Whale breach top experience small ship cruises
Sailing around Antarctica small ship cruise

Small Ship & Expedition Cruises - Best Tours & Trips 2019

Even as mainstream cruise ships get bigger and bigger, small-ship cruising is thriving among travelers who prefer a more intimate experience -- and to dock in smaller ports where the megaships can't go. Expedition-style ships are also popular among travelers seeking adventurous destinations such as the Arctic and Antarctic.

View All Small Ship & Ex ... Trips  
X
Unlock Member Savings

In order to see Stride Select deals you must sign in. We’ve negotiated with many of the world’s best travel companies to save you money! Get the best experiences, save up to $700 per person, and be a hero to your travel companions!

or
or
Provide email and Password

We respect your privacy and take great care to protect your information. By joining you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Already a member?

With FREE membership you:

  • Save up to $700 per person!*
  • Access private deals and offers
  • See personalized trip recommendations
  • Save favorite trips
See member program details

Top Small Ship & Expedition Cruises Experiences and Attractions


Top Small Ship & Expedition Cruises Experiences

view more

Top Small Ship & Expedition Cruises Attractions

view more

Small Ship & Expedition Cruises Trip Reviews


2,635
Small Ship & Expedition Cruises Tour Reviews - Summary
91% Recommend

4.5 out of 5
Excellent 1,712 Great 751 Average 155 Disappointing 41 Terrible 27
Value
4.5 Guide
4.5 Activities
4.5 Lodging
4.5 Transportation
4.5 Meals
4.5

K

Recommends

Very nice January 2019

5.0

Special needs at Sea Company Reviews

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Very nice equipment & was delivered in room & picked up as told when it was ordered.

Operator Special needs at Sea

A

Recommends

Well done! January 2019

5.0

Special needs at Sea Company Reviews

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
The service was incredibly easy to use. You even delivered directly to my stateroom. Well done! You took the worry about getting around right out of my mind.

Operator Special needs at Sea

I

Recommends

Very easy from start to finish!! December 2018

5.0

Special needs at Sea Company Reviews

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I recommended special needs group for a client of mine. We went on a cruise on Royal Caribbean cruise lines. The wheelchair was there when they checked into their cabin. No problems or issues at all. Very easy from start to finish!! The price was great also!! Highly recommend them to anyone needing assistance!! Read more

Operator Special needs at Sea

SN

Recommends

Always a positive experience December 2018

5.0

Special needs at Sea Company Reviews

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We have rented from them for years, and it is always a positive experience. Good people with quality equipment.

Operator Special needs at Sea

J

Recommends

I definitely recommend it to any one with mobility difficulties December 2018

5.0

Special needs at Sea Company Reviews

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I had a great experience in my recent cruise. As they told me, my scooter was near my stateroom, it was a bariatric scooter. I enjoy all 7 days in cruise. When time to go I just left it in the departure deck. It was a great experience and a great cruise. I definitely recommend it to any one with mobility difficulties. I will rent again with them in my next cruise. Read more

Operator Special needs at Sea

Small Ship & Expedition Cruises Tours and Travel Guide


Small Ship & Expedition Cruises Attractions & Landmarks Guide

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!

Related Guides

Popular Continents:

Europe, Antarctica & the Arctic

Popular Destinations:

Norway, Greenland, Costa Rica, Austrailia, Scotland and Many More

Popular Small-ship & Expedition Cruises: 

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador; Caribbean Sea; Falkland Islands; Mediterranean Isles; PolynesiaAntarctica and Many More

For Styles:

50+ guided tours, Small group tours, Luxury tours & Wildlife lovers

Related Trips & Tours


Top Small Ship & Expedition Cruises Travel Companies


All small ship & expedition cruises and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.5 for all Small Ship & Expedition Cruises trips.

1,309 trips from 178 tour companies with 2,635 reviews

More Small Ship & Ex... Guided Tours

View All Small Ship & Expedition Cr... Trips
×
×
Sign in to Save Trips
Welcome back! We're so happy to see you. ? Forgot Password?
Don't have an account? Join
  • Bookmark trips you like
  • Share with your travel companions
  • Track price changes
  • Access private discounts on trips you save
×
Sign in to see your results

TripFinder is a member-only feature. Don’t worry, it’s free!

With a membership you:

  • Save up to $700 per person!*
  • Access private deals and offers
  • See personalized trip recommendations
  • Save favorite trips
*See Member Savings Program details
×
Activate your free Stride membership

Just use the email address and password provided in the email we sent.

? Forgot Password?

With your free membership you:

  • Save up to $700 per person!*
  • Access private deals and offers
  • See personalized trip recommendations
  • Save favorite trips
*See Member Savings Program details
First name is required!
Last name is required!
First name is not valid!
Last name is not valid!
This is not an email address!
Email address is required!
This email is already registered!
Please enter valid email address
Password is required!
Enter a valid password!
Please enter 6 or more characters!
Please enter 16 or less characters!
Passwords are not the same!
Terms and Conditions are required!
Email or Password is wrong!
Please select the captcha checkbox!
Please select the valid captcha!
Something went wrong! Try again later!