While you may be familiar with some of the larger cruise ship operators, there are many smaller carriers that offer top notch service. Here are 5 small cruise ships to look at for your next vacation.

Lindblad Expeditions

For those with an adventurous spirit, the Lindblad cruise line offers cruise expeditions to all seven continents. Contrary to what you may picture when you think of a cruise, you may find yourself on a kayak expedition or on a voyage to explore the Galapagos islands. To top it off, this cruise line feeds its passengers organic meals to keep them energized throughout their trip. This small cruise line is also affiliated with the National Geographic, which means that you may be bumping elbows with famous photographers and travel writers.

Celebrity Xpedition

The Galapagos used to be off limits to those with little experience. However, Celebrity is one of the few cruise lines who is making the area more accessible to casual travelers. This cruise line has a staff that’s almost entirely local, meaning you’ll have access to a lot of local insight as well. You’ll be able to choose your level of adventure, from single day excursions on the islands to drawn out, 15 day expeditions that allow you to see more of what the Galapagos has to offer.

Star Clippers

The Star Clippers cruise line operates a bit more like a traditional cruise. You’ll enjoy leisurely actives on board the ship, while the cruise also gives complimentary equipment to enjoy water sports like kayaking and snorkeling during the day. However, what makes this cruise line special is that the ships are fast clippers, complete with the elaborate sails that you might expect. This offers a pictoresque getaway for guests. For instance, you may be able to lounge under the stars, looking up at the sails.

Avalon Waterways

Avalon is another cruise line that’s offering its guests a bit more of an elaborate affair. Their fleet boasts ships with floor to ceiling windows and spacious cabins. You can also enjoy 360 views on some of their decks. If you are planning to lounge on board the ship for most of your vacation, it’s well worth it to try this luxury ship experience. The cruise line travels to several different continents, including stops in China and South America.


If you’re really looking to put on the ritz during your cruise vacation, then try the French line, Ponant. These small ships offer a five star experience in every way. Their French style cuisine is one of the most prominent features of this cruise line. Prepare to be wined and dined by experienced chefs with 5-star recipes and a vast menu of options. You’ll also be able to enjoy fine French wines and spirits with excellent service.The upscale living quarters leave nothing back, either, as they are spacious and equipped with high quality linens. This line sails to all seven continents.

Choosing a Cruise Ship for Your Next Vacation

There are several reasons to choose a cruise ship for your next vacation. Cruises can take the pressure off of you for planning and executing a trip. You can gain access to exotic regions easily without needing to do extensive research on the language or the specific sites to see. At the same time, you can gain access to more amenities by sharing them with the people on board your cruise. While larger cruise ships can be stifling to some, a small cruise ship allows you a great compromise between privacy and quiet, and the comfort of being in a group.