I saw this on my Twitter feed today, It was the results of a recent poll. As the small ship concept really interests me I thought I would share it with you. The thing is small ships can get into those unusual ports rather than the same old itinerary you end up with something fresh and exciting. Not only that, there is also the fact that they are much more intimate and I feel you get much more of a personal service. Obviously most of the ships featured in the top 10 are from the luxury brands, but there are many other brands which feature smaller ships of various star ratings.
The list is in order of the highest rated.
1. SEABOURN ODYSSEY
Yachts of Seabourn
Launched in 2009 as the first of Seabourn’s trio of larger ships. The ship has 225 suites, compared to 104 on the line’s earlier ships. Almost 90 percent of the cabins have verandas. At 11,400 square feet, the Spa at Seabourn is one of the largest found on any luxury ship. The Odyssey spends much of the year exploring the Mediterranean (Greek Isles, Dalmatian Coast, and Turkey), but also has Fort Lauderdale-to-Los Angeles and South Pacific itineraries. Offers can be seen here.
2. SEABOURN PRIDE
Yachts of Seabourn
Like her sister ships the Legend and the Spirit, the Seabourn Pride has a staff-to-passenger ratio of nearly one to one. There are 104 suites onboard and 40 percent have balconies, and all have ocean views. Drinks at the four bars and lounges are included in your fare, as are all meals, even when you choose to opt for one of the smaller restaurants over the main dining room. The Pride has a private marina, which extends from the rear of the ship, allowing guests to enjoy water sports even at sea, this for me is a great selling point of this ship. The Pride has extensive intineraries, in addition to world cruises, she has Baltic, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Asian itineraries. Offers can be seen here.
3. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ENDEAVOUR
Don’t let her accommodating public and private spaces, the posh quiet and rich collection of books in her Library, or the lavish observation space on her decks fool you — the National Geographic Endeavour is an expedition ship, designed for discovery and active exploration, not just passive passing-by. The Endeavour heads out equipped with a fleet of Zodiacs, enabling you to get to those remote locations. They also offer Kayaking wherever possible and frequent walks or hikes – get me on this ship !!
4. SEABOURN SOJOURN
Yachts of Seabourn
The second of the three new-build Seabourn ships, the 450-passenger Sojourn is nearly two-and-a-half times the size of the line’s older ships. Instead of the intimacy of a smaller, 200 passenger vessel, you’ll find more to see and do, including an 11,400-square-foot, two-story spa with outdoor space and cabanas. Cabins have been upgraded: 90 percent have verandahs, and Sojourn features suites with solariums. Best of all, Seabourn’s specialties—fabulous service, plenty of space per cruiser and a water-sports marina. Offers can be seen here.
5. PAUL GAUGUIN
Paul Gauguin Cruises
The only ship in the Paul Gauguin Cruises line, the 332-passenger Paul Gauguin sails where Gauguin painted. It was built specifically for the islands and atolls of French Polynesia, where shallow depths often keep larger ships at a distance from ports. Itineraries include some of the more remote archipelagoes, notably the little-known Tuamotus, as well as many islands that even veteran travelers may not have heard of, such as Ua Huka in the Marquesas, an island populated principally by horses and goats. The ship has seven guest decks that accommodate passengers in cabins ranging from Porthole Staterooms to a variety of suites; 70 percent of all the cabins have balconies or verandas. A retractable marina and an onboard dive program occupy days, which end with dinners where wines are served gratis.
6. SEABOURN LEGEND
Yachts of Seabourn
Virtually identical to her sister ships the Pride and Spirit, the Seabourn Legend has 104 suites, the smallest of which offer a spacious 277 square feet. 40% of staterooms have balconies, and all have ocean views. In-suite bars and refrigerators are stocked according to your preferences prior to arrival. Four restaurants are available, all with menus created by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer. The Legend sails itineraries around the Mediterranean, while winter finds her in the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia. Offers can be seen here
7. SEABOURN SPIRIT
Yachts of Seabourn
At this point you may think that Seabourn are paying me to promote their product….They are not and this a real poll carried out with people that cruise, Seabourn are just a great product and this is reflected in this Poll by their sheer dominance. Seabourn’s three smaller ships, the Legend, Pride, and Spirit, each with 104 suites, are almost indistinguishable. All have relatively spacious cabins, from 277 to 575 square feet, with in-suite bars and refrigerators stocked according to guests’ preferences prior to arrival; bathrooms come with a choice of soaps, including Hermès and L’Occitane. Celebrity chef Charlie Palmer presides over the dining venues, and unlike on some ships, you won’t face any surcharge when you decide to skip the main dining room. Seabourn’s all-inclusive policy also means that you won’t have to worry about running up a steep tab when you visit the four bars and lounges. The Spirit summers in the Mediterranean and Adriatic, while in the winter she can be found in the Caribbean and along the Central American coast. Offers can be seen here
8. SILVER EXPLORER
Silversea’s expedition ship, the Explorer, is a departure from its larger luxury ships. Designed with an ice breaker hull, which enables it to cruise through the waters of arctic, the ship sails with eight Zodiac boats for exploration and a mere 132 passengers, providing an upscale take on nature cruising in Antarctica and the Arctic Circle. Passengers start the day with lectures; they’re then provided with parkas, boots, binoculars, and other gear for their Zodiac excursions. In the evenings, your butler can help you shed your (probably wet) layers so you can dress for an evening in the Relais &Chateaux dining room followed by cognac in the cigar bar. Its great to see another Expidition shio in the top 10…Try something different…I dare you. Offers can be seen here
9. SILVER SPIRIT
Most of you when heariing the name Silversea would probably think of the Spirit rather than the Explorer as above. She is The newest vessel in the Silversea family, she offers distinctive luxuries and celebrated lifestyle which Silversea guests come to expect, plus enticing enhancements including Stars Supper Club, an Asian-themed restaurant, an expansive 8,300-square-foot spa, a resort-style pool, four whirlpools, and the largest suites in the Silversea fleet — 95% with private verandas. Offers can be seen here
10. SEVEN SEAS NAVIGATOR
Regent Seven Seas
Extremely pleased to see a Regent ship in the top 10, they are one of my favorite brands. Unlike Regent’s two other ships, the line’s smallest vessel, the 490-passenger Seven Seas Navigator, can’t claim to be an “all-balcony” ship, but it’s close: 85 percent of its staterooms have them. The Navigator underwent a thorough refurbishment in 2009, which included the addition of a contemporary steak house, Prime 7, complementing the ship’s three other dining options. Also in 2009, Canyon Ranch took the helm of the ship’s spa and fitness facilities. Since May 2011, all Regent packages have included pre-cruise hotel accommodations and ground transfers to the ship. Summer finds the ship in Alaska; Autumn on the east coast of the U.S. and Canada; and in winter and spring, it sails the Caribbean. Offers can be seen here
What do you think, are there other small vessels and brands you like, Hurtigruten maybe or what about Discovery cruises or Cruise and Maritime. Let me know your thoughts. If you are interested in discussing your cruise requirements contact me on 0800 408 6157.
Written by Lee Johnson