Small Cruise Ships. Smaller Cruise Ships. Smallest Cruise Ships
Often, I get asked by my clients to find them a cruise on a small cruise ship.
Clients may have an idea in their mind what they are referring to as a “small” cruise ship.
Compared to all the mega-ships on the market, cruise lines like Oceania, Azamara, Crystal, Viking, Seabourn, and Regent Seven Seas can be considered small by most standards, but even those can be in different categories.
Oceania actually falls into two separate categories since their O Class, Marina and Riviera, are very different in size compared to their R-Class ships, Sirena, Insignia, Regatta and Nautica.
The smallest ships are dedicated to the adventure travelers and river cruises.
Adventure cruises include the National Geographic cruises by Linblad Expeditions, Un-Cruises Adventures, Barge Cruises, Tauck Small Ship Cruising and a host of lesser known lines.Look for a separate blog on these so you don’t fall asleep reading this one.
For this article, I am setting the limit on the high range to 1,250 passengers and the low range to 458..
Small Cruise Ships. 900 to 1250 passengers
Oceania Riviera and Marina
These upper premium ship max out at $1250 passengers
As most of my readers know, I have sailed these ships numerous times. Each time I cruise on these ships makes me appreciate what upper premium cruising is all about.
Considered by many as the “foodies” line, the two identical O Class ships feature a full size, stadium seating Entertainment Theater, four specialty dining venues: Polo Grill, Toscana Mediterranean, Red Ginger Asian Fusion and Jacques French Bistro. There is no additional charge for those but reservations are required. Two additional dining options are The Main Ding Room and The Terrace Café.
The Terrace Café deserves a special mention due to the opulent selection of menu items such as cooked-to-order filet mignon, lamb chops, grilled shrimp, lobster tails, soup of the day, an elegant salad bar and a changing theme of the day array of freshly cooked food. Help yourself to as little or as much as you like in the casual atmosphere of indoor or outdoor dining.
Crystal Serenity 1,070 passengers
Crystal Symphony 922 passengers
Crystal Mozart, Bach, Mahler, Debussy, and Revel River Cruise Ships (Reserved for a separate blog on river cruises)
Crystal Esprit Yacht Cruise (reserved for a separate blog on adventure and smallest cruise ships. 62 passengers). You can find this and Crystal River Cruises on our Home Page, www.keytraveler.com , in Cruise Finder. Just enter Crystal under Company Name & Click Search Cruises
Crystal has been voted by notable publications as “World’s Best Luxury Cruise Line”
My most recent voyage on Crystal while traveling with fiends presented an unusual experience.
The airline my friends traveled on lost their luggage and they had to board with just their “shirts on their backs”. Of course their attire was not suitable for dining time, albeit a bit stale from traveling. They informed guest relations of their predicament and requested in-suite dining while hoping their bags would arrive before the cruise commenced.
Shortly before dinner on the first night, with still no luggage, their butler knocked on their door and then escorted them to the apparel shop onboard. “Find outfits that fit and consider it a loaner courtesy of the cruise line “he said. What class!Fortunately, their luggage arrived the next day while we were still in port.
The elegant ships of Crystal boast some of the highest space-to-guest ratios at sea with spectacular well-appointed staterooms. Lavish Penthouses feature private teak verandahs, a Jacuzzi tub and separate shower and butler service. Spectacular accommodations will make even the well-traveled guests feel right at home in sumptuous comfort.
Board your Crystal cruise and expect an incredible immersive enrichment experience on a myriad of special-interest topics, such as “Ballroom at Sea and the exclusive “Crystal Wine and Food Festival”. Onboard are experts in a variety of fields who will offer lectures and fascinating hands-on interactive demonstrations relating to Crystal only theme cruises.
Viking Ocean Cruises
Capacity 930 passengers
Viking is a relatively newcomer to ocean cruises. After many years offering the largest fleet of river cruises, the company “dove” into the blue water segment of travel. The pace of building this fleet is unprecedented, starting with the Viking Star, and including the Viking Sea, the Viking Sky, the Viking Sun and the Spirit.
Every stateroom has a balcony. Every stateroom has Wi-Fi. Every cruise includes an excursion while in port. How refreshing!
The reviews for Viking Ocean Cruises from my clients as well as others have only been positive. The staff is very accommodating and the ships are very well appointed.
Go to www.keytraveler.com. On Cruise Finder, Click Company and Viking Ocean Cruises. Search Cruises.
I am looking forward to my first experience on a Viking Ocean cruise.
Smaller Cruise Ships 500-800 Passengers
Oceania “R” Class
Includes Sirena, Insignia, Regatta, Nautica
Capacity 684 passengers
t all started 15 years ago when the now-defunct Renaissance Cruise Line went bust.
Renaissance was way overextended. Cruisers loved the ships and the experience.
Frank Del Rio had a vision. Take one ship at a time. Refurbish it to casual elegance. Up the game for the dining experience. And, make sure every sailing was the best experience it could be.
History has proven that Mr. Del Rio got it right. ‘Enough” said.
Regent Seven Seas
Regent Seven Seas Explorer Capacity 750 passengers
Regent Seven Seas Mariner and Voyager Capacity 700 passengers
Regent Seven Seas Navigator Capacity 500 passengers
The brochures from some of the other cruise lines say “All Inclusive”, but the only one that is truly an All Inclusive line is Regent Seven Seas.
So what does this mean?
How about Free Business Class Airfare, Free Unlimited Shore Excursions, Free included Gratuities, Free alcoholic beverages, Free Specialty Dining restaurants and more.*
Every stateroom is a suite. The staff to passenger ratio is as high as 1 to 1.36, ensuring the service you should expect from a luxury cruise line.
Azamara Club Cruises
Azamara Journey & Azamara Quest Capacity 700 passengers
Azamara is the “small ship” division of Celebrity Cruises. These two ships, like the Oceania “R Class” came out of the defunct Renaissance Cruise Line. The ships have constantly been refurbished to keep up with their high standards.
Why choose Azamara over Oceania?
Sometimes it is price, Sometimes it is the itinerary. Most of my clients have not sailed on both lines. If you believe in ratings, Oceania would be the first choice.
Seabourn Cruise Line
Seabourn Odyssey, Quest, Sojourn. Capacity 458 Passengers
Seabourn Encore, Seaborn Ovation. Capacity 600 Passengers
Seabourn was the first of the ultra-luxury class of all suite small ship cruises. 90% of their guests enjoy the private verandah experience.
Conde Nast has included Seabourn on their “Gold List” of small luxury cruise lines for 20 consecutive years. Why choose Seabourn? If you prefer the smaller, luxury class of vessels, Seabourn may be the right choice. Casual elegance. Desirable destinations. A new experience.
If you wish to chime in with your opinions, please feel free to send me an email. Your opinion counts.
*Certain restrictions on Regent such as select air city, free business class air, exclusive shore excursions and high end wine choices may not apply.