Many of our small cruise vacations were created by people who are wild about nature. And having a small boat, a knowledgeable guide and a skipper who knows nature’s best hiding spots, are what you need to get up close and personal. In the Galapagos, for example, you can see extraordinary creatures all year round. Going on a small ship cruise really is the way to go, however, especially as some islands only allow the small ones to berth. Boats where the emphasis is on wildlife not social life and where, with fewer people on board, you won’t have to queue endlessly to embark/disembark. Giving you more time to enjoy watching boobies on San Cristóbal or Genovesa, iguanas and albatross on Española or snorkel with sea lions and penguins off Floreana. The Arctic and Antarctic small cruises are wildlife frenzies, of course, with polar bears, walruses, Arctic fox in the former, and penguins, whales, seals and albatross at the latter. Much closer to home, Scotland’s islands are small cruise nirvana, with the likes of Bute, Hebrides and Mull offering a Celtic cacophony of sea creatures.