3 Small Cruise Lines You Should Know About

Imagine cruising down a winding river with lush jungle on either side. Or, sailing through ice fjords en route to some of the wildest terrain in the Arctic.

These journeys can be yours on a small-ship cruise, along with other incredible voyages to desolate places no large vessel would dare go.

If you’re thinking about taking a cruise, consider one of the following hard-to-beat small-ship excursions on small cruise lines.

Lindblad Expeditions

Lindblad Expeditions presents National Geographic Cruises to some of the most exhilarating and adventurous spots on the planet. These cruises sail to many places large ocean liners can’t get near. On a Lindblad Expedition, choose from exceptional locales in Antarctica, the Galapagos, Alaska, Costa Rica, Panama, and Baja’s Sea of Cortez.

Lindblad Expedition National Geographic cruises are intimate sailing adventures complete with veteran expedition teams as tour guides. Each passenger is privileged to enjoy up-close-and-personal encounters with some of the world’s wonders, all while journeying safely and comfortably in inviting private accommodations.


Hurtigruten is a Norwegian-based cruise line that sails the poles with 13 ships of different sizes, each of them quite small when compared to most big-name ocean liners. Hurtigruten’s 276-passenger ship, Fram, is the star of the line offering stylish sailing (think iceberg sculptures and austere location photographs) with Arctic-chic staterooms that house flat-screen TV’s.

Hurtigruten small-ship cruises are luxurious, but don’t let the décor and services fool you. These cruises are all about nature. The ships are expedition vessels that transport passengers, sometimes via landing craft, to seaside destinations where they can explore and discover some of the earth’s most amazing treasures. Hurtigruten offers themed cruises focusing on astronomy, photography, Viking history, and other intriguing topics.

Quark Expeditions

Looking for a polar excursion via small ship? Quark Expeditions takes its travelers to see penguins, polar bears, and other Arctic and Antarctic sights. Journeys on Quark Expedition vessels often include further adventuring on the ships’ kayaks and helicopters. Sometimes, cruisers enjoy mountaineering and cross-country skiing trips from their small Quark ship.

Quark Expedition’s 128-passenger cruise vessel, 50 Years of Victory, has nuclear-powered capabilities that allow it to push through 10 feet of ice and make it to the North Pole. Some of Quark’s ships head farther, and go longer, south than any other cruise line’s ships. Quark Expedition cruises typically feature lectures and presentations from science experts. Once in a while, you can view incredible works by resident photographers on a Quark cruise.

Wondering about other small-ship cruises? There are plenty for you to check out. A few other cruise lines offering small-ship sails include Celebrity Cruises and Vegan River Cruises.

Small Cruise Lines

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