What drives you to seek seldom-visited spots, secret resort locations, and secluded hideaways? Is it the knowledge that you are a part of something special, something that few have ever experienced? Is it to accomplish a goal you set for yourself? Or is it simply to venture out on an extraordinary journey in which you have been given the unique opportunity to discover a destination seldom visited by others?
WHY A SMALLER CRUISE?
Whatever it is that pushes you to explore new and exotic locations, often it is the journey itself that offers the true adventure. By making your journey on a smaller cruise ship, the travel experience is enhanced by way of an intimacy and versatility not found on large liners. An air of camaraderie among the passengers and crew can create special and lasting memories and experiences. But what else makes small cruise ships different from the mega-liners?
“Well, duh,” you say. “Of course SIZE is the obvious answer.” However, there is more to it than just the number of cabins or the tonnage of a ship that defines and differentiates onboard experiences. Size can be a feeling, almost a frame of mind that sets the mood for your travels.
Unlike passengers aboard the “floating cities” of major cruise lines, a small-ship experience offers you the opportunity to become more than just one of the masses. These unique sailing vessels, which range from luxury expedition ships and motor yachts, to research vessels and icebreakers, often present an air of intimacy not found on the two-thousand cabin liners that charge across the Caribbean or narrowly squeeze through the Panama Canal.
Sailing aboard a ship of fifty or a hundred passengers, you quickly take notice of those around you. You aren’t lost in a sea of bodies waiting to board a tender to shore or stuck behind fifty other people at the cattle call also referred to as “the midnight buffet”. Smaller cruise ships present a more personal atmosphere in which passengers are allowed to create singular experiences molded to fit their personality and interests.
Continuing with the advantages of size, we arrive in the realm of unique and often remote ports of call across the world, which are often not available to larger cruise liners. Where larger ships must often drop anchor far from the actual port of call due to docking regulations and water depths, many smaller cruise ships can maneuver into shallow areas not accessible by the mega-liners of aircraft carrier-like proportions. This can save you not only time, which can be spent exploring and enjoying your destination, but the aggravation and hassle that often accompanies many side trips and excursions.
AVOID THE CRUSH
By cruising on smaller ships, you can also proactively avoid many of the overpopulated events and excursions often found on bigger ships. There’s hardly a greater let down when visiting a supposedly “private beach” than to arrive and find the shoreline crammed with thousands of your fellow shipmates. Worse yet, is disembarking at your port of call, only to discover that you have but a scant few minutes to enjoy your scenic surroundings due to the transportation time and logistics required in getting there. The smaller cruise ship can avoid many of the typical tourist trap destinations that are swarmed upon by the multitudes.
When it comes to adventure, there are few options that offer the safety in travel, yet the chance to explore exotic and far-off destinations, like the small-cruise liner. Try finding a mega-liner that can do what an icebreaker can do and go where it can go. Where else can you venture to the Antarctic in the safety and comfort of your cozy cabin, but experience the biting chill of the sub-zero temperature just decks above you, while sailing past massive glaciers or cutting through thick ice-patches?
The most memorable cruising experience of my life took place aboard a small liner. We had docked at a remote and uninhabited island in the Caribbean where we were free to search and explore at will. Skirting the edge of the island, at times having to wade out into the crystal blue, 80-degree waters, to avoid rocky outcroppings, we eventually came upon the rusting hulk of an abandoned shipwreck. Not a soul was around. It was the perfect moment. We guessed that maybe a dozen people, if that, had ever found this spot, and several of those people were the men that had beached this long forgotten craft. Moments and adventures like that are nearly impossible to re-create on the larger and more heavily traveled cruises.
A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY
If you find a comfortable, relaxed cruising atmosphere, in which you are treated like an individual instead of just a head in the crowd, appealing, then small ship cruising may be the perfect choice for you. The unique and varied opportunities this type of sailing offers can forge memories that will last a lifetime and provide adventures beyond your wildest dreams.
This article is for informational purposes only. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is at the reader’s discretion.