Having cruised on many large ships over the years, I recently decided it was time to try something different, something a bit smaller and more intimate where my husband and I could enjoy our time together. After much thought, a small cruise ship getaway seemed to be the perfect fit.
For our small ship getaway, we settled on a Mediterranean itinerary aboard Silversea Cruises’ 540-passenger Silver Spirit. With its nimble size, the Silver Spirit was able to dock in many quaint ports of call far off the tourist path. It was refreshing being able to board each night in the heart of every port city without having to wait in long lines at a cruise ship terminal. The ship’s size also assured us spectacular views right from our stateroom.
When it comes to choosing a small ship sailing over a large one, don’t associate reduction in size with cramped cabins and spaces, lackluster itineraries and ports of call, or subpar dining. On many of the top small ships you can expect the same exquisite service, food, and activities as you would on most of the top large ships.
Whether you want to explore Europe, Russia, China, Egypt, Greece or the Caribbean, these ships offer plenty to do and see, without the crowds.
Superior Onboard Service & Dining
From beginning to end, the service we received onboard the Silver Spirit was impressive. We had the privilege of having our own butler, who met us on arrival and unpacked our luggage for us. She personalized out complimentary toiletries, made dinner reservations and provided us with our daily wake up tea service and evening cocktails.
We had a choice of five restaurants aboard, with two specialty restaurants catering to a very limited amount of guests to ensure an impeccable dining experience. The restaurant and lounge staff quickly also learned our preferences and always delivered exquisite service. The guests on Silver Spirit tend to dress for dinner and even on the casual evenings most ladies dressed up and gentlemen wore jackets.
With more intimate, lower capacity restaurants and open seating, smaller ships offer guests the opportunity to meet and get to know other like-minded travelers. There are also options for couples who prefer to dine alone. The staff also seem more attuned to their guests and quickly go out of their way to accommodate specific requests or dietary requirements.
Excursions & Activities
On our trip we met several other like-minded adventurous passengers, who preferred to try the local transportation to get around and the concierge was very helpful in providing schedules. In Italy, it was great fun taking trains from Livorno to Lucca and Pisa, and bus rides in Capri are adventures in themselves!
It’s recommended that you do a little research if you decide to go out on your own while the ship is docked at your port-of-call. In some cases there are outlaying towns that are more picturesque than the more well-known ones. Knowing what days the museums and attractions are open helps to narrow your options when you only have one day in port.
The ship’s tender schedule also gave us the convenience of being able to return to the ship if we wanted to have lunch or afternoon tea onboard. While some guests enjoyed the pool, most afternoons found us traveling to outlaying towns to soak up as much local flavor as possible, dining in local cafes and gelatorias.
During the days at sea, there were plenty of activities to keep us busy on board the Silver Spirit: from cooking and dance classes to jewelry trunk shows and lectures on various topics like photography and the regions we were traveling to. We also frequented the reading rooms and were surprised at the well-stocked bookshelves, with many current publications available for use during the cruise.
Interested in small ship cruising?
These lines offer grand experiences on smaller, more intimate ships…
- Azamara Club Cruises:
A destination-immersive cruise line with two ships accommodating up to 694 guests in a boutique European-hotel ambience with extraordinary service and fine cuisine.
- Oceania Cruises:
The world’s only upper-premium cruise line offering an unrivaled combination of the finest cuisine at sea, elegant accommodations, exceptional service and extraordinary value.
- Paul Gauguin:
Combinging five-star service, comfort, luxury, and sailings of no more than 332 passengers, the Paul Gauguin sails the shallow seas of Tahiti and French Polynesia visiting small ports.
- Star Clippers:
Sailing the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Costa Rica, these tall masted ships indulge 170 to 227 passengers in a sublime private yacht style atmosphere.
For more information contact your local Boscov’s Travel Specialist, email email@example.com or call 800-755-8020.