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Small Ship Cruising

In the last decade or so there seems to have been something of an obsession within the cruise industry – the quest to have the largest cruise liner at sea. It seems with every new ship that is announced they become bigger and bigger. There appears to be a number of companies constantly competing to have the biggest ship but does bigger always mean better?

What are the attractions of small ship cruising, over the larger behemoths that are dominating the cruise market? Why should you consider picking a smaller, more intimate cruise ship over one of the largest cruise liners at sea? There are a multitude of reasons why smaller ship cruising might appeal to you and your travel companions.

The biggest advantage that I feel is that smaller ships are delightfully more intimate than their larger counterparts. With far fewer passengers and fewer members of staff, you are more likely to make lasting friendships with the people who you are spending your holiday in the company of.

On a ship with an astounding passenger capacity of 6,000 it is easy to meet someone one day and then not to see them again for the rest of your cruise. This isn’t the case with smaller ships and it often is the reason many people prefer to cruise on smaller ships.

Smaller ships are also able to reach smaller cruise ports for example Santorini  that the larger ships simply cannot access because of their size. Small ships are able to dock in the centre of destinations, whereas larger ships have to dock on the outskirts of places and passengers have to be transported into the city centre. Image below: Santorini


This is surely a massive bonus of a small ship as it allows for extra time in a destination, as well as the ability to visit destinations that simply wouldn’t be possible on board one of the larger cruise ships.

Another benefit of small ship cruising is that they are often able to let their passengers become more hands on throughout the course of their holiday. For example, Star Clippers, which are part of the White Star Line, allow their passengers to let their sails up and down, assist with navigation and much more. If you’re attracted to cruising because of the actual nautical part of the journey then this would definitely be more suited to you. Image below: Royal Clipper

Royal Clipper

Smaller cruise ships also give you the real cruise feeling. On larger cruise ships it is easy to feel as though you are just inside a really big resort or small town, rather than actually on a vessel sailing on the sea. With a small ship you have the real feeling of being on the water which is closer to the original idea of cruising.

Clearly there are many reasons why smaller ship cruising might appeal to you, why not give it a try?

Thanks Emma

2 Replies to “Small Ship Cruising”

June 8, 2013
Great point until you mentioned Santorini... yes it's a beautiful port but many very large ships from Costa, Princess & Holland America (to name a few) visit Santorini... I've been there when 7 ships visited in one day... which is too many people for the tram and donkeys to keep up with.
June 11, 2013
Thanks for pointing this out Jeff. I think Emma was referring to the very small ships that actually dock there rather than the cruise lines you mention who anchor at sea and bring people in on tender boats.

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