 2013.

    The company has five ships: Magic, Wonder, Dream, Fantasy and its latest, Disney Wish, which is scheduled to launch in summer 2022. The ship is also set to introduce Disney’s first “attraction at sea” 760 feet of water slide tubes with Mickey Mouse-themed music, lighting and special effects.

    Also on the list: Costa Cruises .

    Also Check: Where Do Celebrity Cruises Sail From

    Advantages Of Small Ship Cruising

    Enjoying a small ship cruise has two main advantages the first is that many cruise enthusiasts believe that cruising on a small ship cruise line offers a greater level of intimacy that larger vessels cannot replicate. Secondly, the public spaces on small ships are generally more relaxed, and theres often a greater sense of camaraderie between passengers and the ships crew.

    The second advantage of choosing a small ship cruise is that they offer a wider variety of ports on their itineraries. In addition, due to their size, small ships can easily navigate their way into remote ports of call that are generally inaccessible to larger vessels. For this reason, many cruisers tend to prefer small ship cruises when wanting to explore destinations such as Alaska or the Galapagos Islands.

    The Definition Of A Small Ship

    The Definition of what constitutes a small cruise ship is the subject of some debate. Some believe that anything over 200 guests is too big. Others would argue that any ship offering a capacity for fewer than 1,000 guests is small. At The Cruise Line, we generally recommend that a small ship is a vessel with a total of no more than 600 guests.

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    Where Can You Sail On A Small Ship Cruise

    One advantage of smaller cruise ships is that due to their size, they are able to slip into some of the most remote ports of call. On-board the world’s best small luxury cruise ships, you can expect to experience some of the worlds most remote islands, hidden harbours and secluded coves. Youll have access to many of the more elite destinations too, including the treasures of the Mediterranean, Asia and elsewhere, offering you the chance to delve into fascinating cultures or simply enjoy the spectacular unspoiled scenery. Alternatively, small ship cruises from Southampton offer a convenient way to start your luxury cruise holiday.

    Cruising On The Comeback

    Coral Expeditions Cruises 2021, 2022

    Though mass Covid-19 outbreaks early in the pandemic exposed health concerns surrounding cruising, a new survey indicates travelers may not abandon ship travel after all.

    Before the pandemic, 2% of prior cruisers said they wouldn’t cruise again, while as of August 2021, 4% said the same, according to an ongoing survey conducted by U.S. News & Report.

    The pandemic hasn’t scared off non-cruisers either. Pre-pandemic, 62% of people who had never cruised indicated they wanted to try it. Now, 61% of people say the same.

    Sentiments may be softening with time too. Before the pandemic, about 10% of people that had never cruised said they “never” would. According to the survey, this number rose to 17% in June 2021, but fell to 14% by August.

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    Compare Cruise Lines To Alaska

    When you start to compare cruise lines to Alaska, the first thing you should understand is that there is a big difference between the big ship cruise lines like Disney and Carnival and these small cruise lines to Alaska.

    The differences come in many forms depending on which Alaska cruise lines you are comparing. But in general, a small ship Alaska cruise lines have:

    • More local knowledge and access
    • Smaller, more manageable fleet sizes
    • More local staff and experts on board
    • The ability to source and serve local food

    If you take a small ship cruise line to Alaska, your company might be Alaskan-owned instead of part of an internationally based and staffed corporation. The fish served aboard may be freshly caught that day thanks to the captains connections and the logistics of serving a smaller passenger count. And your guides are more likely to be immersed and invested in Alaska since many small Alaskan cruise lines have office staff based right in Alaskan ports of call.

    Among the small cruise lines to Alaska, there are further comparisons. Some are more active than others with itineraries designed for maximum activity and wilderness, with the adventure gear onboard to take advantage of it all. Some are more educational, with staffing focused on the top experts in their fields. And others take advantage of their Native roots and access to explore Alaskan history and indigenous culture via rarely visited small port towns.

    Which Small Ship Alaska Cruise Lines Do We Recommend

    Each of the small Alaskan cruise lines we represent is a great choice. We have personally vetted, and hand selected each one. Our partners have become family, and honestly, choosing one over the other would be like choosing your our favorite sibling. We consider ourselves matchmakers. Our job is to get to know our clients intimately, and by using honest, unbiased information, match you with the best Alaskan cruise line based on your interests, ability and budget. We are confident your dream Alaska cruise line is listed above, and we cant wait for you to get aboard and see why we love them.

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