The delight of watching never ending oceans, dining with hundreds of people at a time, going on binge shopping in duty free shops, hopping from one port to another, are the first things that comes to our mind when going on a cruise. Travelling doesn’t always mean that you stock up your luggage in a high rise multi storeyed hotel on an overcrowded beach. Sometimes the real pleasure is also lodging up in boutique hotel on a hidden beach. At some point we all agree that big is not the best and travelling is best experienced when the crowd is least. So think again on what comes to your mind about cruises, the long queues, eh. Don’t worry as there plenty of small cruises operating that offer more privacy with socializing opportunity when needed, joy of hitting smaller ports, and venturing into off beaten paths. Here are some of top small cruises.
Silversea – The fleet consists of Silver Galapagos, Silver Cloud, Silver Explorer and Silver Discoverer. It has spacious suites with butler service. It covers most of mainstream destinations and less crowded ports. Itineraries consist of shore excursions, nature hikes, snorkelling, kayaking and much more.
Hurtigruten – Its flagship vessel is MS Roald Amundsen, a hybrid propulsion ship that features suites with balconies and ocean view staterooms. Its expedition suite has a private outdoor hot tub and espresso maker. These cruises specialize in seaside locations with own landing crafts.
Lindblad – It specializes in soft adventure cruises with a fleet of 9 vessels touching all 7 continents. They also keep naturalists, historians on board, sometimes along with Nat Geo photographers. They also keep kayaks and underwater cameras. They serve local organic food for meals and real bonuses are those spa rooms for relaxation.
Celebrity Cruises – Its fleet consists of Celebrity Xpedition, Celebrity Xperience, Celebrity Xploration, and Celebrity Flora. It focuses on service with a small cruise ambience. It offers unique experiences like Ecuadorian folklore, and regional sustainable décor.
Quark Expeditions – Going for the poles, this is the one specializing in Arctic and Antarctic cruises. It features on board helicopters, and offers kayaking, skiing, and mountaineering. It’s 50 Years of Victory vessel has nuclear power system to sail up to North Pole. It also offers on board activities like presentations from scientific experts, and photography from professionals.
International Expeditions – It offers soft adventures with focus on nature and specializes in Amazon. The rooms have private balconies, vessel has sun deck. The ship offers close cultural and natural encounters. It too carries on board guides and expedition leaders for immersive experiences. Apart from kayaking,snorkelling, swimming, there also are activities like piranha fishing.
Windstar – It offers quite a unique experience on motored ships with sails. Its fleet consists of Wind Spirit, Wind Star, Wind Surf, Star Pride, Star Breeze and Star Legend.Passengers feel quite romantic about the sails, with all plush yacht amenities. It offers almost all water sports in activities.
Ama Waterways – It covers all major rivers of Europe, and covers Vietnam and Africa. It specializes in river cruises, with well-designed cabins on some of most modern river ships. Décor is inspired by destinations on route, and it offers in cabin entertainment on demand, along with heated pools.
Ponant – It offers a true French experience and five star feel. On board you will find French cuisines and wines, interior design by Jean Philippe Nuel, spa products by Sothy’s. Its fleet consists of L’Austral, Le Boreal, Le Lyrial, Le Soleal, but not limited to.
Crystal Esprit – This luxury yacht has on board multiple restaurants with top notch cuisine, gym, spa, sun deck, and a plunge pool. It offers luxury rooms with king bed, high tech toys and lavish marble bathrooms.It operates primarily Caribbean, Adriatic and Middle East.Passengers can indulge in activities like kayaking, cycling, swimming, snorkelling, Jet Skis, water skis, andsnorkelling.
Uncruise Adventures – Its fleet consists of 9 vessels and offers adventure n river cruises. It spots over on bays with maximum exposure to nature and wildlife. It has on board facilities for kayaks, paddle boards, snorkelling, hot tubs, and hiking. It also has a side of luxury with amenities such as fitness areas, lounges, libraries and mealtimes with fine wines.
Emerald Waterways – It is regarded as the best river cruise line for value. It often offers complimentary food n beverages, free transfers, port activities, Wi Fi, etc. to its passengers. It has indoor heated pools, retractable roof for daytime that also turns into a cinema on nights.
Star Clippers – Only ocean enthusiast would agree to the pleasure of sailing along with wind to untouched ports. It operates primarily in Caribbean and Mediterranean. Its fleet consists of Royal Clipper, Star Clipper and Star Flyer. Dressing in here is mostly casual, and it offers all water sports facility directly from the ship.
Uniworld – Its fleet consists of 17 river vessels. The interiors are colourful, with lush fabric, antiques, flat TV sets, marble bathroom, and cosy beds. Though smaller in size with lesser number of restaurants and entertainment, it does bring local acts on board at ports like folk dancing, etc.
Sea Dream Yachts –Its fleet consists of SeaDream I and SeaDream II. It gives the best of local ports experience, with international cuisines, finest wines n champagnes. It has an elegant casual dress code that reflects its ambience. It has deck side Balinese loungers and all water sports facilities.
If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet!