Taking a cruise vacation on a mega-liner certainly has its advantages. The bigger the ship, the more restaurants, casinos, shopping, dance clubs, and spas youâ€™ll have to choose from. But when it comes to adventure, relaxation, pampering, and access to some of the most remote places on earth — small cruise ships are number one.
Small cruise ships are ships that carry less than 500 passengers and they can be divided into several categories. These include: cruise ships, yachts, riverboats, and expedition vessels, to name a few. Some of the most luxurious and expensive cruise lines in existence today also have a high number of luxury small cruise ships.
According to the Conde Nast Traveler Cruise Poll (2008), some of the top small cruise ships in the industry today include: Seven Seas Navigator and Paul Gauguin (Regent Seven Seas), Seabourn Legend and Seabourn Pride (Seabourn Cruises), Silver Whisper, Silver Shadow, and Silver Cloud (Silversea Cruises), and SeaDream I and SeaDream II (SeaDream Yacht Club).
The Conde Nast Traveler Cruise Poll ranks the top small cruise ships from one to 36. The top small cruise ships listed above had overall ratings ranging from 83.9 to 89.2, they were featured on the 2007 Conde Nast Traveler Gold List, and they ranked high in all areas including: itineraries, shore excursions, crew/service, cabins, food/dining, activities/excursions, and design/layout. The top five small cruise ships on the list are: #1 Bizet and #2 River Anuket (Grand Circle), #3 River Royale and #4 River Duchess (Uniworld), and #5 Paul Gauguin (Regent Seven Seas).
Grand Circleâ€™s Bizet and River Anuket rated 97.6 and 94.3 overall, Uniworldâ€™s River Royale and River Duchess rated 90.5 and 89.8 overall, and Regent Seven Seasâ€™ Paul Gauguin rated 89.2 overall. Grand Circle small cruise ship sailings will take you all around the world to the most remote places on the map. Athens, Society Islands, and Turkey are just a few of the exciting destinations on the Grand Circle menu. Uniworld small cruise ships travel the world as well to Europe, China, Russia, Egypt, Ukraine, Istanbul, and the Black Sea. And finally, Regent Seven Seas features sailings to Alaska, Scandinavia, Bermuda, Mexico, Europe, Tahiti, Africa, India, Antarctica, South America, Panama Canal, the Caribbean, and Australia.
Other small cruise ships that made the Conde Nast Traveler Cruise Poll (2008) include: River Aria, River Harmony, and River Concerto (Grand Circle), the Viking River Cruises fleet, National Geographic Endeavor and National Geographic Polaris (Linblad Expeditions) and Minerva and Sunboat IV (Abercrombie & Kent), to name a few.
Number 36 on the list is the Spirit of Oceanus (Cruise West). Cruise West offers an excellent assortment voyage styles such as adventure, beaches & sun, culinary, cultural, exotic, expedition, historic, holiday, photography, tropical adventure, and wildlife & wilderness. Cruise West small cruise ships sailings may last anywhere from four days or less up to 12 days or more. The fleet consists of 13 small cruise ships including Spirit of Oceanus, and destinations run the gamut from Alaska, British Columbia, and Costa Rica to Grand Asia, Japan, and Mexicoâ€™s Sea of Cortes.
To book a small ship cruise with any of the cruise lines listed above, visit the cruise lineâ€™s website or call your local cruise travel agent.