Small Ship Cruising for Extra Service
One of the best things about small ship cruising is that you don’t become just a number. You're not just a face in a crowd. With fewer guests and a much higher crew-to-guest ratio, you can expect personal, attentive service. Small ships have highly trained crew who will memorise your name, how you like your coffee and your preferred drink within the first day. They’ll also know if you have a special diet or require extra assistance. If you've only ever cruised on larger lines, the level of service on a small ship will be a welcome surprise.
As well as the excellent service, you'll also have the opportunity to really talk with the crew and benefit from their local knowledge. In some cases, the crew will eat meals with guests so it feels more like friends and family travelling together rather than a typical cruise. On small expedition ships, the expeditions team will be available for a chat, pass on tips and insights and if there is something special to see (whales for example) they’ll let you know. In fact, small ships can often stop or detour slightly if there is wildlife to be seen. There's a lot more flexibility with small ships to make the most of your experience.
Shore excursions are also more personalised on a small ship. Disembarking is more fluid and on ship excursions in Antarctica, for example, while one group is on land, the other will often be out on the zodiacs in a group of just 12 people with one of the expedition experts onboard pointing out marine life, explaining the eco-system and answering all your questions. Your opportunity to get ashore and experience the destination is far greater with small ships.
So what is classified as small ship? Generally it’s up to 500 guests. With small ships gaining popularity, while the larger lines are going bigger and bigger with more and more passengers, small ships are tending to carry fewer guests, with plenty of guest space and an every-increasing focus on incredible personal experiences. They want your experience to be unique where you really get to discover a new part of the world up close and personal.
As an indication, here’s a quick summary of some of our most popular ships and how many guests they carry:
- Paul Gauguin (Tahiti) 332
- Windspirit (Tahiti) 148
- Aranui 5 (Tahiti) 265
- L’Austral (Ponant Cruises) 260
- Le Boreal (Ponant Cruises) 260
- Le Laperouse (Ponant Cruises) 180
- Le Bellot (Ponant Cruises) 184
- Silver Discoverer (Silversea Cruises) 120
- Coral Discoverer (Coral Expeditions) 72
For more information on the size and specs of the various ships