Five of the Best Small Cruise Ships

Five of the Best Small Cruise Ships

If you’re considering a cruise holiday but are not enticed by the large, bustling cruise liners, consider the charm and exclusivity of small-ship cruises. Holidays on these vessels offer a more refined and intimate atmosphere, perfect if you want to escape the crowds, connect closely with travel destinations and enjoy a more personalised experience.

In this blog, we’ll guide you through the unique benefits of small cruise ship holidays and highlight five of the best small cruise ships that could be the setting for your next spectacular holiday.

How Many Passengers Does a Small Cruise Ship Have?

A small cruise ship typically accommodates less than 1,000 guests. This smaller scale still offers ample amenities while enabling a more individualised service, quicker embarkation and disembarkation, and a more immersive experience.

What Are the Benefits of Small-Ship Cruises?

Choosing a small-ship cruise means enjoying a closer-knit community atmosphere, where crew and guests often learn each other’s names. The service is attentive and personalised, and with fewer guests on board, you can enjoy more space and privacy. 

Small ships tend to offer unique itineraries, as they often have better access to smaller ports, where shallow waters and environmental restrictions may prevent larger vessels from docking. These itineraries also usually provide culturally rich experiences, giving you a deeper connection to the destinations visited.

Are Smaller Cruise Ships More Expensive?

Yes, smaller cruise ships are typically more expensive than larger ones. However, they represent great value for money when you consider what’s included.

For example, there’s the higher crew-to-guest ratio of small cruise ships and exclusive experiences in less crowded ports. Furthermore, many small cruise ships operate on an all-inclusive basis, covering meals, drinks, and, sometimes, excursions. 

These factors justify the higher price because, as a cruise guest, you enjoy more intimate, luxurious, and exceptional experiences. Therefore, despite the higher initial cost, the value gained from your holiday makes small cruise ships affordable and the extra expense worthwhile.

Are Small Cruise Ships Adults-Only?

While most small cruise ships allow families, the nature of their amenities, services, and itineraries are primarily tailored towards an adult audience. As these ships generally lack extensive child-focused activities or facilities found on larger cruise ships, you will see few younger children onboard. 

Therefore, if you’re seeking small cruise ships for adults only, these vessels typify that holiday style. You’ll find an environment that encourages relaxation, culturally enriching experiences and exploration in a more sophisticated and serene setting. 

Discover Our Top Five Best Small Cruise Ships

From adventurous expeditions in remote corners of the globe to tranquil voyages through the world’s most picturesque waters, small cruise ships provide the perfect setting for your next cruise holiday. Here are our five best small ships to consider for your next travel adventure.

1. Silver Nova – Ideal for Small-Ship Alaska Cruises

Silver Nova is an exceptional choice for those looking to explore Alaska’s breathtaking landscapes in a manner that is both indulgent and environmentally responsible. As Silversea‘s newest addition, the ship boasts revolutionary eco-friendly operations and an asymmetrical design that enhances your connection with the surroundings through expansive outdoor panoramas and uninterrupted vistas. 

Silver Nova redefines luxurious exploration with a generous space-to-guest ratio of 75 GRT (gross registered tonnage) per guest and sumptuous suites designed to provide unparalleled comfort and elegance at sea. With a variety of onboard amenities, including a wide selection of dining venues and bars, you can enjoy world-class cuisine and leisure in between your excursions to the Alaskan wilderness.

2. Celebrity Flora – A Luxury Mega-Yacht for the Galapagos

Celebrity Flora is a mega-yacht that offers a luxurious and intimate onboard experience tailored to explore the Galapagos Islands. Designed specifically for this unique environment, Celebrity Flora is an all-suite ship accommodating just 100 guests. All its spacious suites and recreational areas are outward-facing to maximise your experience of this incredible destination. 

Celebrity Flora ship emphasises sustainability with features like a dynamic positioning system to protect the seabed and solar power supplementation. You’ll also benefit from a professional Galapagos guide for your excursions, which can include island landings, wildlife viewing, panga rides, kayaking or snorkelling. Onboard, you can also discover more about the night sky with an astronomical tour from Celebrity Flora’s unique Stargazing platform. 

3. Seven Seas Splendor – The Pinnacle of Luxury Cruising

Seven Seas Splendor showcases attention to perfection and beauty in its design. The ship features Italian marble detailing, exquisite dining venues, and spacious lounges. Its all-suite, all-balcony accommodations epitomise luxury, with the ultimate indulgence found in its Regent Suite, spanning over 4,000 square feet. Offering a wide range of onboard activities and daytime and evening entertainment, Seven Seas Splendor is designed to ensure every moment onboard is as enriching as your time ashore.

If you are interested in exploring cruise holidays closer to home, particularly small cruise ship UK itineraries, Seven Seas Splendor has some excellent options. With small-ship cruises from Southampton, Seven Seas Splendor currently offers itineraries that explore the British Isles and Iceland from Southampton, as well as a range of other enticing destinations starting elsewhere in Europe.

4. Seabourn Venture – Where Ultra-Luxury Meets Expeditions

 The Seabourn Venture is a state-of-the-art expedition ship that embodies luxury and adventure. Launched in July 2022, this vessel is equipped to navigate some of the planet’s most remote destinations. Designed with 132 all-veranda, all-ocean-front suites, Seabourn Venture offers an indulgent, intimate atmosphere for up to 264 guests.

Key features of the Seabourn Venture include two custom-built submarines that provide unforgettable views of the underwater world and 24 Zodiacs that allow all guests to participate simultaneously in excursions, ensuring an immersive experience. The ship is built to PC6 Polar Class standards, enabling it to operate in polar regions during summer and autumn, perfectly blending adventure with splendour and comfort for these cruise experiences.

5. Azamara Journey – The Magnificence of Small-Ship Mediterranean Cruises 

The Azamara Journey offers an intimate, boutique, small-ship cruise experience. Specially designed to access smaller harbours and secluded locales that larger ships cannot, it is ideal for small-ship Mediterranean cruises. Equally, if you are seeking Greek Island cruises on small ships, Azamara Journey offers some stunning itineraries. 

Onboard the Azamara Journey, you’ll discover an atmosphere akin to an exclusive hotel with outstanding service. Alongside the first-class dining options and comfortable accommodations, you can relax with a spa experience or soak up world-class onboard entertainment.

While the ships featured in our blog take you to some incredible places, the itineraries mentioned are not the only ones offered by small cruise ships. One great advantage of small-ship cruising is that you can explore both remote and popular destinations. For example, if you’re seeking out tropical beaches, there are plenty of small cruise ship Caribbean options available that visit these idyllic destinations while offering the personalised, immersive experiences of sailing on a smaller vessel.

Small cruise ships offer a unique blend of luxury, exclusivity, and access to some of the world’s most breathtaking and less-frequented ports. It’s a different style of cruising compared to large cruise ship holidays, but one which we’re sure you’ll find utterly alluring.

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