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A GUIDE TO SMALL SHIP AND RIVER CRUISING 

Smaller ships can squeeze into the nooks and crannies of the world that larger, mass market vessels cannot reach, bringing a more intimate and individual feel to your cruise. This means you can experience lesser known and explored destinations in sociable surroundings more reminiscent of a relaxed private club.

River journeys, exploratory voyages and small ship adventures to destinations off-the-beaten-track present extraordinary alternatives to mainstream and larger resort style ships. 

River: By their very nature, riverboats need to be smaller and more compact, generally accommodating only 200 or so guests maximum. They offer a different pace and feel to ocean cruises, with a more relaxed atmosphere complemented by fixed dining and shared tables at mealtimes. Think of it as a floating city break as riverboats generally dock in city centres while passing through beautiful scenery in-between.

Adventure: Sailings on stately tall ships, smaller boats and expeditionary vessels are an ideal way to delve into the world’s most offbeat destinations and spot spectacular wildlife. Discover the best sites to view polar bears, to meet indigenous tribe people or follow in the footsteps of legendary explorers. Adventure cruising can take you to places other ships cannot reach – and sometimes with just a small group of passengers per voyage.

  

AmaWaterways

Award-winning river cruise line AmaWaterways continues to build upon our industry lead with a fleet of 15 custom-designed vessels in Europe, Russia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Africa. We continue to lead the way in river cruising by providing innovative luxurious ship designs featuring step-out and French balconies, premium stateroom amenities and warm, personalized service.

APT River Cruises

Discover the delights along the world's great waterways aboard one of APT's luxury river ships. Unpack only once & enjoy your floating boutique hotel, where the next great destination appears at your doorstep. Travel the waterways that were the lifelines for early explorers, settlers, farmers and traders. Today travel in comfort and style - waking up each morning in a new place, ready to discover new sights! Leave your cares and concerns behind as our dedicated Cruise Directors ensure your holiday is hassle-free.

Arctic Bound

The Arctic region is becoming more and more accessible, so it is important to decide where you want to go and what you want to see and do. At Arctic Bound, we have extensive knowledge of the Arctic region and Arctic cruise and expedition ships and we are able to offer you Arctic holidays to suit your exact requirements. We have Arctic cruises to Svalbard and Spitsbergen, Greenland and the Canadian Arctic, including the fabled North-West Passage, Alaska, the Russian Far East and the White Sea.

Aqua Firma

A voyage to the Polar Regions is a true wilderness and wildlife journey of a lifetime.  Aqua-Firma's Polar Voyages to Arctic Spitsbergen, Greenland, Antarctica and the Sub-Antarctic islands of South Georgia and the Falklands are operated on some of the smallest expedition ships, sailing yachts and tall ships afloat. These vessels carry between 12 and 114 people, ensuring that your experience is intimate and memorable, with as much time as possible spent exploring on shore. Rigid inflatable boats are our landing craft and from motor ships we can use them to carry small groups to impressive glacier fronts, explore majestic icebergs and provide for close up observations of the incredible wildlife of the polar seas.

Avalon Waterways

Avalon Waterways offers a first class river cruising experience with the highest level of comfort and personalised service aboard its contemporary, award winning fleet of ships. Choose from one of the exciting 5 to 24 day Avalon Waterways cruises on the Danube, Main, Rhine, Moselle, Rhône, Seine, Dutch Waterways, Nile, Mississippi, Galápagos, Amazon, Mekong and Yangtze rivers between March and December. Avalon cruises offer a luxurious on board experience with elegant dining, spacious suites and large outside staterooms with full-sized en suite bathrooms. In addition, most staterooms on board our European Avalon cruises feature floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows (unique to Avalon Waterways), providing the best views of beautiful landscapes, famous landmarks and spectacular sights as you cruise. 

Celebrity Xpedition

Sailing to the legendary Galapagos Islands, the intimate Celebrity Xpedition® offers an experience that is halfway between a cosmopolitan cruise and an intrepid explorer’s voyage. Enjoy the inviting atmosphere, luxurious interior a thrilling sense of adventure.

CroisiEurope

CroisiEurope River Cruises, Europe’s largest river cruise company is a family run business, building, owning and operating 29 elegant ships, with average capacity of 50 to 80 cabins. These prestigious river cruise ships are designed for intimacy. Each ship has excellent on-board facilities, combining a sophisticated “Francophile” lifestyle with enjoyable and informative itineraries and – of course – panoramic views from cabins, lounges and sundecks, delivers just that.

Croisieurope seeks out creative itineraries, from continental cruises to weekend breaks, from untouched country panoramas and cultural sites to lazy days in the Med, Croisieurope will have the perfect cruise for you.

Cruise The Galapagos 

The Galapagos Islands are an amazing place for a holiday. The most popular way to see them is on a cruise as this allows you to get around several islands to see the different flora and fauna that is spread across the archipelago. The most popular length of cruise is 8 days but there are also other cruise lengths available from 4 days through to two weeks. It is also possible to stay in hotels on the islands and do day trips out to different visitor sites. But bear in mind that you will not get all the way out to the distant islands and back within a day trip. Island hopping itineraries give you the opportunity to stay on more than one island and to do different activities and go to a wider range of different visitor sites. 

Discover the World - Arctic Cruise Holidays

Our collection of small ship voyages to this incredible region includes parts of Canada, Greenland and the Svalbard archipelago. Deep fjords, ancient glaciers and rugged mountains make up the landscape, whilst the icy Arctic Ocean is home to a startling wealth of marine life just waiting to be discovered. The other big draw for most visitors to the Arctic is the chance to see the mighty polar bear in its natural habitat. The largest land predators on earth, polar bears are regularly sighted during voyages.

Discover the World - Antarctica Cruise Holidays

From its extraordinary wildlife and breathtaking scenery to the relics of a fascinating history of science and exploration, the vast ‘White Continent’ of Antarctic has undeniable appeal. This immense landmass lies under a permanent cover of ice and snow, and features dramatic mountain ranges cut by ancient glaciers that spill out into a spectacular coastline. Experiencing a stunning Antarctic cruise is the pinnacle of travel for many people.

Discover Egypt

To fully discover the ancient wonders of Egypt, a cruise on the River Nile is truly an unforgettable experience. The Nile River has been Egypt's lifeline since ancient times and there is no better way to trace the passage of Egypt's history than to follow the course of the Nile. Nile cruises operate between Luxor and Aswan and are enjoyable and comfortable way to enjoy the ancient sites of Upper Egypt. Each day gives you every opportunity to explore new sights or simply enjoy a different view. 

English Holiday Cruises

Did you know that there is a wide variety of cruise holidays available in and around the UK? There are some great advantages of cruising closer to home, from high-end luxury cruisers in the Western Isles through a ‘Rhine-Style’ cruiser on the River Severn to  wide-beam ‘Hotel Boats’ on our historic Canals and Rivers. 

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Although it may appear as if the entire world has been explored, genuine discoveries are still possible. With small, manoeuvrable expedition ships such as the HANSEATIC and the BREMEN, you will experience pristine regions that are to be found off the beaten track, but also supposedly familiar climes such as the Baltic Sea or the Mediterranean. Cruises with the HANSEATIC and the BREMEN always retain the character of an expedition. Welcome to genuine discoveries.

Noble Caledonia

The selection of river cruises includes journeys along the major rivers of Europe, Russia and China aboard vessels accommodating from 100-200 passengers.  Expedition cruises offer visits to out of the way destinations and will appeal to the more adventurous and those who enjoy the natural world.  Small ship cruises offer comprehensive itineraries, normally concentrating on a particular area or theme.  The itinerary is paramount and the small size of the vessels means that you will be able to visit places that larger vessels cannot go.

PONANT

For over 25 years, Ponant has been offering incredible voyages - travel that is authentic, luxurious and refined. With stunning destinations including, Alaska, South America, The Arctic, The Far East, Antarctica, The Mediterranean and Australasia - Ponant create some of the most distinctive cruise itineraries available anywhere. 

This year, the new ship, Le Lyrial, will launch in May 2015,  increasing the fleet to 4 ultra modern motor vessels and one three masted sailing ship. The 'sister ships' - L'Austral, Le Boréal, Le Soléal and Le Lyrial are beautifully designed and create an atmosphere of refined elegance, with a capacity of just 262 guests. These human-size ships offer attentive service, gourmet cuisine and from Summer 2015 an "Open Bar" whereby all drinks will be unlimited and complimentary.

With a focus on cutting edge technology and a responsible approach towards the environment, Ponant has fitted its vessels with efficient "green" equipment and as a result has been awarded the international "Grren Ship" label. So whether you choose to cruise on a five star expedition to the stunning Antarctic region, or simply want to enjoy the delights of the treasures of Europe's coastline - you can rest assured that you will be able to access exceptional sites while being as respectful as possible to the environment. 

Ponant is the only french flag cruise company and so wherever the cruise, you will always find the exceptional conditions of comfort, service and elegance that are the hallmarks of Ponant. 

The Small Ship Cruise Collection

Small Ships - Big Experiences. There was a time, not long ago, when almost all cruises were just that, a cruise past wonderful destinations. The last twenty years or so has witnessed an immense and wonderful evolution in small ship cruising and today travellers have thousands of options. If you share our philosophy and have decided that resort style vessels accommodating thousands of passengers is definitely not your type of holiday, then let us help you choose a perfect small ship cruise holiday. You will discover that majority of our ships range from only 8 to 150 passengers. So no round the clock buffets and long lines waiting to pay extra for your shore excursion, just good old-fashion exploring a destination with a small group of inquiring travellers.

SeaDream Yacht Club

“It’s yachting, not cruising” Enjoy the difference. SeaDream Yacht Club is different from big ship cruising. Our philosophy of casual perfection runs through everything we do. With only 56 couples being pampered by an award-winning crew of 95, the level of attention and service we pay to each of our guests makes yachting aboard either one of our mega-yachts SeaDream I or SeaDream II feel as if you are on your own private yacht. Be as active or as relaxed as you like and take in the ultimate in luxury, privacy and pampering.

Seafarer Cruises

We at Seafarer are widely recognised as leading specialists in yachting holidays and small ship cruises. We have been trading since 1995 and have accumulated a wealth of experience in this specialised field, with detailed knowledge of the cruise vessels and mega yachts we feature as well as the destinations visited. We can therefore give you the best guidance and advise on choosing the right cruise holiday for you. Many of the holidays we feature are exclusive to Seafarer and we are the UK general sales agents for some of the leading specialist cruise operators featured, such as Variety Cruises and Dream Yacht Catamaran Cruises.

Star Clippers

Star Clippers operate three of the world's largest and tallest sailing vessels.  Visiting ports often untouched by larger cruise ships and offering passengers the activities, amenities and atmosphere of a private yacht.  The ships currently sail throughout the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Costa Rica.

Swan Hellenic

For those who know Swan Hellenic, a cruise aboard the newly refurbished Minerva is the ultimate in well-planned and meticulously executed discovery cruising. With more than 50 years’ experience this British company has perfected the art of small ship discovery cruising to a point where every cruise delights, surprises and satisfies curious minds – and where you can be assured of travelling in comfort and style, backed up by high standards of service from friendly staff in our UK office and on board Minerva.

Uniworld River Cruises

Experience the best on a Uniworld River Cruise in partnership with Titan Travel. A Uniworld River Cruise has everything you would expect from travelling by boat, beautiful views, fantastic service and an interesting and varied itinerary, but with five-star luxury that takes the experience to the next level.

Variety Cruises

Variety Cruises is the world’s largest small ships cruise company and has been offering passengers worldwide a total yachting experience since 1949. Our fleet of 11 fully-owned vessels varies in size from 4 to 36 cabins accomodating up to just 72 guests. Our yachts and staff provide an intimate and relaxed environment; a comfort filled starting point for the discerning travelers as they visit well known and unique ports of call. Variety Cruises experiential itineraries embrace each destinaton by allowing guests ample leisure time in each port to discover the local nightlife, culinary traditions and culture. Our yachts dock right in the heart of the destination and offer multiple swim stops right off the vessels in secluded bays, always combining the world's most famous destinations with the off-the-beaten track locales inaccessible to large cruise ships. Fine locally-flavored cuisine, an ever-growing number of exciting itineraries blending well known ports of call with off-the-beaten track locales, and personalized service are just a few of the things that have made Variety Cruises the choice for the fast-growing number of travelers looking for distinctive small ship cruise experiences. Variety Cruises offers 13 scheduled cruise itineraries in 2015 through 2016, in Continental Historical Greece and the Greek Islands, Greek Islands and Turkey, the Seychelles, Madagascar and it's Mozambique Channel Islands, Costa Rica and the Panama including a Panama Canal transit, Cuba, Cape Verde archipelago, the Canary Islands and the Red Sea.

Viking River Cruises

Glide along the majestic Danube. Sail the Main or Moselle, and discover the heart of Europe by cruising the Rhine. There is no more relaxing or rewarding way to see the world than from its great rivers. And there is no better river cruise line than Viking.

If you’d like to travel further afield, let Viking show you the real Russia. From St. Petersburg to Moscow, sail the Waterways of the Tsars and see all the highlights of this remarkable land. Or explore China and its many treasures: the Great Wall, Forbidden Palace, Terracotta Warriors and Three Gorges. Combining hotel stays and deluxe cruising along the Yangtze, our China cruises offer the best of both worlds. Likewise, Vietnam and Cambodia are best explored on Viking’s cruise and stay holiday, the Magnificent Mekong. 

Voyages of Discovery

When you choose to cruise with Voyages of Discovery you are choosing to discover the world your way and setting sail on the adventure of a lifetime. We have created journeys that you’ll never forget to incredible destinations all over the world, from exotic and tropical shores to ancient and historic ports. Wherever you go, our small ship Voyager takes you to the heart of your destination in comfort and stays in port longer so you can explore not only the iconic sites but also the off-the-beaten-track treasures. 

Voyages to Antiquity

CRUISE THE ANCIENT WORLD. Combining the comfort of boutique-style cruising with the best of cultural travel, Voyages to Antiquity offers an opportunity to explore the natural wonders and historic treasures of the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia. The meticulously planned itineraries, celebrated guest speakers, and included shore excursions will bring to life the fascinating natural & historic sites along the stunning coastlines of Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia.

Wildfoot Galapagos Wildlife Adventures

The best way to experience the Galapagos Islands is on a small vessel with expert naturalist guides, skippers, crew and catering staff. With Wildfood Travel the atmosphere is very friendly and informal, so you can expect a brilliant wildlife cruise experience which is fun and relaxing. Our vessels are unique in size, style and quality ranging from Adventure Class offering a budget package to Ultra Luxury with the highest standard or service. We offer incredible wildlife experiences with an emphasis on adventure to include snorkeling, hiking, kayaking and scuba diving. 

Zambezi Queen

The beautiful Zambezi Queen was specifically designed for safari river cruising on the Chobe River and offers a sophisticated design to maximize animal sightings. Enjoy game watching from your stateroom, or visit the top deck for a beverage, sun bathing and more game watching. Peruse the library of books, enjoy a board game and explore the riverbanks of the Chobe River on the Zambezi Queen. 

Zegrahm Expeditions

The allure of small-ship cruises is the flexibility and ease with which we are able to navigate some of the most fascinating destinations on Earth, including remote islands and narrow fjords inaccessible by larger ship. To this end, we have chartered the select vessels below from the best fleets in the world for our small-ship voyages—using the highest standards and providing you with the very best experience. All of the vessels we charter offer lovely oceanview staterooms and have access to myriad amenities, including a dining room, library, lounge, observation area, fleet of Zodiacs for excursions ashore, and more.