Small Ship Cruises
Do you long to visit Alaska but don't want to share the experience with 3,000 of your closest friends? Small Ship cruising may be for you. Alaska is the perfect place to try this type of cruising, as the waters of the Inside passage are calm and well protected from the ocean swells. The smaller ships are able to get into some of the bays and passages that are too narrow or shallow for the large cruise lines.
The ships vary in size from the very intimate 10-20 passengers yacht-style to 100-200 passenger vessels . Some offer adventure style activities like kayaking, All terrain Vehicle drives , guided hiking, fishing, and paddle boarding. There is often an expedition leader on board who directs the activities for the day sometimes even changing the itinerary to take advantage of opportunities for wildlife viewing or weather considerations. Other cruise lines stop in local communities and focus on the wildlife and the heritage of each town . Often these itineraries are set and don’t vary from the brochure.
Many of the small ships include activities rather than having to purchase shore excursions on board the ship. It is something to compare when you are looking at pricing or comparing different cruise lines.
Yacht and small ship cabin sizes are generally range from 90 sq ft to 200 square feet at the high end.
Dining on the small ships can vary from hearty fare using local ingredients and family style or buffet dining to more elegant offerings individually served. There are not as many venues on the small boats, so normally will be dining at scheduled times in one dining area.
Because of the size of the ships, the prices are higher than the large ship cruising and you very rarely see any discounting. However, because shore excursions and sometimes even alcoholic beverages are included you won’t find yourself reaching for your wallet every day. These items are a huge source of revenue for the big ships and adds to your overall price in the end.
Many of the small cruise ships offer special trips geared toward families. They will have programs geared for youth investigating the flora and fauna of the region. It’s even possible to book entire boat for your family group.
Service is an area where the small ships shine. The crew, from the captain down to your room steward know you by name. Changes or special requests at mealtime are no problem. Often the bridge of the ship is open to passengers for great wildlife viewing and knowledge of the crew navigating the boat.
Mid size ships
If you like the feel of large ship cruising but are looking for a more all inclusive product there are ships in Alaska that would fit your needs. The passenger count would be between 400 and 500 passengers , most staterooms are outside and with room sizes of 250 to 300 square feet.
Mid-size ships are still able to sail up narrow waterways allowing for stops in smaller communities of Southeast Alaska, while offering the activities you would find on a big ship, such as a sundeck, pool, water sports facilities, wellness areas with gym, spa, beauty salon, and gourmet restaurants.
Dining on board mid-size ships presents culinary excellence and innovative spirit. Some ships offer open-seating dining options and some at scheduled times.
These cruises are higher priced than large ships, however most fares are all-inclusive, covering almost all of your discretionary onboard expenses such as gratuities, room service, and beverages.
Many mid-size ships provide activities and entertainment for the whole family.
All crew members on a mid-size ship will see to it that you enjoy a unique experience. With attention to detail and casual elegance, a mid-size ship provides an intimate and relaxing vacation.