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Best Small Cruise Ships and Sailings

Best Small Cruise Ships and Sailings

Best Small Cruise Ships for Seeing Wildlife

Some parts of the world are best seen from a boat for various reasons. Some might be so remote they are inaccessible by land or air, while others are out in the middle of the sea. A small ship wildlife cruise is a unique vacation experience and a perfect way to see destinations up close, and the wildlife that call them home.

On a small ship cruise, you have the opportunity to kick back and relax while sailing along to each destination. Some cruises offer lectures from naturalist guides, providing the chance to learn about the flora and fauna of the places you’ll visit. You’ll enjoy the cozy and intimate ambiance that only small ships can offer while getting to know the other travelers on your trip and making lifelong friendships along the way.

From a small ship cruise, you’ll get in close to the tight inlets and coastlines that large ships cannot access. This provides numerous opportunities to capture photographs of the various species of wildlife you’ll encounter. A wildlife cruise is undeniably a special way to explore the places less traveled.

Where you can go and what you can see on a small cruise ship:

Marine life & birds in Scotland:

Sail through Scotland’s picturesque islands and sea lochs aboard a small ship or classic sailboat. While taking in the sea air, you’ll capture sightings of puffins, golden eagles, porpoises, minke whales, and more. The landscapes will captivate you, from rolling green hills to ancient ruined castles and weathered lighthouses. Pass through the remote Monach islands, the Outer Hebrides, to the archipelago St Hilda. This is home to Village Bay, Hirta, a UNESCO world heritage site and ghost town abandoned in the 1930s.

Join St Hilda Sea Adventures on an 11-night journey that explores the dramatic landscapes and scenic ocean views, as well as the unique wildlife of Scotland.

Polar bears and reindeer in the Arctic

It’s not every day that you have the chance to see polar bears and reindeer in their natural habitats, but this could be it! Begin your cruise in Norway, sailing through the Arctic stopping along the way to see the native wildlife. Stop in Spitsbergen where you’ll enjoy a polar bear safari, spot walrus, reindeer, and other iconic wildlife.

This world-class trip also includes zodiac excursions to explore the fjords, icebergs, and glaciers, as well as kayak trips and hiking expeditions. This is an Arctic playground, inviting you to come to play!

Join Quark Expeditions on a 9 or 10-day adventure in this icy wonderland.

South Georgia and Penguins in Antarctica

This is a trip of a lifetime as you embark on a journey from Ushuaia to the famed island of South Georgia. This island is best known for the gravesite of Sir Ernest Shackleton, and a collection of the Antarctic’s most iconic wildlife. A wildlife cruise to this part of the world will inspire your inner expeditionist and offer an experience unlike any other in the world.

Only here can you stare out off the bow of an expedition ship across miles of sea ice and feel the deafening silence broken up only by the sounds of cracking ice. This cool air awakens your inner child as you watch hundreds of penguins diving into the cool waters to hunt.

Join well-known Quark Expeditions on a 16-day cruise and penguin safari and enjoy the experience of discovering the 7th Continent.

Pink river dolphins and caiman in the Brazilian Amazon

The Amazon is vast in both size and reputation. It is known the world over for its lush rainforests, abundant wildlife, and adventures to be had. Discovering the Amazon is the dream of many, and exploring the Brazilian side of it checks all the boxes.

From the deck of a riverboat, you’ll have the chance to see the Amazon less discovered by tourists. Swim alongside a pink river dolphin, hike through the rainforest, learn the names and uses for medicinal plants, watch caiman lurk in the waters, and stand below towering waterfalls. River cruise adventures are endless and offer memorable moments to cherish and bring home.

Explore the Brazilian Amazon with Katerre on this thoughtfully crafted wildlife cruise. Enjoy 7 days on an environmentally and wildlife-friendly cruise that welcomes travelers of all ages.

Sea lions, tortoises, and blue-footed boobies in the Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands are of the most exotic places on Earth and major bucket-list topper. It is famed for its wildlife and lava rock islands, and is an amazing place to visit by cruise. On a small ship wildlife cruise, you can expect to see an abundance of wildlife in the sea, in the air, and on land. You’ll have multiple opportunities to step off board and onto the islands to explore by foot and encounter a variety of animal and plant life.

Enjoy informational sessions with naturalist guides, as well as kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, and swimming excursions. This is a trip that offers more than just travel, it’s an opportunity to learn and understand the land that fascinated Charles Darwin.

Consider a Galapagos Wildlife Cruise with Mountain Travel Sobek and spend 11-magical days aboard a deluxe yacht!

Seabirds, muskoxen, and reindeer on three Arctic islands

Bird lovers will be thrilled at the sightings of long-tailed ducks, Arctic terns, and ivory gulls, along with a variety of other seabirds. Cruising through the Arctic, you’ll visit Greenland, Iceland, and Spitsbergen, where you’ll have the chance to explore their unique landscapes.

In Greenland, watch for muskoxen grazing. Nearly 40% of the world’s population of muskoxen lives on this enormous island. You will then sail through one of the most beautiful fjord systems in the world, Scoresbysund, also known as “the birthplace of icebergs”.

In Spitsbergen, enjoy extraordinary glacier fronts and sightings of massive walrus, mystical polar bears, and infamous Svalbard reindeer. You’ll be faced with iconic wildlife everywhere you look, and wonderful opportunities to capture fantastic photos to show those at home.

Consider joining Quark Expeditions on a 13 or 15-day wildlife cruise that is positively magical. You’ll have stories and memories to share for years to come!

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Best Small Cruise Ships and Sailings