Small Ship & Expedition Cruises Tours & Trip Packages

Small Ship & Expedition Cruises Tours & Trips

902 Small Ship & Expedition Cruises trips. Tours from 47 tour companies. 4,576 reviews. 4.6/5 avg rating.

902 Trips match your criteria (1 - 20 shown)

Britain and Ireland Highlights
By Trafalgar
preferred
5/5 Excellent
100+ reviews
Group Tour
Why we love them
Their travelers enjoy 24/7 travel expertise and dedicated service throughout the trips - everything is taken care of.
Lodging level
Premium - 4 star
Physical level
Easy
Trip pace
Balanced schedule

Highlights

  • 9 Breakfast (B)
  • 1 Welcome Reception (WR)
  • 1 Regional Dinner (RD)
  • 1 Be My Guest (BMG)
  • Cardiff: Enjoy a hearty Be My Guest Welsh dinner with a farming family and their animals in the beautiful award-winning vineyards of Wales.
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Themes

50 plus, Cultural, Education / Learning, Small Ship Cruise

What travelers are saying

"Excellent service by **************, our travel director, for our Canadian Rockies trip on May 27 to June 2, 2024. A most memorable and exciting experience to see the beauty of the breathtaking and magnificent mountains, the Athabasca Glacier, and more!"

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Britain and Ireland Panorama
4.2/5 Great
5 reviews
Group Tour
Why we love them
They have a high level of personalized attention and curated itineraries for Ireland & Scotland.
Lodging level
Premium - 4 star
Physical level
Easy
Trip pace
Balanced schedule

Highlights

  • : Explore London, Edinburgh, the Isle of Skye, Dublin and Cobh with a Local Specialist
  • : Discover York, Glasgow, Chester, Galway, Cork, Cardiff, Bath and Plymouth
  • : Visit Shakespeare's Birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon, Edinburgh Castle, Isle of Skye, the Necropolis in Glasgow, the Guinness Storehouse, EPIC - The Irish Emigration Museum, Blarney Castle, the Waterford Crystal Showroom, the Roman Baths in Bath, Glastonbury Abbey, the fishing village of Polperro and Stonehenge
  • : View Eilean Donan Castle, Anne Hathaway's thatched cottage, York Minster and the Mayflower Steps in Plymouth
  • : See Galway Cathedral and the Principality Stadium in Cardiff
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Themes

50 plus, Cultural, Education / Learning, Small Ship Cruise

What travelers are saying

"We just went on Iconic Ireland and Ashford Castle and had a wonderful time. This was our first bus tour and we didn't know quite what to expect, however, we couldn't have had a more perfect time. Ireland is a beautiful country and we were stunned and thrilled with all the beauty we were able to see. The hotels were great - some definitely better than others but all were comfortable. My only complaint was that our last hotel had no ac and Ireland was experiencing a heat wave so the fan didn't help very much. That wasn't anyone's fault and I just went with the flow. Barbara (our guide) and Marina (our driver) were great and genuinely seemed to be concerned with everyone's comfort. The grande finale of Ashford Castle was incredible. Such a beautiful place and to be able to stay a night there was incredible. I ended up doing the Hawk Walk and horseback riding and I would recommend both - especially the hawk walk to anyone - I think people who are good riders would probably get to do more than we did but it was still great. I would recommend Brendan and this trip to anyone. Perfect amount of down time and activity. Loved it!"

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Best of Antarctica: Wildlife Explorer (Ocean Endeavour)
4.5/5 Excellent
100+ reviews
Small Ship Cruise
Why we love them
They’re very committed to sustainable and responsible tourism and contribute to important initiatives like climate action.
Lodging level
Premium - 4 star
Physical level
Easy
Trip pace
Full schedule

Visits

Antarctic Peninsula, Ushuaia

Highlights

  • Explore an unspoiled wilderness, uninhabited by man, where penguins, seals, whales and seabirds in their abundance are the true rulers.
  • Emerging from winter, the density of wildlife is increasing, and penguin rookeries are at full capacity with penguin chicks beginning to hatch from mid-December.
  • Seal and whale sightings become more frequent as minke, southern right and humpback whales return to Antarctic waters to feed, ensuring extraordinary wildlife viewing opportunities.
  • Enjoy daily Zodiac excursions, onshore landings and take advantage of a range of adventure options during the voyage such as kayaking, camping, photography and snowshoeing.
  • Benefit from a variety of onboard activities including educational lectures on history, geology, and ecology by the expedition team.

Themes

National Parks, Nature & Wildlife, Small Ship Cruise

What travelers are saying

"I've travelled with Intrepid in Vietnam, Morocco, Nepal and Egypt and had a brilliant time every time. The experience is better than most tours as you are in a small group that goes a bit more 'off the beaten track', and you don't get taken to endless shopping opportunites (i.e. a cousin's carpet shop). They also have higher ethics than most travel companies, they contribute to local charities and they avoid animal use (donkeys etc) where possible. The tour leaders we have had have all been wonderful, knowledgable and relaxed, with good english."

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Imperial Europe
By Trafalgar
preferred
4.9/5 Excellent
100+ reviews
Group Tour
Why we love them
Their travelers enjoy 24/7 travel expertise and dedicated service throughout the trips - everything is taken care of.
Lodging level
Premium - 4 star
Physical level
Easy
Trip pace
Balanced schedule

Highlights

  • 1 Welcome Reception (WR)
  • 9 Breakfast (B)
  • 1 Be My Guest (BMG)
  • 1 Dinner (D)
  • 1 Farewell Dinner (FD)
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Themes

50 plus, Cultural, Education / Learning, Small Ship Cruise

What travelers are saying

"Excellent service by **************, our travel director, for our Canadian Rockies trip on May 27 to June 2, 2024. A most memorable and exciting experience to see the beauty of the breathtaking and magnificent mountains, the Athabasca Glacier, and more!"

Trip dates & details
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Amazing Ireland
4.2/5 Great
5 reviews
Group Tour
Why we love them
They have a high level of personalized attention and curated itineraries for Ireland & Scotland.
Lodging level
Premium - 4 star
Physical level
Easy
Trip pace
Balanced schedule

Highlights

  • : Explore Belfast, Londonderry and Dublin with a Local Specialist
  • : Discover Donegal, Galway, Cork and Waterford
  • : Visit the Titanic Experience in Belfast, the Giant's Causeway, Belleek Pottery Visitor Centre, Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle, the John F. Kennedy Arboretum and the Dunbrody Famine Ship in New Ross and Waterford Crystal
  • : View the Antrim Coast and the Marian Shrine in Knock
  • : See City Hall in Belfast, the Cathedral of Galway and Trinity College and the Georgian Squares in Dublin
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Themes

50 plus, Cultural, Education / Learning, Small Ship Cruise

What travelers are saying

"We just went on Iconic Ireland and Ashford Castle and had a wonderful time. This was our first bus tour and we didn't know quite what to expect, however, we couldn't have had a more perfect time. Ireland is a beautiful country and we were stunned and thrilled with all the beauty we were able to see. The hotels were great - some definitely better than others but all were comfortable. My only complaint was that our last hotel had no ac and Ireland was experiencing a heat wave so the fan didn't help very much. That wasn't anyone's fault and I just went with the flow. Barbara (our guide) and Marina (our driver) were great and genuinely seemed to be concerned with everyone's comfort. The grande finale of Ashford Castle was incredible. Such a beautiful place and to be able to stay a night there was incredible. I ended up doing the Hawk Walk and horseback riding and I would recommend both - especially the hawk walk to anyone - I think people who are good riders would probably get to do more than we did but it was still great. I would recommend Brendan and this trip to anyone. Perfect amount of down time and activity. Loved it!"

Trip dates & details
Save this trip to your favorites or other list
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From Prague to Berlin: Cruise on the Vltava and Elbe Rivers
4.5/5 Excellent
100+ reviews
River Cruise
Lodging level
Premium - 4 star
Physical level
Easy
Trip pace
Flexible schedule

Visits

Dresden, Meissen

Highlights

  • CRUISE HIGHLIGHTS EXCURSIONSINCLUDED
  • EXCLUSIVE TO CROISIEUROPE Cruise on board a paddle riverboat
  • Our ship is moored in the heart of Prague
  • Discover: Golden Prague
  • Litomerice, charming city full of history
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Themes

50 plus, Eco, Sustainable & Green Travel, Family Friendly, Small Ship Cruise

What travelers are saying

"Summary over a cruise on the Haute Seine and Yonne on a barge. As seasoned cruisers, knowing well all aspects of cruising on seas and rivers, we had no experience about traveling on a barge in a canal. It was also time to overcome this lack. A number of companies offer this kind of cruising on barge with 8 to 16 passengers, however very often at exorbitant prices. Luckily, we discovered that the company CroisiEurope offers one week cruise on various canals in Europe, at very decent price, especially considering that all is inclusive (full board, all alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and all excursions) on modern barges with a maximum of 22 passengers. We opted for the barge Ms Deborah, which cruises on the canal de la Loire, with the Briare to Nevers’ route. We were looking forward to this itinerary because the proposed excursions particularly suited us. Unfortunately, only a few days before departure, we were informed that due of a lack of water in the Loire canal the Ms Deborah was switched over to the Haute Seine and Yonne for a new itinerary from Paris to Sens. Despites the fact that this new itinerary didn’t really meet our desires, especially the excursions, we decided to accept the change. Our group of 6 persons from Switzerland was very warmly greeted by all members of the crew when arriving on the quai de Grenelle in Paris where we see the MS DEBORAH for the first time, our floating home for the week. With its two dominating colours blue and white, it is difficult not to fall in love with this beautiful small ship. We were invited immediately for the welcome cocktail during which we met officially the crew and the other six individual passengers originating from New Zealand, England and the USA. With less time than it needs to tell, the relation between us was created, so that everyone felt part of a bunch of friends knowing each other for long time. There is no need to present here the MS Deborah itself, as this is already thoroughly done on the Cruise Critic page. The crew of 6 persons is composed of a captain, a sailor, a cruise director, a chef, a waitress and a cabin hostess who put all their efforts to satisfy the passengers and offer them the best possible service. The captain as well as the sailor are always trying to make passengers at ease, answer questions or even bring a drink. The lady cruise director is omnipresent, taking care of the passengers better than a mother hen would do. The talented young French chef aims to produce dishes which please everybody. His outstanding sauces and excellent desserts should be particularly praised. However, referring to comments we made during a cruise on the Seine Princess two years ago, we cannot understand that why today it is not possible to offer the choice of a light buffet at lunch instead a three or even four course menu! The always smiling and friendly Hungarian waitress was very caring and attentive, without forgetting the cabin hostess doing a great job in the cabins, the public spaces and even the kitchen. It wouldn’t be fair to name a single person as all members of the crew, without any exception, do all they can to make the cruise unforgettable. Our one-week cruise on the barge Ms Deborah enables us today to make the following comments: ~ a cruise on a barge cannot be compared to any other kind of cruise ~ despite all the comfort offered on modern barge, one must be very aware that life on board happens at a restraint space, requiring therefore much flexibility and understanding in all aspects from all passengers ~ in our case, being only 12 passengers, we had the opportunity to take our meals on the terrace. We also never had the feeling that the boat was overcrowded. This can be different when the ship is full, especially by bad weather ~ the state of mind between the passengers who are mostly of foreign nationalities, who don’t know each other and don’t speak French, must function well right from the beginning ~ if the interrelation works, it is difficult to find a more relaxing and enjoyable way of travelling ~ the success on a barge is mainly due on the quality of its crew. Ms Deborah’s crew members have quickly created a family spirit on board, showing also that they genuinely like what they do ~ excursions can play a major role in choosing an itinerary. Not speaking French or English can be a handicap Do we recommend to do a cruise on a barge? Yes, definitively! It’s affordable, the atmosphere on board is unique, the routes can be very interesting. In our case, this second try with CroisiEurope gives them a better note."

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Treasures of Spain and Portugal (Barcelona)
By Trafalgar
preferred
4.5/5 Excellent
100+ reviews
Group Tour
Why we love them
Their travelers enjoy 24/7 travel expertise and dedicated service throughout the trips - everything is taken care of.
Lodging level
Premium - 4 star
Physical level
Easy
Trip pace
Balanced schedule

Highlights

  • Seville: Enjoy a traditional Andalusian Be My Guest dinner and the charming company of the Morillo family. A welcome drink of sangria in their sun-dappled courtyard before learning how they produce olive oil.
  • Porto: Savour the flavours of Portugal's centuries-old Port heritage and gain insights into its local production at a tasting in a Port cellar.
  • Lisbon: Visit the Hieronymite Monastery, a former monastery of the Order of Saint Jerome and exquisite example of Manueline architecture.
  • Madrid: Drive through central Madrid and see some of the city's famous features during an orientation with your Travel Director.
  • Toledo: Explore this magnificent ancient city with your Local Specialist and visit the Church of Santo Tomé to see an El Greco masterpiece.
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Themes

50 plus, Cultural, Education / Learning, Small Ship Cruise

What travelers are saying

"Excellent service by **************, our travel director, for our Canadian Rockies trip on May 27 to June 2, 2024. A most memorable and exciting experience to see the beauty of the breathtaking and magnificent mountains, the Athabasca Glacier, and more!"

Trip dates & details
Save this trip to your favorites or other list
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Wonders of Britain and Ireland
4.2/5 Great
5 reviews
Group Tour
Why we love them
They have a high level of personalized attention and curated itineraries for Ireland & Scotland.
Lodging level
Premium - 4 star
Physical level
Easy
Trip pace
Balanced schedule

Highlights

  • : Explore Dublin and Edinburgh with a Local Specialist
  • : Discover Bath, Cardiff, Chester, York and Oxford
  • : Visit the ancient stone circle at Stonehenge, the Roman Baths in Bath, the Waterford Crystal Showroom, Blarney Castle to kiss the stone, the Rock of Cashel, Gretna Green, Edinburgh Castle, Alnwick, Shakespeare's Birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon and one of the famous colleges of Oxford (when open)
  • : View the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Alnwick Castle - the home to Harry Potter amp;amp; Hogwarts, York Minster, Anne Hathaway's thatched cottage and Sir Winston Churchill's grave at Bladon
  • : See St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Georgian Squares in Dublin and the Lake District's magnificent scenery
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Themes

50 plus, Cultural, Education / Learning, Small Ship Cruise

What travelers are saying

"We just went on Iconic Ireland and Ashford Castle and had a wonderful time. This was our first bus tour and we didn't know quite what to expect, however, we couldn't have had a more perfect time. Ireland is a beautiful country and we were stunned and thrilled with all the beauty we were able to see. The hotels were great - some definitely better than others but all were comfortable. My only complaint was that our last hotel had no ac and Ireland was experiencing a heat wave so the fan didn't help very much. That wasn't anyone's fault and I just went with the flow. Barbara (our guide) and Marina (our driver) were great and genuinely seemed to be concerned with everyone's comfort. The grande finale of Ashford Castle was incredible. Such a beautiful place and to be able to stay a night there was incredible. I ended up doing the Hawk Walk and horseback riding and I would recommend both - especially the hawk walk to anyone - I think people who are good riders would probably get to do more than we did but it was still great. I would recommend Brendan and this trip to anyone. Perfect amount of down time and activity. Loved it!"

Trip dates & details
Save this trip to your favorites or other list
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Small Ship & Expedition Cruises Reviews & Ratings

4.6/5  Excellent
4,576  Reviews
See all Small Ship & Expedition Cruises tour reviews
Excellent
1,132
Great
449
Average
98
Disappointing
26
Terrible
8
V

Victoria Blacklock

Jun 2024

Written on

Britain and Ireland Highlights

Overall it was fabulous ! A little too much coach time but in saying that I should have realized this would be the case with the amount of sites and countries we wer...

T

Trusted Customer

Jun 2024

Written on

Britain and Ireland Highlights

We needed more time in between stops. We had little to no time for lunch on many occasions. I believe more thought should be given to current iternary. Other than t...

T

Trusted Customer

Jun 2024

Written on

Britain and Ireland Highlights

Trip needs an additional 2 days added to ensure less time on the bus - which one day was 14 hours, minimum stop time at sites 1.5 hours maximum. Please be aware of ...

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Small Ship & Expedition Cruises Tour Selection Trips

  • Expect to meet and mingle with many or even most of your fellow passengers on small ships, which may carry anywhere from 12 to 200 passengers.
  • Think about the activities you’d most like to enjoy during your small-ship cruise. Are you looking for wildlife viewing, culture, history, walking tours?
  • Once you know what activities you’d like to accomplish during your small-ship cruise, this will narrow down your destinations.
  • Then, once you have your small-ship cruise destination picked out, research what is the best time to visit that region. For example, if you want to see whales in Alaska, look for summer cruises. Hankering for a once-in-a-lifetime cruise to Antarctica? The best time to cruise to the south pole is November to March.
  • Consider your personal comfort needs aboard your small cruise ship. Expedition cruise ships are smaller and provide ample deck space and large accommodations, while mid-size cruise ships have an ambience more akin to a small yacht, while still offering considerable deck space and large rooms.
  • If your small-ship cruise vessel is a modestly sized yacht or sailboat, expect only about 8 to 40 guests, smaller cabins, not as many public spaces and, in general, more time ashore.
  • Consider how active you want to be during your small-ship cruise and ensure that the cruise line carries enough equipment and offers enough shore excursions to fit your interest and ability. Do they offer zodiacs for off-ship wildlife viewing? Are there opportunities to snorkel or stand-up paddleboard in tropical waters? How many times a day are off-ship excursions offered, how long are the excursions and are there different levels of exertion?
  • Without the economies of scale that large cruise ships can take advantage of, many small-ship cruises are more expensive than megaships.
  • As with any cruise, find out what extras (gratuities, shore excursions, alcoholic beverages, etc.) are or are not included in the price.
  • Depending on the activities you want to do during your small-ship cruise, find out who will be onboard with you in terms of guides, workshop leaders, naturalists and destination experts. Some small-ship cruise lines offer partnerships with the national parks you are visiting, ensuring that the guides receive ample training, or even with National Geographic.
  • Think about who you are cruising with and ensure that your small ship has the appropriate accommodations styles to meet your needs.
  • If you or your travel companions are prone to seasickness -- more common on small ships than large --  come prepared with some form of medication or other preventative measures

Additional details

Preparing for a Long Cruise

You’re headed out on that long-awaited small-ship cruise, thankful that, in large part, all the logistics of your cruise have been planned out for you, and that you’ll only have to unpack and repack one time.

To get the most of your small-ship cruise experience, particularly a cruise in the 7- to 10-day range, we offer the following suggestions to make sure you’ll fully prepared.

1. Pack prudently. Notice we didn’t say “lightly.” No one will fault you for bringing that extra warm layer if you’re cruising to Alaska or a spare pair of sunglasses if you’re small-ship sailing in the Mediterranean.

Simply pack prudently, keeping in mind that cruise ships have rooms that are typically smaller than hotel rooms - the upside of small-ship cruising, however, is that because the guest number is lower, the room sizes are often more spacious than you’ll find on a mega-ship. Still, pack what you need to stay comfortable, stay warm, not get sunburned, etc.

2. Check the weather in your cruise destination. Further to the packing suggestion, do be sure to consider the weather where you are sailing. Is it the rainy season? Particularly windy? Be sure to bring along a rain jacket, umbrella and sunblock - no matter where your small ship is sailing.

3. Ask about your small ship’s electrical specs. If you’re headed into international waters on your cruise, there may be alternate electrical standards than what US-based ships have. You’ll want to know this before you get on board … to avoid the severe disappointment of realizing you won’t be able to charge your phone.

4. Find out what costs extra. Most small-ship cruises are all-inclusive to avoid nickel-and-diming guests for every little thing. That being said, it’s a good idea to check on the prices for anything that might be deemed “extra,” e.g., shore excursions, watersports equipment rental, guide/driver services, beverages (both alcoholic and nonalcoholic) and spa treatments. It’s always a good idea to bring a little cash along.

5. List packing essentials. That extra pair of sunglasses we mentioned above isn’t necessarily essential, but there will be items needed on your small-ship cruise that it’s best to bring from home.

Everyday items - if forgotten - can be hard to find and expensive in foreign ports, especially the smaller places accessed by small cruise ships.

Think about and list items such as over-the-counter medication, insect repellent, batteries, feminine hygiene items, toothpaste, sunblock, etc. Ask about which toiletries are included in the cabin of your small ship.

6. Ask about accessibility on board your small ship cruise. Your small-ship cruise tour operator will be able to tell you about the layout of your ship and if there are narrow stairwells, steep gangways, uneven surfaces and more. If these are physically challenging for you, you can be prepared. Ask, also, about what active excursions are available and train for them as necessary.

7. Check in with your insurance company. Small-ship adventure cruises brings with it the opportunity for activities you don’t normally participate in - think kayaking, ice trekking, diving, biking). Give your health insurance company a call and find out what they cover while traveling; if you’re not satisfied, consider travel insurance, which may include emergency evacuation.

8. Plan for emergencies. OK, so it’s not the first thing we want to think of when we’re daydreaming about our much-anticipated small-ship cruise. Just in case you’re waylaid in a remote port, it’s a good idea to write down your cruise line’s main number, some information for local hotels in your ports of call, extra medication and a supply of snacks.

Packing for a Small-Ship Cruise

It’s almost time for your small-ship cruise … which means it’s time to pack! What at first may seem like a daunting task - because, after all, you’ll be at sea the majority of the time and when ashore, will be in small, more remote areas of your destination, so it won’t be easy to just go out and buy something you forgot.

Small-ship cruise operators can provide you with suggested packing lists and you’ll find plenty of suggestions online.

Here, a few essentials to start:

  • Sensible shoes (sturdy sandals, water shoes, hiking boots/shoes, sneakers, slippers for onboard)
  • Raincoat
  • Umbrella
  • Sunblock
  • Warm hat and sun hat
  • Outerwear appropriate for your destination
  • Passport or passport card
  • Necessary electrical chargers and/or adaptors
  • Detailed itinerary notes (and packing lists!) provided by your small-ship cruise company
  • Vital medications
  • Stainless-steel water bottle
  • Daypack
  • Flashlight
  • Hiking poles
  • Snorkeling equipment
  • Photographic equipment

Age Range on Small-Ship Cruises

Small-ship cruises hit all the right notes for the 20-something set. Newly minted in the workforce and possibly tight on vacation time, younger cruisers with an adventurous spirit can get more bang for their buck and sail in and out of tiny ports and up close to glaciers in wildlife, whether they’re sailing the Mediterranean or tackling Arctic seas.

Families with kids and parents in their 30s and 40s enjoy small-ship cruises because these expeditions are the whole package - self-contained, full of activity and rich with learning opportunities. The itineraries on small ships are often flexible and maybe even customizable and feature ports with far fewer crowds than the big ships.

It’s a lot easier to get on and off the boat, so families with young kids don’t have to wait endlessly in line to go ashore for the day’s excursion. In fact, much of the exploring from a small-ship cruise is done directly from the boat, via kayak or zodiac.

Your 40s and 50s - wild nightlife a thing of the past, let’s be honest - may also be a fantastic time to get more adventurous in your travels or try more unusual types of cruise - perhaps a masted ship in the Caribbean or a rugged icebreaker bound for Antarctica. Forego the flashy evening entertainment in favor of expert naturalist guides and historians who will enrich your cruise and the ability to sail in and out of interesting ports aboard your small ship.

Those in the 70-plus age range should research small-ship cruise companies carefully as many of the ships are, well, smaller and more unique in design, and use tenders to get cruises on and offshore for excursions. Mobility and accessibility can be an issue, so be sure to ask ahead about facilities on small-ship cruises.

Who Will Enjoy Small-Ship Cruises

Small-ship cruising might be for you if:

1. You like choices. Not only does the smaller, more nimble size of a small cruise ship make it possible to visit more remote destinations around the world, but once there, even your cruise itinerary may be flexible.

See a family of sea lions sunning on a rock in the Sea of Cortez? Ask the captain if he can pause of an hour or two while you and other guests venture out by sea kayak to take a closer look.

Follow a pod of whales off the coast of Norway? Sit for hours under the Northern Lights? Once ashore from your small ship, there are ample choices as well, for difficulty level of hikes and walks to interests, from local museums to market shopping. Fewer people on the small ship makes it that much easier to customize excursions to personal interests.

2. You want to disconnect. Small-ship sailing usually means you’re in a more remote location than on a large cruise ship … which means you may have no choice but to disconnect given spotty cell service and WiFi. Take advantage of the down time to really disconnect and step away from devices, reconnecting instead with each other and the destination or wilderness you’re seeing, likely for the first time.

3. Want to make some new friends. Love to bond with birders? Go back in time with other history buffs? Hike with mountain-lovers? Small-ship cruising means sailing, for the most part, with like-minded guests, those who have chosen this destination for the same reasons you have: wildlife sightings, wine country, culture, once-in-a-lifetime Arctic adventures and more. Shared experiences with these new friends will quickly become some of your favorite cruise memories.

4. Want to learn something new. From naturalists to historians to photographers, small-ship cruise companies employ regional and subject experts who get to know the guests intimated and can keep everyone, from kids to older travelers, engaged and educated about their destination.

Learn about conservation in the Galapagos, how to use an undersea camera when snorkeling, discover the geography of Greenland’s ice cap and follow a wildlife photographer into the jungle to glimpse rhinos in Indonesia.

Coping with Seasickness on a Small-Ship Cruise

Mal de mer, which rolls off the tongue quite eloquently, is the dreaded squeamish feeling of seasickness. And it might be the sole reason you haven’t yet embarked on a small-ship cruises. Rest assured, if you have your sights set on sailing under the Northern Lights or diving into the Galapagos, there are remedies that can help you get where you’re dreaming of going. A few favorite seasickness tips and tricks:

  • Pack common seasickness remedies. This includes ginger chews or gummies, wristbands, tablets and patches.
  • See the cruise doc. If you’ve run out of remedies from home, pay a visit to the doctor on staff on your small-ship voyage. She will usually have plenty of seasickness medication to distribute to ailing guests.
  • Stay above deck as much as possible. Try not to go below deck for any extended period of time. If you do, and want to look out at the scenery, look out a window or porthole with your gaze on the horizon.
  • Cut short your binocular time. As much as you’ll want to stare for hours at those polar bears or waddling penguins, extended binocular use can bring on seasickness.

Stay hydrated and fed. Drink plenty of water and don’t go about on an empty stomach. Pack extra snacks from home (granola bars, dried fruit, nuts) so you’ll always have something to grab.

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