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Small Cruise Ships: The Better Way to Sail

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Visitors to the world-famous Louvre in Paris can often wait in line for more than an hour just to get tickets. Once inside, experiencing the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo can be difficult as seas of people elbow their way through crowded hallways and bottlenecked viewing areas.

Now, imagine touring the museum during non-peak hours, with no lines and the world’s most incredible pieces of art yours to marvel at freely. No crowds to hinder the experience. Small cruise ships are to the travel industry what this relaxing experience is to the Louvre: a chance to enjoy awe-inspiring destinations up close and personal, with no hassles or frustrations.

Here are five reasons why small cruise ships are a better way to see the world:

1. Ease of Travel.

Visit a new port each day and unpack only once! Oftentimes, travel itself is the worst part of seeing multiple destinations. With a small cruise ship, the cruise itself is as desirable as the destination – it becomes your adventure. Each night, you’ll be lulled to sleep by the ocean and awake refreshed, with a brand new view outside your stateroom. And with small ships welcoming between 147 and 311 fellow sailors, you’ll forget you ever had to wait in line before.

Wind Surf Suite

2. Travel in Style.

With larger ships, the crew to passenger ratio can get rather bloated and it’s difficult to get that personal “red carpet” treatment. With small cruise ships, the crew to passenger ratio is often 1:2 (Windstar’s is one of the lowest in the industry at 1:1.6). That means crew members know your name, they know your preferences and they can often anticipate your desires before even you know you want another beverage. Furthermore, bartenders and kitchen staff are catering to a much smaller crowd, ensuring efficiency, quality and attention to detail. And of course, there are the added perks of luxurious amenities (our staterooms all have flat-screen TVs and L’Occitane products).

Dubrovnik, Croatia

3. Unique Ports & Itineraries.

Larger ships have to play it safe – going to bigger ports that can accommodate both the large size of the vessels and the huge crowds that will be touring the city together. Small cruise ships, on the other hand, have an incredible amount of flexibility. Ever thought you could cross the Panama Canal on a cruise ship and then visit the incredible, mostly uninhabited San Blas Islands, where Kuna Indians live today as they did hundreds of years ago? You couldn’t do that on a large ship, but we take you there and allow for an unforgettable cultural experience. You’ll look at the world, and yourself, differently.

4. Affordability.

If you’re thinking small cruise ships aren’t cheap, think again! They really are an affordable alternative. Travelers usually incur a hundred unexpected costs, especially on large cruise ships. But on a smaller vessel, many of the expenses are included up front. Once you’ve planned your trip, you have a really good sense of exactly what you will be spending, and you can budget accordingly. Additionally, you can often find Windstar cruise specials that cut your travel costs in half!

5. Social Convenience.

With fewer guests on board, small cruise ships offer an ideal social experience. It’s easy to make life-long friends, which our alumni often tell us they do. And unlike many large ships, small cruise ships often keep an “open bridge” policy, meaning you can wander up to speak with the captain at your leisure. Small cruise ships provide an element of privacy many guests appreciate, while the small numbers also mean it’s easier than ever to meet new friends and relax over a quiet dinner.

We might have a (small) bias toward small cruise ships, but we truly believe they offer an experience you simply couldn’t have otherwise.

What are your experiences with small ship sailing? Share your perspectives in the comments below!

  • Beth and Bruce

    We are booked for the new itinerary for the Islands of Italy. This is also our first cruise. We are having difficulty determining what shore excursions would truly be worthwhile. Do any passengers have experiences in their own travels as to how to advise us? We would also appreciate some comments from Windstar to advise us. Thanks, Beth and Bruce (Texas)

  • John McGlade

    There’s nothing like being under sail. It’s a serene experience.

    Small Ships Adriatic  

  • Jan

    We are considering the Barcelona to Rome trip in April 2013 but have some concern about the weather being too cool. We would appreciate past traveler
    ‘s comments as well as Windstar’s comments. We know weather is unpredictable, but need a little guidance as first time cruisers.

    • http://www.windstarcruises.com/blog Windstar Cruises

      Hi Jan, temperatures in that area are commonly in the 60s at this time of year and are typically mild and pleasant. Let us know if you have further questions, and we hope to see you with us!

      Best,
      The Windstar Team

    • http://www.facebook.com/cicicholej Cici Chole JenRoxy Price

      You defintly go i went April 2011 & the weather was very pleasant & great holiday

      it was jeans & t – shirt hope this helps

  • http://www.direct-passportvisas.com/us-passport-blog.html PassportVisa_TravelersGuide

    Venice is such a unique experience, definitely put Venice on your itinerary. You won’t be disappointed!