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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Emerald Waterways represent a new chapter in the world of river cruising. Our deluxe fleet of revolutionary Star-Ships promise contemporary comfort and unique on-board innovations, while our generous fully-inclusive offering combines affordability with great dining, exceptional service and immersive itineraries across Europe and France. We take great pride in ensuring every journey is perfectly planned, and each guest enjoys a relaxing, exciting and insightful river cruise experience, whether you’re sailing aboard our award-winning fleet or exploring a nearby town for the day.
We cruise the Rhine, Main, Danube, Saône and Rhône rivers, with journeys ranging from eight to 17 days. Once integral trade and transportation routes are now gateways to cultural enlightenment, and there’s no finer way to navigate these treasured landmarks than on board Europe’s newest fleet of river cruise ships. From the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, fairy-tale castles and grandiose cathedrals of mainland Europe, to France’s laid-back rural southern region where a sleepy way of life dominates the water’s edge; explore our collection of river cruises today and take the first step in embarking on the journey of a lifetime.
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.
eWaterways currently offers the largest selection of small ship cruises from around the world, featuring an incredible array of cruise destinations on vessels of all shapes and sizes. From restored rice junkets in Thailand, to nuclear powered ice breakers in the Antarctic; from luxury hotel barges in France, to fabulously appointed river cruisers on the Rhine, we have every type of vessel under the sun. See European rivers (from the North Sea to the Black Sea); the dramatic fjords of Scandinavia; the effortlessly scenic Mediterranean; relax on inland canal vacations; explore on expedition cruises around the Galapagos Islands, the Amazon and even the polar regions, or simply experience the delights of paradise aboard a luxury cruise to French Polynesia, the Maldives or the Caribbean. We have the perfect small ship cruise to suit your holiday needs.
Sea-ing is believing. There’s adventure aplenty out there beyond the shore, but unless you’ve got gills or flippers, you’ll need a ship to find them. G Adventure Marine tours are designed for travellers of all stripes, from experienced cruisers and sailors to landlubbers who’ve never set foot on a boat. And they go just about everywhere there’s water. If you can float there, you can go there.
The Marine program covers all aspects of ship-borne travel, from nature-focused adventures in the Galápagos and the polar regions to sailing trips in Thailand, the Maldives, and Europe. Get to the places you’d otherwise miss and get closer to the things that make them worth visiting than you ever dreamed possible.
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.
Luxury, small ship cruising as individual as you...
The word unique is greatly overused these days, but Hebridean Princess is undoubtedly one of a kind. A Hebridean cruise, as some of you will already know, is truly unforgettable; in a world where mediocre standards are all too common you will be assured of the best of service from a hand-picked crew, for whom supreme attention to detail is the norm. The majority of our guests are repeat travellers and their trust and confidence are not easily won. We work hard to ensure that a Hebridean Princess cruise is the most relaxing, stress-free and therapeutic experience you will ever enjoy – until of course, you find yourself back on board for a subsequent visit.
We believe it is simply not possible to look after large numbers of guests properly and give them the really personal service that differentiates an extraordinary holiday from a merely good one. That is why, on Hebridean Princess, you will find only 50 like-minded souls and no fewer than 38 crew to look after you.
Hurtigruten is a daily passenger and freight shipping service along Norway's western and northern coast between Bergen and Kirkenes. Hurtigruten is sometimes referred to as the Norwegian Coastal Express. The 11 coastal ships sails almost the entire length of the country, completing the round-trip journey from Bergen to Kirkenes and back again in 12 days, calling 34 ports. The trip along the Norwegian coast is has been described as the "World's Most Beautiful Sea Voyage."Hurtigruten's explorer ships MS Fram, MS Midnatsol and MS Nordstjernen offer Explorer voyages to Antarctica, Greenland, Iceland, Spitsbergen and Europe. In addition MS Midnatsol crosses the Atlantic Ocean twice every year.
An unforgettable journey. Enjoy the breathtaking nature of Iceland and Greenland aboard the Ocean Diamond. The super yacht Ocean Diamond is the ideal ship for expeditions in the Arctic region. Due to the ship’s compact size, we can take passengers to places off the traditional cruise routes to experience all the highlights of both Iceland and Greenland. With a maximum of 224 passengers, the Ocean Diamond features a range of modern onboard amenities and is staffed with outstanding officers and crew, as well as bilingual expedition leaders and guides. The 109 cabins and suites, all of them elegantly designed, offer modern amenities and exterior views. The ship’s own Zodiacs are available for shore excursions. After a busy day of exploration, passengers can browse books or DVDs in the well-stocked Polar library or enjoy views of the spectacular Arctic scenery from the panorama salon.
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.
Yacht Cruises & Expeditions.
PONANT offers to you chic cruising without the crowds: experience the comfort of a private cruise onboard vessels of an intimate size, exclusive to between 64 to 264 guests. Each of our cruise ships has elegant and uncluttered interiors, delight in the fun and casual elegance onboard without the formalities. Crew members, all versed in elegant discretion, will see to it that you enjoy a welcome that will make your cruise a unique experience. You will savor an exquisite dining with French and international cuisine, with complimentary wines included at lunch and dinner.
During your cruise aboard one of our ships, discover exceptional sites and come closed to landscapes so often inaccessible to large ships. Enjoy also seminars with international experts, passionate about their subjects, giving a further dimension to the sights you see. PONANT offers to you an alternative to many other traditional cruise lines: discover the world with French chic and elegance.
Poseidon Expeditions is one of the leading providers of polar expeditions in the cruise industry. Founded in 1999, the company is a recognized leader in icebreaker cruises to the North Pole, the Arctic and Antarctica. With the 116-passenger Sea Spirit, Poseidon expanded its offerings to include deluxe expedition cruises to Antarctica, and to the Arctic destinations of Svalbard, Greenland, Franz Josef Land and Iceland. With representations and offices in the UK, US, Germany, Cyprus, Russia, and China, the company markets it travel programs worldwide.
Since 1991, Quark Expeditions has specialized in expedition cruising to the Arctic and Antarctica, in ships with ice-strengthened hulls or in icebreakers. Polar travelers will enjoy unparalleled technical expertise, leadership and passion for expedition trips to the Arctic and Antarctica.We have the largest and most diverse fleet of adventure ships in the Antarctic and Arctic. Travelers choose from more departures and a greater variety of itineraries than is available anywhere else. Within the fleet is the only nuclear-powered icebreaker - 50 Years of Victory - sailing to the North Pole. Every ship is equipped with Zodiacs - inflatable landing craft - for shore transfers and ocean-level cruising.
Our Polar Adventure Ships are platforms for optional sea-kayaking, camping, mountaineering and cross-country skiing. Their small size enables them to sail channels and bays through which our icebreakers cannot sail. The ability to get close to landscapes and wildlife make these vessels extraordinary base camps for photographers.
The secret to a Scenic river cruise is simple – everything's included. From the moment you step on board your luxurious Scenic Space-Ship you rarely, if ever, have to dip into your wallet to pay for anything. And with flexible itineraries that give you the freedom to pick and choose how you spend your time ashore, you can explore on your own terms.
We have over 28 years' experience in hand-crafting unforgettable holidays for the most discerning travellers. Our award-winning reputation, state-of-the-art fleet and unique all-inclusive service makes us the ultimate river cruise line. Sail the classic rivers of Europe, like the Rhine, Main and Danube; explore the culinary and artistic heart of France on our Saône, Rhône, Seine, Garonne and Dordogne cruises; or bask in the sun-kissed beauty of Portugal’s Douro.
An expedition with Silversea luxury cruises is unlike any other form of travel — thrilling, awe-inspiring and humbling all at the same time. It takes you to some of the most remote regions of the planet and shows them to you intimately. It is for the curious traveller who longs to see an orang-utan in the wild or what lies behind the next mountain ridge. But it’s not just about wildlife or mountains. It’s about immersing yourself in the culture, landscape and habitat of a region with the help of experts who can illuminate all you see. From the lush rainforests of the equatorial Pacific to the polar extremes at the very edge of the world, our expedition ships sail to all seven continents. You can explore pelagic wonderlands, admire volcanic plateaus gushing with geysers, or enter the realm of the Polar Bear. But no matter where you go, you’ll enjoy a uniquely immersive experience, expanding your global perspective and prompting you to re-evaluate what really matters. And rest assured- no creature comfort will be denied on an expedition cruise with Silversea.
Yacht and Expeditionary Small Ship Cruising.
The difference in Tauck's small ship cruising lies in the choreography – the combination of personalized cruising with cultural land exploration. From the moment you step ashore, our 90+ years of expertise on land ensures that on every moment of your shore excursions (all included in the price) count! Small ship cruising means more personal attention from the captain and the crew – you'll find the on-board atmosphere to be both club-like and comfortable. The pace is more relaxed, the conversations are richer, and the day-to-day experiences are shared with like-minded travelers.
Tauck River Cruises
How you see the world matters... and on Tauck’s river cruises, you can expect to see the sights a bit differently than you would with anyone else. We explore Europe’s great waterways from the Rhine and the Danube to the French Rivers, Rhône and Seine. Our luxurious riverboats are spacious and comfortable, welcoming you to an onboard experience characterized by the Tauck Difference – all-inclusive river cruises featuring personalized cruising enhanced by those "little Tauck touches;" our intimate, club-like atmosphere onboard, and the uncommon access to exclusive cultural experiences on our included excursions ashore, ensuring experiences as memorable as the places you visit... not simply what other travellers see and do. We also feature special Solo Traveler Savings on all of our river cruises; have a special program for group travel; and are the only river cruise line with dedicated multi-generational family cruises. We invite you to explore our cruises and find the one that’s perfect for you… and discover river cruises that go beyond the ordinary...
Unpack, relax and let the sights come to you — that’s all you need to do on one of our river cruises, as we glide from country to country, along spectacular rivers and waterways. Aboard our floating hotels, everything is taken care of: delicious meals, evening entertainment and first-class service, along with the space to relax and enjoy the views. When we step ashore you can join our organised excursions or simply explore at your leisure. With our latest collection you can choose from 30 itineraries to 16 countries throughout Europe, and we have a selection of ships including our small and friendly flagship the mps Lady Anne and our premier 4-star ship the ms Serenity. But what makes our river cruises so special is the wonderful sense of camaraderie on board, which not only makes for a good atmosphere, but also sparks new friendships that will last a lifetime.
Small Ships - Huge Choice. The largest collection of small ship cruises worldwide. Around 100 small ships that sail to most corners of the world's seas and oceans. 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.
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.
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 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.
Nothing compares to a river. How else but on a river can you journey into the very heart of the world’s greatest cities and most charming towns, discovering the true nature of the land and its people? Where else but on a river could you be gently carried along on an elegant, intimate ship, docking right in the heart of town, strolling off to begin your exploration? How else but on a river would you travel with such ease, unpacking just once and enjoying the ever-changing scenery along the banks? Comfortable and convenient, river cruising offers a greater variety of destinations than you can find any other way. Spend less time getting there, and more time being there. Small wonder so many people have fallen in love with this relaxing, immersive and thoroughly enjoyable form of travel.
Just 20 years ago, the modern river cruise industry didn’t exist. Of course, there were privately owned river ships available to sail down a few rivers in Germany, and a few paddle wheelers along the Mississippi, but generally trips were prohibitively expensive or operated by barges with only a handful of intrepid passengers and few amenities. But in the last decade, river cruising’s popularity has grown dramatically, and more than 500,000 people now take a river cruise each year. Destinations range from the United States to Europe, Russia, Egypt and even China and Southeast Asia; and many ships are recently built and designed for comfortable travel, with amenities like hotel-style beds, spacious public areas, verandas and even suites.
Cruise to Amazing Destinations.
Combining the comfort and benefits of boutique-style cruising with the very best of cultural travel, Voyages to Antiquity offers an opportunity to explore the history, culture and natural wonders of the Mediterranean, Africa, India and Asia.
We have created a cruise experience which is designed for travellers who want to understand more about the history, culture and natural wonders of the ancient world. Our small ship, Aegean Odyssey, is perfectly suited to our destination-rich itineraries while our lecture programme connects you with the places you'll visit before you even go ashore.
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.