Some travelers prefer the new mega-ships that are dominating the cruise industry, while others prefer a smaller and more intimate experience. If you’re on the fence about what type of cruise vacation is best for you, we’ve compiled several reasons why you should consider a small ship cruise.
Small Ships Can Go Where Big Ships Can’t
What small cruise ships lack in size and onboard entertainment venues, they more than make up for in ports of call. One major benefit with small ship cruises is the ability to visit destinations that the larger ships can’t go to. Skip the overcrowded beaches with multiple cruise ships in port and visit remote, and sometimes uninhabited, islands where you’ll see only a few hundred other people, rather than a few thousand.
Imagine cruising around various islands in French Polynesia, lesser known Greek islands or even Panama’s gorgeous San Blas Islands. Small ships open the door to a wide selection of itineraries to choose from, especially when you factor in river cruises. River cruises offer travelers the chance to cruise down some of the world’s most scenic rivers, like the Danube, Amazon or Rhône. Specialty expedition ships are available for some of the most bucket-list-worthy destinations like Antarctica, the Arctic or even the Galapagos.
More Personalized Service
Especially on luxury cruises, small ships tend to have a better crew to passenger ratio. This can mean more personalized service than you would receive on a larger cruise ship. There’s a better chance you’ll get to know more of the staff, and they will remember your face throughout the voyage. With some cruise lines, you may find that more cabin classes have butler service included, which is a nice luxury perk.
Unique Adventures Both On Board and On Shore
Small cruise ships may not have a dizzying array of things to keep you busy at every hour of the day, but you’ll find the activities and entertainment to be more unique and tailored to your particular cruise. Perhaps it is various experts joining your particular voyage, tailored educational talks, intimate excursions or special chefs’ events — with a smaller cruise ship you may have access to a bevy of cool experiences that large cruise ships don’t offer.
Small cruise ships aren’t necessarily looking to cram as many passengers as possible on board to maximize their passenger count. This typically leads to larger-size cabins on these ships. You might find all cabins have balconies or are suites. Some have higher-end furnishings, better amenities and other perks included in your cabin class that you wouldn’t get unless you were paying for the most expensive suites on a large ship.
Depending on the size ship you choose, you could have additional flexibility that you don’t get with large cruise ships that have to maintain a strict sailing schedule. For example, if you’re on a small ship with 30 passengers, there’s a greater likelihood the captain might remain at destination a little bit longer than scheduled if something exciting is happening, like a wildlife sighting. Imagine trying to ask 2,000 passengers if they would be okay getting to the next port a little later than scheduled?
More Gourmet Cuisine
It’s no secret that large cruise ships have upped their game when it comes to onboard culinary options; however, most of those come at a premium and may be hard to get a reservation for. With small ships, you are not eating from a buffet designed to feed 2,000 or more people. The quality of the food is often better and may be prepared directly by a world-renowned chef, especially if you’re embarking on a specialty gastronomic cruise. Wouldn’t it be nice not to wait for 30 minutes before buffet time or find yourself eating something prepared on a mass scale? Small ships will typically do more to showcase the cuisine of the ports you’re visiting, so you’ll also have the benefit of eating many local ingredients and specialty dishes that would be impossible to do for 3,000 passengers.
You Get to Know People On Board
With small cruise ships, you have a greater opportunity to meet people since you’re seeing the same faces every day. You may forge friendships with people on your excursions and find it easier to mingle and enjoy one another’s company when you don’t have 3,000 other people on board.