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Top Trip Memories
  • Savoring the tropical breezes and snorkeling opportunities while on a sailing cruise through the Caribbean or South Pacific.
  • Stopping at a quiet bay for a lobster bake while cruising the Maine coast on an historic windjammer.
  • Exploring the Turkish coast on a traditional gulet, the Kenyan coast on a traditional dhow, or the Vietnamese coast on a traditional junk.
  • Taking an expedition-style cruise from Norway to Greenland via Iceland.
  • Following the path of Charles Darwin on a small ship cruise through the Galapagos Islands or the Beagle Channel in Patagonia.
  • Getting upclose and personal with whales and orcas via small ship off the Alaskan coast
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Tour Tips
  • 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.
  • While small ship and expedition-style cruises can have luxurious aspects, most come with smaller cabins than large cruise ships, and on some sailing ships can be downright tiny.
  • 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.
  • If you’re prone to seasickness -- more common on small ships than large --  come prepared with some form of medication or preventative
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Small Ship & Expedition Cruises Travel Reviews & Ratings
4.7 out of 5



2,127 Reviews

Excellent 1,548 Great 526 Average 2 Disappointing 1 Terrible 8

Rating Details

4.7 Guide
4.7 Activities
4.7 Lodging
4.7 Transportation
4.7 Meals
Tour Reviews


YOLO CRUISE - Santorini to Mykonos


Do not go with sail greece

YOLO CRUISE - Santorini to Mykonos

1.0 August 2017 Sail in Greece Recommend: No Screw this trip it ruined mine and everyone else's trip! One of the boats sank in bad weather because they didn't have a proper skipper on the boat ! This company must be shut down and sued for their crimes of dangering people lives and wasting their money Read more


YOLO CRUISE - Mykonos to Santorini

1.0 July 2017 Sail in Greece Recommend: No Do not use this company! Firstly, they overcharged me for an add-on, for which I had to fight to get my money back. Was promised a boat with WiFi, air-conditioning, rooms to accommodate the amount of people they hold and got none of this. The WiFi on the boats never worked, the power was never turned on even whilst the boat was docked (where they had access to power). I had to share a tiny room with a couple and was not comfortable sleeping in so had to sleep outside. The ensuite to the room had a shower that never had hot water and no working toilet, I had to go eat at a restaurant to use their bathroom. From the first day the boat stank like faeces, this did not improve throughout the week. Due to weather, was stuck in Ios for most of the trip and the company provided us with no update as to whether we would make it to our final destination. Upon finishing my trip and reading up online this is not the first time this has happened, they try to coerce people into not posting negative reviews! DO NOT USE THIS COMPANY! Read more

Bad experience!

YOLO CRUISE - Mykonos to Santorini

1.0 July 2017 Sail in Greece Recommend: No Our experience with Sail in Greece was awful. The customer service we received was horrible and consequently our booking was given to someone else without notification. Both deposits were lost and the company refuses to refund the money. Be very cautious booking with this company. Read more


YOLO CRUISE - Mykonos to Santorini

1.0 July 2017 Sail in Greece Recommend: No Save your money and do not book through Sail in Greece. My friend and I just returned from the trip and while Greece is a beautiful country, explore it on your own! Sail in Greece is a complete joke and full of false promises. They claim everyone gets their own bathrooms, the ships are clean, the air conditioning works, they have wifi, breakfast on board and more. It is basically a brothel on board. It is all a lie. My friend and I got split up and I was put with male passengers, dirty condoms everywhere. Passengers stole my blankets, towels, and sheets. No lock on the doors to combat stealing. The communication between hosts and HQ is very poor. During the end of our trip the company promised accommodations for all passengers and then went back on their word because it was "too expensive to cover everyone's travel plans." Then the company had the nerve to tell me that I wasn't going to receive a refund because I decided to "leave the group." Leave the group? YOUR EMPLOYEES TOLD ME TO BOOK SOMETHING ELSE. They bribe old passengers into taking down negative reviews down. If anyone doubts my review, you can personally email me at chelseahud@gmail.com and I will show you pictures!! Read more
See all reviews for Small Ship & Expedition Cruises Top Operators & Trips
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Small Ship & Expedition Cruises Trips & Tour Advice

A cruise on a small ship or expedition-style ship is as different  from a cruise on a large ship as flying in a small plane is from taking a jumbo jet. They both share the sea but they present different perspectives on it and often serve very different purposes.

(For this write-up, we’ll limit the discussion to small ocean and sea-going vessels as opposed to river ships and boats.)

Both small and large cruise ships have their place in the realm of cruise travel and both have their adherents, but there’s no guarantee that if you’ll like one you’ll like the other.

Amenity Gap

Small ships, for instance, may have some amenities, such as a smallish swimming pool, a lounge, a bar area, and a dining area, but nothing like you’d expect to find on a modern-day cruise liner that may hold from 2,000 to 6,000 passengers.

Casinos, climbing walls, Broadway-style theaters, huge dining halls, discos, organized contests and games (beyond board games), and other features of big cruise ships are highly unlikely to appear on a small or expedition-style ship.

Even medium-sized cruise ships, in the 600 passenger range, are far more likely to have multiple restaurants, organized entertainments, and other typical cruise amenities.

The Small Ship Experience

On a small ship, you’re more likely to make meals or the pre-dinner appetizer-cocktail hour the hub of your social life.

Gatherings are more likely to include lectures on what you’ll see the next day than late-night dance parties. The libraries on small ships take on more importance than on the typical large cruise ship.

Shore excursions and sightseeing are also at somewhat more of a premium on small ships than large. The general thrust of a small ship or expedition-style cruise -- especially the latter -- tends to be on the destination or itinerary (such as the Galapagos Islands or whale-watching off Alaska)  rather than the ship itself.

Specialty Cruises

The ships themselves, though, may take on greater importance if they’re traditional to the countries being visited (such as the Turkish gulet or Arabian dhow), where a large part of the pleasure is experiencing that type of vessel.

A trip across the polar reaches on an icebreaker or another expedition-style ship is another singular small ship experience. (The only ships that have permission to actually land on Antarctica hold 500 passengers or fewer.)

If you think that small-ship cruising may be right for you, Stride can help you sort through the many possibilities around the globe. Happy sailing!

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