Luxury small ship cruising provides a pampered and unique experience. Ships are outfitted with special equipment, ranging from kayaks to submarines, and guests also enjoy gourmet dining, decadent suites, and VIP treatment
There’s been a noticeable change in the cruising world – the arrival of small luxury cruise ships that resemble mega-yachts, as well as a renewed interest in sailing yachts with masts – that provide a more personal pampered cruise vacation.
Good things come in these small ship packages, such as fancy features like mini-submarines and helicopters, impeccable VIP treatment, and the ability to access unique ports off the beaten waves that the big-boy boats can’t reach. Here’s what’s new in luxury small ship cruising for you to enjoy.
Mega-Yacht Cruise Ships
Considered to be the lap of luxury in cruising, Crystal Cruises is a leader in small ships and the world’s most awarded luxury line. Its 62-passenger Esprit ship offers butler service, plush cabins, elegant eateries, Michelin-inspired cuisine and an aft marina filled with water toys. When you’re ready for a different waterfront view, Esprit also has its own mini-submarine that takes you 1,000 feet underwater to explore marine life.
Also, from Crystal Cruises, launching in August 2020, the 200-passenger Endeavor is a polar-class expedition ship that offers butler service, elegant dining, and sumptuous suites. For luxury that truly reaches new levels, this ship has two eight-passenger helicopters and a seven-person submarine for underwater tours.
Celebrity Cruises’ Flora ship is a new 100-passenger yacht specifically designed to explore the Galapagos Islands. It’s one of the most ecofriendly ships of its size. A special system enables the ship to stay in a location without using an anchor (which prevents damage in the ocean) and solar panels support the ship’s electricity.
Shore tours include the opportunity to see gigantic tortoises, impressive iguanas and beautiful birds like the famous blue-footed booby. You can also enjoy a special Galapagos Glamping experience onboard. From the comfort of a luxury cabana, you’ll be served dinner created by a Michelin-starred chef, learn about the constellations from an expert, and then sleep under the stars.
Lindblad Expeditions, partnered with National Geographic, owns six ships that range from about 50 to 150 passengers. They offer adventurous cruise experiences all over the world as one of the leaders in sustainable, respectful tourism. Lindblad Expeditions is ideal for people who like to be active during the day in once-in-a-lifetime tours where you’ll find yourself going ashore in Zodiacs, kayaking in crystal-clear waters, or hiking on a glacier. Ships have one or two restaurants and bars, a library, hot tub, gym and areas for films, presentations and workshops by renowned experts. The line also has an open bridge so you can chat with the captain almost anytime.
Sailing Yachts With Power
If you’re torn between wanting the ease of cruising yet desire the authenticity of a sailing ship with masts, Windstar Cruises offers the best of both sea worlds. They sail under wind power whenever possible so you can feel good about being green while you glide into ports like a graceful swan.
Windstar Cruises has three sailing yachts – the 148-passenger Wind Spirit and Wind Star, as well as the 342-passenger Wind Surf. These ships feature beautiful billowing masts, teak decking, gleaming brass, and traditional nautical decor. All feature drop-down aft marinas with kayaks, windsurfers and many more toys for the athletic and ambitious.