Smaller Cruise Ships

Smaller Cruise Ships

If a smaller scale cruise appeals to you, find out here about the smaller cruises ships you can set sail with. Which destinations can you visit on these smaller vessels, and which facilities will you get on board?
If you are liking the idea any of the Cruises mentioned, there are links to book up as well.

smaller cruise ship nightime

Small on board Big on Destinations

Does the idea of sailing on a massive cruise liner fill you with horror? If so there are several small scale cruise ships for between 35 and 1,874 passengers. That means fewer cabins that are spread out more across the decks. And your cruise destination choices at sea are not compromised. You still have lots of choice of where to visit including far off exotic lands!

How Small is Small?

Of the big names, Fred. Olsen Cruise company is best known for their small scale cruise ships with room for no more than 1000 passengers.
P&O offer cruises which take a maximum 1,880 passenger count. This compares to their largest cruises on massive ships that accommodate up to 5,200 passengers. That’s a big difference! Then there are small independent companies that offer cruises with 100 passengers and less.

smaller cruise ships
Smaller cruise ships generally have 10 decks as opposed to over 20 on the larger vessels.

Choosing Decks and Cabins

While some of the large cruise ships have twenty plus decks, smaller cruise liners offer 10 decks and under. Remember though that the decks above water are the only ones that count. Deck count usually starts at Deck 3.
It may surprise you that penthouses are not always on the top deck either on a cruise. Top layers on cruise ships are often for sports decks, lidos and sun decks. However if you do book a penthouse, they are generally on corner plots at one end of the ship. This allows for the best views and gives you a feel of no cabins around you.


Cruise on the Pacific Princess Liner
pacific princess smaller cruise ships
The Pacific Princess cruising off Split, Croatia. Thanks to Ivan T (Wikimedia) for this image

Refurbished in summer 2019, The Pacific Princess is the smallest liner operated by Princess Cruises. It was built in Chantiers de L’Atlantique, St Nazaire, France. It is 592 feet long accommodates a maximum of 670 passengers over 11 decks. Penthouse suites are on both decks 6 and 7 and wheelchair accessible rooms with showers are available

On board Facilities and Entertainment

The pacific Princess on-board facilities include a Vegas style casino, a library with 2000 books and a golf practise cage. There’s also an internet café. Entertainment includes musicals, magic shows, and feature films.

Cruises destinations on The Pacific Princess

There is a cruise called ‘Western Mediterranean and Adriatic Connoisseur’ and it starts on 18th October 2019 from Civitavecchia Port, Rome, Italy. This cruise is a 12 night cruise ending in Venice and takes in Malta, Croatia, Montenegro and Greece on route. An identical cruise sets sail also on 11th November.

Spend Time on Shore

Already by your first full day You get to hop ashore first thing in the morning at Genoa. Either spend the whole day here or go further afield and see Milan or Portofino. There are two more stops in Italy during this cruise, one of them is on your way back. You also get to spend a day in Scilly with a chance to see Mount Etna and Taormina. Split in Croatia and Valetta in Malta are on the stop off list as is Ljubljana in Slovenia.

Full Day to Explore

A great feature of this cruise is that you are often just spending one night at sea. 8 full days of the entire cruise are spent exploring on shore. How fantastic, all these different European countries to absorb!

Greek Isles Connoisseur

This cruise sets sail on 23rd November for 12 nights. It starts in Venice, ends in Rome. With Corfu, Rhodes, Santorini, Athens and Scilly being the main highlights along the way.

Panama Canal Connoisseur

And now for something completely different offered with The Princess Cruise Company. The smaller cruise ship ‘the Princess Pacific’ sets sail on 20th May 2020. The Panama Canal Adventure cruise (cruise number K007) is a 15 night voyage. It sets sails from Los Angeles and you get 7 full days during the cruise exploring the cruise destinations. For instance this cruise includes two different days in Mexico in between sailing. Also a day in Costa Rica and a day in Cartagena, Columbia.
Discover more about The Princess Pacific Cruise Liner and where it sails

Cruising on The Aurora Liner
smaller cruise ships aurora
The Aurora Cruise ship on the Hudson River NYC

The Aurora cruise ship is owned by P&O. This liner accommodates a maximum of 1874 passengers and is their 2nd smallest cruise ship out of a total of the 7 that P&O operate. This ship is for the 18+ brigade only. Penthouse suites are available.
A feature of P&O Cruises is that they put a strong emphasis on dance. More so than any other of the big names. You can expect dance lessons and dance displays on board. You’ve also got the crystal swimming pool, a bar with a speciality gin menu and sports on the big screen.
All in all it’s a very British institution!

Winter Caribbean Cruise on The Aurora

How about a November cruise to The Caribbean? Set sail from Southampton on the Aurora spending 24 nights sailing round the Caribbean islands. visit 8 countries including Antigua, St Lucia and Barbados. Relax at sea for 18 days between your visits.

Autumn in Canada

Or set sail in September on the Aurora for a 24 night cruise to Canada. You spend 13 relaxing days at sea and get to spend 2 full days in Quebec. Also there are full days at both Charlottetown and Nova Scotia.

Cruising on the Black Watch Liner
black watch smaller cruise ships
The Black Watch with capacity for 800 passengers

Owned by The Fred. Olsen Company, the Black Watch ship accommodates just 799 passengers. Despite it’s smaller capacity it still has 5 restaurants, a swimming pool, spa and gymnasium.

Option to sail on The Black Watch from Liverpool UK

An advantages of booking to holiday on this smaller cruise ship is that you can sail from Liverpool. You can even do a nice local cruise to Ireland from Liverpool on the Black Watch.

Cruise Options on The Black Watch

Sticking with the Northern Europe theme, you can cruise Scotland, the Netherlands, Iceland, Greenland and Norway. But don’t imagine this smaller vessel can only cope with short haul cruising! You can also cruise the South Pacific (including the French Polynesian Islands), and do a Christmas trip to the Canary Islands.
Discover more about The Black Watch and it’s destinations

Cruising on the Boudicca Liner
boudicca smaller cruise shipo
The Boudicca. Thanks to Pjotr Mahhonin (Wikimedia) for this image.

The Boudicca is another one of Fred. Olsen’s smaller cruise ships which takes 881 passengers. It has similar facilities to the Black Watch.

Worldwide Boarding Options

You have the added bonus of a choice of ports far and wide to embark for your cruise on the Boudicca. Set sail from ports in South Africa, Thailand, Australia, Dubai and Cyprus amongst others.
See Cruise Options on The Boudicca
The Braemar is another smaller cruise ship owned by Fred Olsen which gives you options to start cruising in the Caribbean seas.

Up Close and Personal

So those are the biggest names in cruising. How about the smaller cruise businesses offering an up close and personal cruise experience? There are a handful of these and the beauty of them is that they offer more niche cruises. These smaller companies could work well for you if you feel more comfortable in smaller groups of people.

very small scale cruise boat
Cruising Up Close and Personal!
100 or less Passengers

A great example of small cruise company whose aim is to personalise the whole cruising experience is Intrepid Adventure cruising. Their aim is to offer something a bit different to the ‘Mass Cruising Holiday’. With their smaller cruise boats, they can dock where the larger cruise liners are unable to. This means you can sometimes have easier access to smaller towns and villages. Intrepid Adventure Cruising offer destinations such as Asia, Greece and Turkey. Their aim is to keep their land excursions niche as well, and ‘offer the guidebook favourites from a new perspective’ with their knowledgeable guides.
And best of all there are only between 35-50 passengers on each cruise!


So it’s up to you to choose between the long established cruise company names or a newer more niche independent companies. Both offer the smaller Cruise ship experience, both offer worldwide destinations. Bear in mind when deciding; a smaller Cruise Ship doesn’t mean less quality of your holiday at sea!

Please link to Wikimedia for further information on original images.

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