What Are the Advantages of a Small Cruise?

What Are the Advantages of a Small Cruise?

What Are the Advantages of a Small Cruise?

Costa Rica, New Zealand, Mexico and more — you’ve caught a case of wanderlust, and you’re yearning to explore far-off places to experience new cultures and undertake exciting adventures.

You might already be dreaming up your next cruise, or perhaps you’re ready to embark on your first sailing excursion. As you begin planning your vacation, one of the first decisions you’ll have to make is whether small cruises are better for your needs than large cruises.

In this article, we’ll explore 18 advantages of a small cruise. Read on to see how sailing on a small ship can satisfy your traveler’s heart.

In This Article

18 Advantages of Taking a Small Cruise

For a truly delightful and intimate experience, a small-ship cruise is the ultimate choice. From top-tier service to a relaxing ambiance and an educationally immersive experience, here are our top 18 benefits of a small cruise:

1. Receive Personalized Service

While larger cruise ships might have excellent staff, there’s simply no way to top the unrivaled service a small ship can bring. With fewer passengers on board, the crew has the opportunity to truly get to know each guest. The better the crew knows you, the more easily they’re able to delight you with personalized attention.

Staff will get to know your name and greet you personally when you reboard the ship after an excursion. Do you have a go-to drink every evening or a favorite dessert? Sit back and relax as the crews of small ship cruises remember what you like and serve you with unmatched care.

On average, cruise ships might carry 3,000 passengers — boutique ships like Windstar have fewer than 350 guests on board. With such modest occupancy sizes, you’ll feel like the treasured guest you are and receive service from a crew that cares about each individual on board.

2. Visit Unique Locations

With smaller ships, you have the unique opportunity to visit locations that larger ships wouldn’t be able to reach. Dock in hidden harbors and explore relatively untouched beaches. Wander around rural towns on the outskirts of bustling international cities. Find hidden gems you may never have had the opportunity to visit otherwise. 

For example, your small cruise might stop in a famous port city like Nassau before sailing to one of the more remote islands in the Caribbean. Because we have more freedom than large ships, lines like Windstar Cruises keep an eye out for new, exciting places we can take our guests. We specialize in finding out-of-the-way spots that’ll ensure you have a getaway like no other.

3. Experience Your Destinations Authentically

Because of small ships’ unique ability to dock in more secluded locations, they allow you to explore your destinations away from the influence of tourism. Head off the beaten path to find what Tahiti or Italy is like away from the major cities. Wander into quaint villages and discover new markets that promote local artisans.

Instead of experiencing a country from behind a hazy film of tourism, experience it for its authentic culture and ways of life. See how the people truly live wherever your cruise itinerary takes you. 

Experience Your Destinations Authentically

4. Immerse Yourself in the Culture 

Take your authentic experience a step further with planned excursions to help you immerse yourself in the local culture. A boutique cruise line like Windstar Cruises understands the marvel of witnessing the intricacies of a new culture.

That unbeatable experience is why we carefully plan a variety of excursions designed to take you into the nearby villages and give you unique opportunities to interact with the locals. Instead of just stopping at a location, step deep into the heart of the destination. Whether you want to witness the must-see sights or enjoy exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, choose a small cruise line for excursions like no other.

5. Learn From Local Experts

Whether on board or off, enjoy the personalized learning experience a small cruise trip can provide. While undergoing your excursions, learn from local tour guides in a group that’s small enough to allow you to actually interact with your guide. With an intimate group size, you’ll be able to bring up questions easily. 

Your curated learning doesn’t stop when you return to ship. Cruise lines like Windstar Cruises select some of the best on-board lecturers who have firsthand knowledge of the area. Learn from an insider about local current events, historical topics of interest or the natural landscape.

Because our ships have no more than 342 guests, you’ll be able to enjoy an uncrowded, intimate space more conducive to truly learning and absorbing the interesting new facts you’re hearing.

6. Eat Locally-Inspired Meals

Food provides some of the best insights into new cultures. Back on the ship, continue your immersive experience with thoughtfully crafted menus. Because they have fewer plates to prepare, chefs on boutique ships have the freedom and time to cater exquisite cuisine. The only limit these chefs know is their own creativity.

Our chefs, for example, source fresh ingredients from local markets as we traverse the seas. They’ll use these ingredients for specialized nightly menus meant to complement your all-immersive traveling experience. Our smaller number of passengers also means you’ll be able to easily find a table for you and any friends you’ve made along the way — no reservations needed at our main dining room.

Would you like to take your culinary experience to the next level? Join your chef while they shop for those local ingredients at each port. Gain direct insight into the local cuisine in a way only a small cruise ship can provide.

7. Drink Locally-Inspired Cocktails

One of our favorite ways to continue delighting our guests is by crafting a cocktail of the day inspired by the local flavors. Choose between our classic menu of drinks you’re accustomed to or complement your locally-immersive meals with a regional cocktail.

Dock Closer to Your Destination

8. Dock Closer to Your Destination

Remote places of natural beauty or bustling cities are more accessible to small cruise ships. Instead of docking far away, sail straight into Copenhagen or dock close to the Kenai Fjords, where you can experience a modern-day Alaskan ice age. The versatility of small ships means you have the chance to sail closer to awe-inspiring destinations than ever before.

9. Sail in an Intimate, Welcome Ambience

With fewer passengers on board, enjoy a relaxed atmosphere unbothered by the hustle and bustle of larger cruise lines. Be welcomed by an attentive crew who use their knack for hospitality to craft an intimate, caring environment. If you’re interested in a unique event, attend our crew talent show and enjoy a close-knit, entertaining experience.

When choosing a small ship, you allow yourself the opportunity to get to know your fellow passengers and crew alike.

10. Bond With Like-Minded Travelers

The close-knit, welcoming atmosphere of a boutique ship also means you have a unique chance to form friendships with your fellow travelers. Cruise with people who share your love for travel and yearn to experience new cultures intimately and authentically. Many of the passengers on board might also be savvy cruisers who can share firsthand knowledge with you.

Go on excursions in groups small enough to enjoy conversations with your companions, and make the most of a small ship’s uncrowded restaurants to dine with your newfound friends whenever you wish.

11. Avoid the Crowds

On a yacht-style ship, like those in our fleet, you’ll avoid the crowds of a large ship. Imagine wandering an upper deck at sea, the breeze in your hair, the ocean spray misting your face. You have the freedom of space around you to truly relax and enjoy a peaceful atmosphere. Breathe in the tranquility of the open waters, read a favorite book on the deck or enjoy a pleasant conversation away from the bustle of a crowd. 

You go on a vacation to escape the stress of everyday life. Cruising on a small ship will provide an unrivaled experience of restfulness and peace.

12. Save Time With No Lines

With fewer passengers on board, you’ll enjoy freedom from long lines. Spend your trip going on adventures, enjoying a pleasant meal and learning new things — not waiting in line. A small vessel will give you the liberty to truly capitalize on every minute of your trip.

13. Schedule Days Your Way

Embarking on a boutique cruise benefits your schedule in more ways than one. While a large cruise might fill your days with a stringent itinerary and a plethora of activities, a small ship like Windstar leaves your schedule up to you.

Our relaxed atmosphere means we give you the freedom to decide what you want to do and how you want to experience your destinations. Leisurely move about your day at the pace that best suits you, whether that means completing as many activities as you can squeeze into a day or spending time sitting on the deck and relaxing.

Enjoy on-board entertainment, set off on a kayak directly from the yacht and round out your day with a trip to the spa or fitness center. Make your ideal cruise a reality with an unconfined schedule.

14. Relish in an Ocean-View From Every Stateroom and Suite

Absorb as much of the open seas as you possibly can on a perfectly sized yacht. The modest size leaves more oceanside space for every room.

Larger vessels have so many guests that some rooms have to be tucked into the center of the ship out of sheer practicality. On smaller lines like Windstar Cruises, every stateroom and suite features a porthole or window with a spectacular view of the ocean.

When you retire to your room for the night, take the wonder of the seas with you and fall asleep to a tranquil view.

Relish in an Ocean-View From Every Stateroom and Suite

15. Enjoy Inclusive Cruise Fare

If there’s one recurring theme when it comes to small cruise benefits, it’s the personalized and attentive service these ships will bring. Their crews want to send you on the best voyage possible, and they’ll go out of their way to meet your needs. 

With companies like Windstar, this means providing inclusive amenities with your fare. Your price includes meals, non-alcoholic beverages, onboard barbecue, complimentary movies and tv shows on demand, destination briefings, personal snorkel gear and more.

16. Travel in a Thoughtfully Designed Ship

Well-designed boutique ships strike the perfect balance between ample-sized guest rooms and a straightforward layout. Enjoy all the space you need in your quarters. Then, seamlessly make your way from your room to the decks without trying to memorize long pathways or trek across a winding ship. Alongside other time-saving features of small ships, the simplicity of the layout leaves you more time to enjoy your vacation.

As an added bonus, the size of the ship also makes it far easier for you to meet up with your newfound friends. Even without setting up plans ahead of time, you can experience the neighborly appeal of passing travelers you’ve come to know, no matter where on the ship you’re headed. 

17. Experience Cruising in a Sailing Ship

Can you imagine traversing the open seas with picturesque sails billowing in the wind overhead? How about gliding along the water with the classic smoothness of a sailing ship?

If you choose small for your next cruise, that dreamlike scenario could become a reality. Big cruise lines can’t employ sailing ships in their fleets, but smaller cruises make for the perfect sailing opportunities. Three of Windstar’s six yachts are sailing vessels, including the largest in the world.

Relish in a timeless method of travel and experience sailing like never before on your next cruise.

18. Chat Directly With the Captain On Board

We’ve emphasized just how personable small-ship cruises can be, but we’ve saved one of the most unique experiences for last.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to captain a cruise ship? Perhaps you’ve yearned to see what the inside of the bridge looks like. Maybe you’re fascinated by the ins and outs of navigation. The close-knit atmosphere of Windstar’s ships provides unique access to this information.

Head into the bridge to chat directly with the captain and learn firsthand exactly what it’s like to command a ship with hundreds of people on board.

Windstar Cruises Knows Unique Experiences

Windstar Cruises Knows Unique Experiences

Enjoy all the benefits of a small cruise when you sail with Windstar Cruises. We know how much unique, authentic experiences set your vacation apart, which is why we take the time to curate itineraries and excursions that allow you to immerse yourself in your destination. Our yacht-style ships provide a relaxed, friendly environment staffed with a crew that goes above and beyond to meet your individual needs.

Set sail in one of our newest ships to a stunning destination. If you’re ready to embark on your next adventure, browse our cruises today or contact a Vacation Planner to learn more.

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