Are you looking to ditch the crowds and take a relaxing voyage on a smaller cruise ship? One of the best parts about cruises as a travel option is the sheer amount of different options available, ranging from giant family-friendly ships to relaxed and intimate luxury liners. Being around a ton of people may not be your scene, and that’s completely fine. However, it can sometimes seem like all the cruise lines out there only cater to people who want to be surrounded by other travelers 24/7. If you’re someone who’s interested in taking a more personal cruise, check out our choices for some of the best small cruise lines out there.
UnCruise, founded in Washington in 2008, is a small-ship cruise line that offers both adventure cruises and river cruises. Their fleet is composed of nine ships that can fit between 22 and 90 passengers (definitely a far cry from Royal Caribbean). While a lot of the smaller companies focus mainly on far-flung regions like the Arctic (and we’ll get to that in a second), UnCruise is unique for offering small ships that go to the Galapagos, Hawaii, Mexico, Alaska and more, while their river boats traverse the Columbia and Snake rivers. They’re mainly focused on in-depth exploration of areas and choose to stop in lesser visited ports and let passengers check out wildlife while on kayaks or snorkeling.
SeaDream Yacht Club
SeaDream’s website lets you know quickly that these aren’t cruise ships: they’re yachts. This speaks both to the ships’ sizes (their two vessels accommodate 112 guests each) and the culture on the ships. The 95 crew members offer what is termed as “highly personal service” amidst a luxurious and stylish atmosphere. Plus, the open bar is included. A dress code is enforced, but that’s part of the yachting style. A trip like this isn’t for everyone, but SeaDream is an excellent choice for those who are tired of typical cruise environments.
If you’re looking for a cruise that is more like an adventure into the unknown than a simple vacation, Quark is your choice. The line has seven ships that focus on heading to the Arctic and Antarctic, along with stops in the Falkland Islands, Greenland and Russia. Most of their trips are a week or two and show off breathtaking locales and unique wildlife. Rest assured, these are absolutely nothing like a typical cruise. Their vessels usually hold barely more than 100 people and sport helicopters and mountaineering equipment. For those wanting to see things they may never otherwise be able to see, Quark is their cruise line.
As you can see, there are a plethora of options for those looking for a calmer, more refined cruising experience. Any of these small lines will serve you well, whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation.