Small Ship & Expedition Cruises Tours & Trips 2020
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Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.
Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.
Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.
Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.
Rivers & Seas Visitied
Attractions & Cities Visited
Activities & Interests
Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.
Flight & Transport Inclusions
Stride Gives Back Stride Gives Back This trip visits a destination impacted by climate change. When you opt in to the Travelstride Gives Back program, we will donate 10% of our net revenue to organizations that help mitigate climate change in these destinations and across the globe. Learn more
Impacted by Climate Change
- Pink flamingos, red-throated frigates and blue-footed boobies will have you craning your neck, snapping photos and contemplating a career in ornithology.
- Snorkel through the underwater wonderland of Devil’s Crown, the formerly volcanic crater that is now home to turtles, rays and sharks.
- Have an up-close encounter with the lumbering gentle giant that is the Galapagos tortoise, both captive and in the wild.
- This 6-day tour is a short and sweet introduction to the famed archipelago, the perfect addition to any South American adventure.
- An itinerary that strikes the perfect balance between active adventure on land and relaxing evening on Le Grande Daphne, our brand-new motor yacht.
- Venture into the ancient Viking settlement of L’Anse aux Meadows, the only widely accepted site of trans-Atlantic Viking establishment and very early Norse exploration
- See WWII harbor defenses, and visit the only North American island that remains under French control, an outpost of its era as a colonial superpower
- Discover sweeping dunes, wind- and wave-carved cliffs, and sandstone hills in a wild land
- Explore the intriguing red cliffs and strange tabletop formations at Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site
- The excitement of a southbound Drake Passage crossing
- The speed and convenience of a northbound flight over the Drake Passage
- All the Antarctic Peninsula highlights
- Lecturers and specialists deliver presentations on geology and animal life
- Enjoy twelve days River Cruise vacation
- Insightful and informative port tour
- Land tours and shipboard programs
- See a number of large fjord systems in Greenland and on Spitsbergen
- Visit Greenland, Jan Mayen, Iceland and Spitsbergen in the same journey
- See the wildlife in the Arctic
- Enjoy an expedition under the midnight sun
- A Santorini sunset around the caldera is a sight to behold. Walk along the volcanic rim of the island past white villages that cling to plunging cliffs and watch as day turns to night in the most stunning of ways.
- Sail the Aegean Sea on your small group yacht and island-hop through the Cyclades, taking regular stops to swim off the side of your boat and letting the pitch and roll of the ocean help you sleep at night.
- Feast on fresh seafood at a sleepy waterfront taverna in the Small Cyclades islands – far away from tourist crowds and deep in the local way of life. This is island living, Greek style.
- Step back in time among the Venetian architecture of Naxos and consider learning about rural life with a daytrip to a country village – a couple of the many experiences to be had around the Cyclades.
- No Greek island adventure is complete without a stop in Mykonos. Embrace your hedonistic side with its boutique culture and nightlife or relax on one of the many beaches dotted along the coast.
- Cruise for seven nights aboard 'Xperience' - an expedition vessel that blends stability, comfort and flexibility - in the Galápagos Islands
- Experience some of the most intimate and up-close wildlife encounters in the world, both on land and in the water
- Discover the Galápagos Islands on twice-daily shore excursions that include nature walks limited to 12 guests for more interaction with your naturalist guide
- Choose from kayaking or snorkeling, depending on the location, or simply relax on deck or on shore
- Observe giant tortoises up close, in their natural habitats
- A Young Explorers Guide provides child-friendly programs and activities, such as wildlife photography, scavenger hunts, Spanish lessons and art-making
- Enjoy the convenience of earlier seating and kid-friendly menus at meal times
- Venture into remote wilderness: hike among monkeys, sloths, and tropical birds, and explore far from any inhabited places
- Transit the Panama Canal—a historical marvel of engineering
- Kayak cool azure waters where the rain forest meets the sea
- Explore idyllic islands; snorkel over a vibrant coral reef and take an expedition landing craft cruise through mangroves.
- Breeching whales and barking seals
- The towering, icy cliffs of Lemaire Channel
- Spectacular Paradise Bay
- Hundreds of thousands of penguins
- Stunning icebergs
- Surprising, sophisticated Buenos Aires
- View expansive Greenland landscapes and icescapes
- Explore the world’s longest and largest fjord system
- Hike through the arctic treasure of Greenland National Park, the world’s largest
- Possible whale, musk ox, and polar bear sightings
- Cruise in a Zodiac
- Inuit community visit
- Take advantage of optional kayak adventure opportunities
- Experience walking Tour of Amsterdam
- You’ll visit major highlights of Anne Frank’s House (Amsterdam)
- Visit Haymarket (Cologne)
- Visit Jewish Baths (Cologne)
- Visit Gothic Cologne Cathedral (Der Kölner Dom)
- Walking Tour of Old Town (Koblenz)
- See the fabulous St. Castor’s Basilica (Koblenz)
- Schängel Fountain (Koblenz)
- Mannheim Palace
- Walking Tour of Strasbourg
- Visit the concentration camp at Auschwitz, now a museum honoring the victims of the Holocaust
- See the 13th century Matthias Coronation Church and the Citadel on Mount Gellert.
- See historical sights including the Monument of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
- Voyage to the charming artist’s town of Szentendre
- Enjoy a panoramic tour taking you along the Ring Boulevard, past Emperor Franz Josef’s Hofburg Palace and the ornate State Opera to a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, the Cathedral of St. Stephen’s
- Visit the quaint towns of Duernstein and Telc en route to Prague
- See the 14th-century Charles Bridge and explore the charming Old Town in Prague
- Helsinki Tour
- Danube Bend
- Visit the Tiananmen Square (Beijing)
- See the Great Wall (Beijing)
- Learn about the Terra Cotta Soldiers (Xian)
- See The Bund (Shanghai)
- Enjoy an Yangtze River Cruise
- Li River (Guilin)
- See spectacular city view from Victoria Peak (Hong Kong)
- Merrion Square (Dublin)
- Christchurch Cathedral (Dublin)
- Guinness Brewery (Dublin)
- Castle Ward House & Gardens (Northern Ireland)
- Titanic Belfast Experience
- Giant’s Causeway (Antrim)
- Kylemore Abbey (Galway)
- Cliffs of Moher (Clare)
- Ring of Kerry
- Dingle Peninsula (Kerry)
- Blarney’s Castle
- Medieval Castle Banquet
- Explore Moscow's attraction - Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral
- Visit Kremlin (Moscow)
- See the Czar’s Cannon (Moscow)
- Enjoy a guided tour to Armory Museum (Moscow)
- Optional Moscow Metro Tour
- See the Governor’s Palace in Yaroslavl
- Enjoy a magnificent walking tour on the fairy tale island of Kizhi
- Explore the culture and the architecture in St. Petersburg
- Visit Hermitage Museum
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Top Small Ship & Expedition Cruises Experiences
Stopping at a quiet bay for a lobster bake while cruising the Maine coast on an historic windjammer.
Watching whales in Alaska for hours simply because you can
Sailing to Antarctica, following the route of the first explorers
Exploring the Turkish coast on a traditional gulet, the Kenyan coast on a traditional dhow, or the Vietnamese coast on a traditional junk
Indulging in the personalized, friendly service of a staff that gets to know you
Spreading out in more spacious rooms and a less formal atmosphere than some mega-ships
Following the path of Charles Darwin on a small ship cruise through the Galapagos Islands or the Beagle Channel in Patagonia.
<Kayaking and sailing along the coastline right from a small cruise ship’s watersports platform
Taking advantage of small cruise ships’ shallow draft to get closer to the cruise line for wildlife viewing
Small Ship & Expedition Cruises Trip Reviews
All small ship & expedition cruises and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.7 for all Small Ship & Expedition Cruises trips.