Top 10 Smallest Cruise Ships within the World


When folks take into consideration cruising, what typically involves thoughts are the mega-ships that carry extra passengers than the inhabitants of a small city. 

However, cruise ships are available all sizes. While smaller cruise ships is probably not as well-liked because the vessels supplied by massive cruise strains corresponding to Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line, they supply a singular expertise that you would be able to solely get in a extra intimate setting.

Keep studying to be taught in regards to the world’s smallest cruise ships, why some folks want them, and why you must think about setting sail on a smaller vessel on your subsequent cruise trip.

What Is a Small Cruise Ship?

Small cruise ships usually carry 100 passengers or much less. In distinction, the typical cruise ship capability is round 3,000 visitors, and the most important cruise ships can carry as much as 7,000 visitors.

Small cruise strains usually function small cruise ships, whereas the foremost cruise strains often solely have ships that accommodate at the least 1,000 visitors. For instance, the smallest vessels supplied by cruise line large Carnival Cruise Line are the Carnival Elation and Carnival Paradise, which every have a visitor capability of over 2,000.

Top 10 Smallest Cruise Ships within the World

There are extra small cruise ships out there than you would possibly suppose. They have gotten more and more well-liked, however one vessel is method smaller than the remainder. Without additional ado, right here is the world’s smallest cruise ship. Plus, listed below are these within the operating for the title based mostly on their gross tonnage.

1. Celebrity Xploration (Celebrity Cruises)

While it’s true that giant cruise strains don’t often function small vessels, Celebrity Cruises is an exception. Accommodating solely 16 visitors and with solely eight cabins out there, the Celebrity Xploration is the world’s smallest cruise ship.

Celebrity Xploration
Celebrity Xploration

Celebrity Xploration units sail within the Galapagos Islands, the place you may see Los Lobos and Kicker Rock. The better part is that the entire cabins on this ship have a view, with some together with a non-public veranda. Other options embrace a lounge and a solar deck to chill out all through your voyage. 

Although you may guide one of many eight cabins individually, Celebrity Cruises primarily markets Xploration for household gatherings and getaways with pals. So collect 15 of the closest folks in your life and guide this all-inclusive cruise across the Galapagos Islands.

Also, within the Celebrity Cruises fleet are two different small vessels, however they don’t make the highest 10. Celebrity Xpedition is at 2,842 gross tons, and the newer Celebrity Flora is at 5,739 gross tons.

  • Guest Capacity: 16
  • Gross Tonnage: 320
  • Length: 98.3 ft
  • Crew: 12
  • Entered Service: 2017

2. Safari Quest (UnCruise Adventures)

Safari Quest is available in at No. 2 on our listing, providing a real small-ship Alaska expertise with the power to stand up near glaciers and to discover hidden coves and harbors alongside the Frontier State’s dramatic southeast shoreline. Excursions by kayak and inflatable skiffs allow cruise adventurers to see Alaska and its wildlife.

Safari Quest
Safari Quest

Onboard the ship, which sails from Juneau, visitors will get pleasure from an on-deck sizzling tub and health tools. Underwater cameras permit visitors to glimpse sea life and different ocean wonders discovered on this coastal vacation spot. There are a complete of 11 cabins to select from.

  • Guest Capacity: 22
  • Gross Tonnage: 345
  • Length: 120 ft
  • Crew: 11
  • Entered Service: 1992

3. MS Panorama II (Variety Cruises)

If you’re searching for an expertise of classical crusing, look no additional than the MS Panorama II

This vessel options three tall sails and wooden paneling to offer an genuine cruise expertise. It’s motor sailed, that means the vessel depends partially on the wind to sail – a singular function for a cruise ship. The vessel has a pace of 10 knots and was final refurbished in 2015.

MS Panorama II
MS Panorama II (Photo Credit: Variety Cruises)

Guests can select from 25 cabins with ocean views and have entry to a number of indoor and outside lounges. You can even benefit from the outdoor, climate allowing, and entertain your self with board video games or lease tools for water sports activities.

  • Guest Capacity: 49
  • Gross Tonnage: 498
  • Length: 164 ft
  • Crew: 16-18
  • Entered Service: 2004

4. Admiralty Dream (Alaska Dream Cruises)

Admiralty Dream, No. 4 on our listing, cruises the thrilling Inside Passage of Alaska and shines a highlight on the area’s native peoples, the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian. Cruisers have alternatives to see dance performances and carving demonstrations, and may work together with native folks, together with hunters and fishermen.

Admiralty Dream
Admiralty Dream (Photo Credit: Alaskan Dream Cruises)

Glacier cruising by way of expedition vessels supplies excellent experiences, and seaside touchdown craft supply land explorations guided by consultants. Dining specialties function regionally caught king salmon, halibut, and crab, amongst different Alaskan delicacies.

  • Guest Capacity: 49
  • Gross Tonnage: 540
  • Length: 143 ft
  • Crew: 21
  • Entered Service: 1979

5. Aqua Mare (Aqua Expeditions)

The Aqua Mare, No. 5 on our listing, is taken into account a super-yacht designed for exploring the extraordinary Galapagos Islands. Personalized providers and naturalist guides make a Galapagos cruise on this ship actually magical.

Aqua Mare
Aqua Mare (Photo Credit: Aqua Expeditions)

Onboard the ship, cruisers discover panoramic eating venues, outside lounge and barbecue areas, a swimming platform, and a Jacuzzi, good for stress-free after a day spent exploring the area’s wildlife and nature. With elegant interiors and simply seven suites, the ship has extra dwelling and gathering areas than most different yachts of comparable measurement.

  • Guest Capacity: 16
  • Gross Tonnage: 629
  • Length: 163 ft
  • Crew: 16
  • Entered Service: 1998

6. National Geographic Sea Lion and Sea Bird

Next on our listing of the world’s smallest cruise ships is the National Geographic Sea Lion and the similar sister ship, Sea Bird.

As you may guess from any National Geographic cruise, this ship was designed to navigate passages wealthy in wildlife inaccessible to bigger ships. The vessel has all of the modern instruments you must discover, together with a SplashCam and a hydrophone that allow you to look and hear beneath the waves.

Sea Lion
Sea Lion (Photo Credit: National Geographic)

Enjoy excursions that embrace kayaking and different adventures to discover the gorgeous pure world of your vacation spot. You might not have identified that National Geographic supplied cruises, however now that you recognize, they’re undoubtedly price wanting into.

  • Guest Capacity: 62
  • Gross Tonnage: 630
  • Length: 147 ft
  • Crew: 31
  • Entered Service: 1981

7. Le Ponant (Ponant)

Le Ponant is subsequent on our listing. This three-masted ship was refurbished in 2022 and options widespread areas with expansive water views. The small ship presents 16 elegant staterooms and is understood for its connoisseur delicacies served within the ship’s single eating venue, Le Diamant.

Le Ponant
Le Ponant (Photo Credit: Korvil / Shutterstock)

The ship hoists its sails and navigates by the wind as a lot as potential on every cruise, giving cruisers a singular, environmentally accountable expertise not usually out there on cruise ships.

  • Guest Capacity: 32
  • Gross Tonnage: 1,189
  • Crew: 33
  • Length: 288 ft
  • Entered Service: 1991

8. MS Monet (Noble Caledonia)

The MS Monet, No. 8 on our listing, was constructed to cruise the turquoise waters of the Adriatic and Aegean seas. The ship’s aim is to supply a non-public yacht/nation home resort expertise with an attentive crew and upscale onboard areas. Indoor and outside eating areas give cruisers a selection of venue, and visitors can get pleasure from their meals al fresco with ocean views.

MS Monet
MS Monet (Photo Credit: Noble Caledonia)

Guest audio system and an expedition crew present insights throughout the ship’s island-hopping itineraries. Gathering areas embrace an indoor lounge, and the ship additionally includes a deck-side Jacuzzi.

  • Guest Capacity: 50
  • Gross Tonnage: 1,453
  • Length: 220 ft
  • Crew: 29
  • Entered Service: 1998

9. Chichagof Dream (Alaskan Dream Cruises)

The Chichagof Dream is outfitted for energetic explorations of the thrilling Alaskan coast in addition to its distant wilderness areas. Special expedition and touchdown crafts permit visitors to get pleasure from shoreside hikes. Glacial fjords are seen up shut in skiffs, and visitors of all ability ranges are invited to kayak. The ship even has custom-built kayak launchers that make loading and unloading simple.

Chichagof Dream
Chichagof Dream (Photo Credit: Alaskan Dream Cruises)

Meals function freshly caught Alaskan seafood, and the ship encourages holistic experiences too, corresponding to in its Himalayan salt room. Expedition leaders assist cruisers be taught in regards to the geography and ecology of Alaska’s pristine Inside Passage.

  • Guest Capacity: 76
  • Gross Tonnage: 1,471
  • Length: 207 ft
  • Crew: 25
  • Entered Service: 1984

10. Hebredian Princess (Hebridean Island Cruises)

The remaining ship in our listing is Hebridean Princess, a small luxurious vessel that plies the waters off the coast of the Scottish Highlands, the Scottish islands of Orkney and Shetland, and locations farther afield corresponding to  England, Northern Ireland, Wales, and the Channel Islands.

Hebridean Princess
Hebridean Princess (Photo Credit: Paul Wishart / Shutterstock)

With a comfy Inglenook hearth in its primary lounge, the ship presents individually designed staterooms. Experts in maritime historical past, ornithology, archaeology, and horticulture entertain visitors onboard the ship.

  • Guest Capacity: 48
  • Gross Tonnage: 2,112
  • Length: 236 ft
  • Crew: 38
  • Entered Service: 1964

Why Choose a Small Cruise Ship?

Some folks want to be on small vessels slightly than bigger ones which regularly are in comparison with small cities at sea. There are quite a lot of the explanation why. Let’s take a look at the highest causes the world’s smallest cruise ship might attraction to folks. 

Fewer People

One of the highest causes folks select to journey on smaller cruise ships is that fewer visitors are on board.

When there are 3,000-plus passengers onboard, you might have bother stress-free by the pool or really feel a bit of crowded at dinner. While a smaller cruise ship is certainly smaller in measurement, fewer passengers imply fewer folks to cope with general.

Oasis Class Cruise Ship

Another motive fewer folks onboard could be good is that it supplies a extra intimate setting for assembly different passengers. On a big cruise ship, even cruising for 30 days, you’ll nonetheless see new faces on disembarkation day. What’s extra, once you meet somebody as soon as, it’s possible you’ll by no means see them once more in your cruise until you trade info.

Read Also: Top 10 Biggest Cruise Ships within the World

While many individuals don’t go on cruises to spend time assembly strangers, for others, assembly new folks is what a cruise is about. A small vessel is conducive to this aim, as you’ll possible see the identical folks every day. This lets you get to know one another and spend time collectively. You might get to know the crew even higher. 

More Luxury

You’ll discover that many small cruise ships supply “luxury” experiences as a result of they prioritize the person visitor expertise. This luxurious could also be seen within the ship’s cabins, staterooms, eating choices, spa, and different leisure choices.

With fewer visitors onboard, the crew might focus extra on every visitor’s wants. You might even discover that some cruise ships have virtually one crew member for each visitor on board, offering excellent, attentive service. 

Visit Remote Areas

One of essentially the most important benefits of smaller cruise ships versus a lot bigger ones is that they will extra simply go to distant areas and hidden gem locations. 

The smaller measurement of those ships makes it simpler to enter smaller ports, do some river cruising, and dock at smaller islands that bigger vessels can’t attain.

Galapagos Islands
Galapagos Islands (Photo Credit: Peter Sobolev / Shutterstock)

For instance, the Galapagos Islands off the northwest coast of South America is a well-liked vacation spot for small cruise ships because the area is essentially inaccessible to massive vessels. Other locations that smaller ships might extra simply entry embrace polar areas, the inside of France, and Fiji’s Out Islands.

Moreover, smaller ships translate to a smaller environmental footprint to attenuate hurt to the vacation spot. Now that you recognize why small cruise ships ought to be in your listing, let’s tackle some remaining questions.


What is the tiniest cruise ship on the earth?

The tiniest cruise ship on the earth is the Celebrity Xploration supplied by Celebrity Cruises. The ship has a visitor capability of 16 and sails across the Galapagos Islands. 

What are small cruise ships known as?

Some are known as small yachts as a substitute of cruise ships. However, that is largely inaccurate, as, not like a typical yacht you may lease, cruise ships all the time have a set itinerary. While some vessels, such because the Celebrity Xploration, can be booked by one occasion, there’s nonetheless a set itinerary. 

What is the distinction between a small cruise ship and a ferry?

The distinction between a small cruise ship and a ferry is that small cruise ships are leisure vessels with a set itinerary and name at ports alongside the best way. In distinction, ferries should not leisure and are solely designed to hold you from level A to level B.

What is the most effective small cruise ship?

The finest small cruise ship for you is determined by what you’re searching for. If you search journey on the ports, you must select expedition-driven ships corresponding to National Geographic Sea Lion. If you like to chill out in luxurious, one thing just like the Le Ponant could also be the only option on your wants. 


To recap, the world’s smallest cruise ship is the Celebrity Xploration from Celebrity Cruises. However, quite a lot of different vessels are price exploring. The advantages of a small-ship cruising could be summed up as fewer folks, extra luxurious, and extra distant locations. If you need to discover the Galapagos Islands, you must undoubtedly do it on a small cruise ship!

Smallest Cruise Ships


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