In the past couple of years, small ship cruising has gained popularity for several reasons. Have you have ever wanted to explore the world in style in a friendly and intimate setting vs. sharing space with 4000 of your new best friends on a mega-ship? If the answer is “yes,” small ship voyages may be just right for you! There are plenty of options to craft the journey that is right for you, whether you’re with a few dozen passengers on a private yacht or with 500 passengers on a small luxury ship.
Here are my top five reasons:
Small ships can get up close to scenic coastlines and access off-the-beaten-path ports that larger ships can’t reach. Smaller ship sizes also help you get closer to wildlife, navigate lesser-known waters, smaller bays, marinas, and discover hidden gems overlooked by most tourists. It’s your chance to live like a local!
2. More space per passenger
With fewer passengers, public areas will never feel too crowded, and there will always be a cozy corner to relax with a book in hand or grab a seat at the bar to hang out with your friends.
3. Masters of Cuisine
Chefs on small ships masterfully craft an exquisite dining experience — each day different from the last — from the ingredients and famous local dishes. Whether it’s fresh baked bread and produce purchased at the local market each morning, freshly caught fish from the local fish monger, or truffles hunted for during an afternoon hike, the cuisine will be equal parts delicious and authentic.
4. Fewer passengers means more personalized attention
Crew members quickly get to know names, preferences, and personalities, making the cruise feel more like home rather than a floating hotel. Fewer passengers allows the chef to be more attentive to your dining needs and capable of meeting most dietary restrictions, as well. Guests get to know each other quickly, as well.
5. Often, everything is included
On smaller luxury ships, often everything is included: gourmet cuisine, alcoholic beverages, gratuities, wi-fi, shore excursions, and in some cases, airfare!
From the hidden coves of the Cycladic Islands of Greece to the remote fishing villages in northern Iceland, small ships cruises will return your focus to the world around you and leave you longing for more. In addition to iconic destinations such as The Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, here are a few off-the-beaten-path ports of call that should be on your radar:
Antarctica is a continent of stunning, alien beauty with a rich history of adventure and exploration. It is often referred to as the last great untouched wilderness. Several companies offer cruises to Antarctica, but you can only go on land here if you travel on one of the smaller vessels because of restrictions to protect the wildlife. Even though cruises occur in the Antarctic summer, you’ll still need warm clothes and winter boots.
2. South America’s Chilean Coast
The variety of things to do here is endless. Because the country is so narrow, it’s entirely possible to go for a quick excursion to the Andes Mountains and surf at the beach in the same day. Cruising along Chile’s coastline will allow you to see everything from desert to wine country to breathtaking alpine scenery and fjords, with a stop at the stunning Balmaceda glacier in Torres del Paine National Park.
3. The Arctic – Norway, Greenland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands
Arctic cruises are on offer from June to August, and most sail along Norway’s fjord-lined coast to Murmansk in Russia. Since it’s summer when these cruises happen, you’ll get to see the Midnight Sun.
Greenland is a unique summer cruise destination. During the warmer months, it really does become green. It’s not as cold as you’d imagine during cruise season either, although it’s a different story in winter when Greenlanders live in one of the world’s harshest climates.
4. British Isles
If golfing is your passion, a cruise in the British Isles could be just the ticket to experiencing some of Britain’s iconic courses. And it’s one of the best ways to drink in the lush landscapes for a 2022 filled with wanderlust.
Other exciting destinations include Tenerife, the Baltics (Germany, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Poland)
Explore among the locals and delve into authentic experiences. Shop local markets with the Executive Chef, and traverse the back alleys, getting lost in small towns. It’s your chance to live like a local!
One of my favorite cruise lines in this category is Atlas Ocean Voyages (AOV). The Atlas adventure provides an exceptional small-ship cruise vacation that delivers larger-than-life (“bucket-list”) land experiences. Actually, AOV is in a class all its own, called Luxe-Adventure, a cruise line defined by a community of like-spirited individuals with an unbounded lust for life.
I had the pleasure of sailing Atlas Ocean Voyages’ (AOV) World Navigator from Egypt to Greece last summer. It was my first time being on such a beautiful, intimate ship, with only 98 staterooms and holding up to 196 passengers (186 on Antarctic cruises). There were only 62 passengers on our sailing, so it really felt like our own private mega yacht! AOV plans to expand its fleet with 4 more ships by 2023!
With Atlas, your journey is all-inclusive all the way. This means gorgeous Luxury accommodations, Michelin-inspired gourmet international cuisine, 24-hour in-room dining and amenities onboard, one shore excursion a day, educational experiences by guest lecturers on a variety of topics (including culinary, art, science, cultural/destination, current affairs, and UNESCO World Heritage conversations), butler service in suites, and roundtrip intercontinental airfare for ALL journeys from select gateways, and a non-stop Private Charter Jet Service for all Antarctica Sailings.
To have the experience of a lifetime, I highly recommend adding a small ship luxury cruise to your bucket list! Contact us to get started!
Our bespoke itineraries are uniquely designed to completely immerse you in your destination, with delightfully unexpected surprises along the way.
We have a special passion for all things culinary—and we would love to introduce you to your destination’s distinct (and delicious!) food and wine traditions through one-of-a-kind culinary experiences. The best part? You won’t have to do a thing except relax, recharge, and create memories that last a lifetime!
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