Our small ship cruising vacations

What do these destinations have in common: Croatia, the Falklands and Antarctica, Scotlandís Inner and Outer Hebrides, the Maldives, the Galapagos Islands, and the Aegean Sea? They can all be explored in comfort and convenience on our small ship cruise vacations. Smaller ships are vastly better for the environment and communities youíll visit when compared with traveling aboard a large vessel, reaching smaller, less-visited harbours that arenít overwhelmed by cruise crowds. And it makes for a much more enjoyable experience for you too. Many of our small ship cruises are accompanied by experts in subjects that range from photography to marine biology who are passionate about sharing their knowledge and skills.

Our top Small ship cruising vacations

Southern Croatia cruise in comfort

From £669 to £979
8 days ex flights
Cruise Croatia's beautiful islands on a small cruise ship
Small group2023: 6 May, 13 May, 20 May, 27 May, 3 Jun, 10 Jun, 17 Jun, 24 Jun, 1 Jul, 8 Jul, 15 Jul, 22 Jul, 29 Jul, 5 Aug, 12 Aug, 19 Aug, 26 Aug, 2 Sep, 9 Sep, 16 Sep, 23 Sep, 30 Sep, 7 Oct, 14 Oct

Split to Dubrovnik Luxury cruise, Croatia

From £1199 to £1899
8 days ex flights
Cruise Split to Dubrovnik in luxury via Croatia's islands
Small group2023: 15 Apr, 22 Apr, 26 Apr, 29 Apr, 3 May, 6 May, 7 May, 10 May, 13 May, 17 May, 20 May, 24 May, 27 May, 28 May, 31 May, 3 Jun, 4 Jun, 7 Jun, 10 Jun, 14 Jun, 17 Jun, 21 Jun, 24 Jun, 28 Jun, 1 Jul, 2 Jul, 5 Jul, 8 Jul, 12 Jul, 15 Jul, 16 Jul, 19 Jul, 22 Jul, 23 Jul, 26 Jul, 29 Jul, 2 Aug, 5 Aug, 6 Aug, 9 Aug, 12 Aug, 16 Aug, 19 Aug, 20 Aug, 23 Aug, 26 Aug, 30 Aug, 2 Sep, 3 Sep, 6 Sep, 10 Sep, 13 Sep, 16 Sep, 20 Sep, 23 Sep, 24 Sep ...

Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines small ship cruise

From US $9475
15 days ex flights
Cruising the islands of Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines
Small group2023: 14 Jun

Sailing in Croatia

From Ä580 to Ä790
4 days ex flights
A multi-activity adventure sailing cruise in Croatia
Small group2023: 15 Apr, 16 Apr, 17 Apr, 18 Apr, 19 Apr, 20 Apr, 22 Apr, 23 Apr, 24 Apr, 25 Apr, 26 Apr, 27 Apr, 29 Apr, 30 Apr, 1 May, 2 May, 3 May, 4 May, 6 May, 7 May, 8 May, 11 May, 13 May, 14 May, 15 May, 16 May, 17 May, 18 May, 20 May, 21 May, 22 May, 23 May, 24 May, 25 May, 27 May, 28 May, 29 May, 30 May, 31 May, 1 Jun, 3 Jun, 4 Jun, 5 Jun, 6 Jun, 7 Jun, 8 Jun, 10 Jun, 12 Jun, 13 Jun, 15 Jun, 17 Jun, 19 Jun, 20 Jun, 22 Jun, 23 Jun ...

Hebrides cruise, Mull, Islay, Luing, Shuna and Jura

From £1140 to £1860
7 days ex flights
Sail by the spectacular islands of the Southern Hebrides.
Small group2023: 11 Sep, 14 Sep, 30 Sep, 7 Oct, 2024: 27 Jun, 1 Sep, 17 Sep, 19 Sep

Luxury small ship cruise in Croatia

From £1299 to £2299
8 days ex flights
Luxury small ship cruise through Croatia's Islands
Small group2023: 15 Apr, 22 Apr, 29 Apr, 30 Apr, 3 May, 6 May, 13 May, 14 May, 17 May, 20 May, 27 May, 31 May, 3 Jun, 4 Jun, 10 Jun, 11 Jun, 14 Jun, 17 Jun, 24 Jun, 25 Jun, 1 Jul, 2 Jul, 8 Jul, 9 Jul, 15 Jul, 22 Jul, 23 Jul, 29 Jul, 30 Jul, 5 Aug, 12 Aug, 13 Aug, 19 Aug, 26 Aug, 27 Aug, 2 Sep, 9 Sep, 10 Sep, 16 Sep, 17 Sep, 23 Sep, 30 Sep, 1 Oct, 7 Oct, 14 Oct, 15 Oct

Galapagos cruises

From US $3300
8 days ex flights
Sail in a charming red schooner

Arctic sailing voyages, North Spitsbergen

From Ä2790
8 days ex flights
Spitsbergen tall-ship wildlife and natural history sailing
Small group2023: 15 May, 22 May, 29 May, 8 Jun, 18 Jun, 28 Jun, 8 Jul

Nile felucca cruise in Egypt

From US $550 to US $700
4 days ex flights
Private carbon free traditional felucca cruise on the Nile.

About our small ship cruising vacations

Finding the right cruise for you

Are you wondering how to choose a small ship cruise? There are certain things to keep in mind – such as whether you’re prepared to pile on the layers in the Arctic, Antarctica or Scotland, or if you’d prefer to sail in sunshine in the Mediterranean and Aegean. The length of the sailing days is also important. There’s a big difference between a week spent island-hopping on a yacht and two weeks on an expedition ship that spends two days crossing choppy oceans. Certain cruises lend themselves to specific activities, too, such as sea kayaking, wildlife watching and swimming.

Single travelers

There’s a real sense of camaraderie on board small ship cruises, which makes them great for solo travelers. Single cabins are available on larger ships, while luxury or off-peak cruises will often let single travelers book a double room without a supplement. Other cruises offer you the chance to share a cabin to avoid the single supplement; it’s well worth considering if you don’t mind sharing your space. One thing’s for sure: you’ll never be lonely, and you’ll become fast friends with your fellow seafarers. Read more about small ship cruises for single travelers.

Family cruises

Small ships and kids sounds like a potentially disastrous combination, but skippers often get a kick out of having children on board to ooh and ahh over wildlife and be inspired by ocean landscapes. Some yachts add safety nets so that children from the age of five can sail safely; Antarctic and Arctic cruises might only allow teenagers who are old enough to fully understand weather and wildlife watching safety briefings. Small ship cruises are especially suitable for single parents who’d like to vacation in good company. Find out more about small ship cruises for families.

Expedition cruising

Expedition cruises plot course for the edge of the map Ė to corners of the world that are often only accessible by ocean. Even that access is a challenge; you might sail into Spitsbergen aboard an icebreaker or head to the New Zealandís Subantarctic Islands on a strengthened tall ship. Youíll meet indigenous communities gleaning a living in some of the most inhospitable environments on earth and see near-mythical wildlife like beluga whales and polar bears. Expeditions usually sail for a couple of weeks, so expect a good few days at sea filled with lectures and slap-up meals with new friends.

Wildlife cruising

Inobtrusive small ships are great for watching dolphins, whales, orca and seabird colonies. The skippers and guides we work with are well-versed in the principles and local laws of watching wildlife safely and respectfully; tours will often be tailored to the animals’ routines instead of yours. Polar bear cruises are vital for revealing the true effects of climate change and shrinking ice packs on endangered species. Other voyages have conservationists on board who can get you involved in monitoring dolphin pod sizes and movements. Read more about wildlife small ship cruises.

River cruising

The Nile, Amazon, Yangtze, Mekong… You can float down some of the most mythologised rivers in the world on a small ship. Depending on which river cruise you choose, the scenery will range from waterside shrines and ruins to limestone mountains and dense rainforest. There’s nothing stagnant about a river cruise, either. These are working rivers, so your captain and guides will show you where floating markets sell flowers and silverware, and where you can disembark to look around a Buddhist temple. They’ll also point out wildlife – perhaps pelicans in the Gambia, crocs in Egypt, and pink dolphins along the Irrawaddy.
[Finding the right cruise for you: iStock] [Single travelers: Jason Pratt] [Families: Phuket@photographer.net] [Expedition cruising: Roderick Eime] [Wildlife cruising: Bart van meele] [River cruising: Lea Kobal]
Photo credits: [Page banner: The Small Cruise Ship Collection] [Finding the right cruise for you: iStock] [Single travelers: Jason Pratt] [Families: Phuket@photographer.net] [Expedition cruising: Roderick Eime] [Wildlife cruising: Bart van meele] [River cruising: Lea Kobal]