Would you disregard a recommendation from a friend to stay in a small boutique hotel on an unspoiled Caribbean island if the only hotel you’d ever stayed in was a 2,000-room high-rise monstrosity on an overcrowded and overdeveloped Spanish Costa, where you’d had an utterly dreadful time? Most likely not.
Despite this, many people tell us that cruising isn’t for them because they’ve only ever cruised on one of the mainstream mega-ships, where they despised the lines, crowds, and impersonal atmosphere. If only they’d consulted a seasoned travel agent like Mundy Cruising before arranging their trip! Small ship cruise is a unique kind of transportation in which we have specialized for more than 50 years.
A small ship allows you to have more solitude while yet allowing you to be social when you want; you may visit smaller ports that are off the beaten path; and you will receive a degree of personal attention that you won’t find on a larger ship. We’ve compiled a list of 10 of the best small cruise ships, ranging from beautiful yachts to attractive sailing ships:
The Crystal Esprit is a beautifully restored classic motor yacht that can accommodate only 62 passengers. Crystal’s ‘World’s Best’ expertise is combined with wonderful food, friendly service, and incredible attention to detail in this tiny jewel. Navigate hidden harbours and private ports that are just unavailable to larger vessels while living the classy but laid-back yachting lifestyle. Esprit will spend the summer of 2021 touring the sun-drenched Dalmatian Coast before heading to the Seychelles in December.
2 – 3. SeaDream I and II
We’re not allowed to have favorites, but we can’t seem to get enough of SeaDream Yacht Club’s amazing adventures. With only 56 couples and 95 crew members, these small ships are bound to attract a lot of attention. But it’s the way they serve that really sets them apart: the crew aboard SeaDream is always looking for new ways to entertain, amuse, and, above all, make your vacation that little bit better, with tons of special treats and surprises just for you. Add in excellent food and tons of exciting activities like sleeping under the stars, jet skiing off the back of the ship, or dining at a table where you can watch the sun set while dining, and you’ve got yourself a truly memorable vacation.
4 – 5 Wind Spirit and Wind Star
The sail-assisted Wind Star and Wind Spirit are the smallest of Windstar’s yachts, each carrying only 148 passengers. As they slip their moorings and glide quietly out to sea, these elegant, 4-masted sailing yachts are the envy of more traditional cruisers. Wide open teak decks and private nooks mean that you may mingle with other passengers or discover a romantic retreat – and if you bemoan the absence of individual balconies, the entire ship becomes your own verandah space.
6 – 7. Sea Cloud and Sea Cloud II
The two tall ships, Sea Cloud (64 guests) and Sea Cloud II (94 guests), are truly spectacular: these majestic vessels are sailed by hand, in such a way that a centuries-old ritual is brought to life every time the crew hoists the sails (which takes nearly an hour!). Imagine being a part of it: a cruise on one of these ships is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As you can expect, the environment on board is unique: you can sense the team’s passion as well as their exceptional pride and commitment. The original cabins on board Sea Cloud, a private yacht built in 1931, offer a character and flair that you won’t find anywhere else at sea.
Who’d have guessed that a former automobile ferry would become one of the most coveted small ships on the water, with a devoted following of devotees from all walks of life? We can see why Her Majesty the Queen chose this small ship for a large birthday party. Hebridean Princess is a wonderful home away from home, intimate and modest with a Scottish country house feel and excellent service. The ship is also intrinsically linked to the Scottish waterways in which she travels, stopping at the Western Isles and elsewhere. Because of her extensive history in the region, she is incredibly well connected, which means that doors will open for her passengers everywhere she travels.
Silversea’s small expedition ships offer the same high-quality food and service as the traditional fleet, as well as an incredible range of wildlife and wilderness excursions on, beneath, and beside the water. The Silver Explorer (144 guests) travels to the poles and points in between, while the newly new Silver Origin (100 guests) stays in the Galapagos Islands all year. As you travel around the world, visiting the world’s most distant landscapes and habitats, your skilled expedition team ensures that you have the most entertaining, instructive, and engaging experience possible.
Quasar has won first place in the small-ship ocean cruise lines category for the third year in a row. Only a handful of hotels, resorts, and tour operators scored higher than 99 in this year’s World’s Best Awards, and Quasar was the only cruise line to achieve so. The voyages to the Galápagos Islands onboard this small-ship brand’s two remarkable yachts, the 16-passenger M/Y Grace and the 32-guest M/V Evolution, just stunned readers. “Quasar has brought us on two journeys, one on the Evolution and the other on the Grace. One voter commented, “The Evolution was great for our first trip: the ship is fantastic, and the staff could not be nicer.” Similar ravings came from other readers. “The islands themselves are beautiful, but our yacht, the staff, crew, and guides made everything even better,” remarked another traveler who sailed on the Evolution.