Small Ship Mediterranean Cruises

20 Cruises
7 Offers
Mediterranean cruises on small ships take you where the big ships can’t. Explore secluded swimming coves, tour ancient cities in smaller groups and unpack once as the captain sails you to the next iconic port. Ask our experts about how & where to get aboard.
Trips, Tours & Cruises

The Best Mediterranean Small Ship Cruises

By offering travelers the ability to go to places that ordinary cruise ships cannot access, small ship Mediterranean cruises provide a new and fresh take on what people think of when they think “cruise.” Not only will you explore regional flavors, breathtaking rock formations, stunning private coastlines and impressive edifices, you will experience it all in a way that very few do: at a relaxed pace aboard a small Mediterranean cruise ship or yacht.

Dine and explore on your own in unique ports, take expert-guided shore excursions, kayak and swim in quiet coves, or even help hoist the sails on a Mediterranean sailing cruise. Browse our Mediterranean cruises on small ships ranging from iconic sea routes along the Corinth Canal and Strait of Messina to explorations of less-visited islands in the Aegean, Ionian and Adriatic Seas.

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Mediterranean Cruises
with AdventureSmith

Mediterranean cruises on small ships with AdventureSmith Explorations provide less crowds and a more intimate setting. They are not confined to ports of call, but you’ll have plenty of time to explore the iconic sites you came to see—along with more hidden gems. Need more reasons to cruise the Mediterranean with AdventureSmith Explorations?

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Work with one Adventure Specialist to research, purchase & prepare for your Mediterranean cruise.

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A curated collection of more than 30 unique small ships, ranging from historic tall sailing ships to super yachts.

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With direct experience sailing & chartering Mediterranean cruises, we can match you with the best itinerary.

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We’re here to help you save. Take advantage of our partnerships & exclusive deals on Mediterranean sailings.

A group of small ship Mediterranean cruise travelers poses on a ledge in Santorini Greece at sunset with cliffs and white buildings behind them.

Small Ship Mediterranean Cruises in 2024 & 2025

Let our team be your clear, efficient & trusted resource throughout the selection, booking and small ship Mediterranean cruise preparation process. We have the experience you need on the logistics of current travel; what’s new for small ship Mediterranean cruises in 2024 and 2025; and combining countries on your itinerary with ease.

Now your only choice is where to go—and what style of ship. Our small ship Greek Island cruises hit the popular ports of Mykonos and Santorini. But they also can sail you farther afield into the Aegean Sea, into the Adriatic Sea and west toward Italy. Learn more about the regional cruise routes in the Mediterranean. Start your small Mediterranean cruise search with our award-winning personal service today.

Luxury Mediterranean Small Cruises

Small luxury cruises in the Mediterranean Sea feature exclusive sailing yachts and sophisticated expedition ships. Exclusive voyages explore hidden islands away from big ship crowds. Expect top rated itineraries, the best guides, exquisite cuisine and high crew-to-guest ratios for the ultimate luxury experience. Our small luxury cruise experts will match you to the perfect Mediterranean voyage. Enjoy VIP cabin onboard experiences aboard a gorgeous selection of yachts and motorsailers, as well as private Mediterranean yacht charters.

A man in red shorts looks from the bow of a small Mediterranean cruise ship with a blue flag and white deck towards a sandy beach
A female traveler  in a hat and sunglasses standing in front of a Greek island village with many white houses looking over the Mediterranean Sea.


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Small Ship Mediterranean Cruises: Where to Sail

Where to go in this widespread, popular destination? The following is an overview of Mediterranean small ship cruise regions, with notes on the best places for small ship. Our guidance on where to sail in the Mediterranean is separated into four broad categories based on the most common small ship Mediterranean cruise routes:

A map with beige and blue colors showing the popular small Mediterranean cruise region and waters around Greece, Italy and Croatia.

Cruises to Croatia, Dalmatian Coast, Albania, Montenegro

The southernmost shoreline of Croatia, running from the island of Rab south to the Bay of Kotor, is a popular stretch of coastline for Adriatic Sea cruises. Almost all Croatia small ship cruises visit this Dalmatia region, one of the best places to visit in the Mediterranean. 

Historic hillside towns made of brick and terracotta drop down to the sea in dramatic fashion. Fortified castles standing guard at the water’s edge (some of which can be seen in the TV series “Game of Thrones.”) This trendy region offers ancient Roman marble palaces, quiet beaches on small off-shore islands, cultural dances by engaging locals, world-renowned wine tasting and delectable dishes. Other Adriatic Sea cruise routes aboard small ships include the ports of Venice, Naples or even Athens.

Small Ship Greek Island Cruises

Greece is one of the Mediterranean’s most popular cruising destinations. With over 200 islands they are ideal for small ship cruising. Many small ship Greek Island cruises hit the popular ports of Mykonos and Santorini as well as the Corinth Canal. But we recommend routes that explore lesser known gems too. We recommend Peloponnese Peninsula and Cyclades cruises, which operate round-trip from Athens, Greece. Select routes take you far north as Corfu and the other Ionian Islands. Some itineraries even connect south to Egypt!

Small Ship Cruises to Greece and Turkey, Croatia or Egypt

If you’re looking to go farther afield, some Greece small ship cruises continue on to visit other nearby countries. The Aegean Sea takes center stage for small ship cruises to Turkey and Greece. The Aegean Islands are a collection of stunning landscapes, historical monuments and mythical legends. They are mostly under Greek sovereignty, though some eastern islands and smaller islets are under Turkish rule. 

Turkey’s Bodrum with its Mausoleum at Halicarnassus one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the vibrant Kusadasi market are highlights for cruises that include Turkey.

Small ship Mediterranean cruises that sail up the western coast of Greece and into the Adriatic Sea often include stops in Albania and Montenegro before finishing in Croatia. On a Dubrovnik to Athens cruise, for example, you can see the highlights of both of these iconic countries while not setting foot in an airport. These extended Croatia small ship cruise options are all excellent choices if you have time for a longer sailing.

Italy & Beyond

Italy has long been one of the best places to visit in the Mediterranean, but the small ship experience provides unique insights and exclusive access to sites not often visited. Unspoiled clifftop towns, sites of antiquity and incredible food and wine are highlights of Italy cruises. Mediterranean small ship cruises that include stops in Italy are fast-becoming favorites for travelers who want to skip crowded overland travel.

Look for popular routes from Venice or Naples that include Dubrovnik, Croatia, and small islets in the Adriatic Sea. Opt for small ship cruises around Sicily, or continue west with Mediterranean small ship cruise itineraries that visit other must-see ports.

“Discover harbors only accessible by small ship.”


Small Ship Mediterranean Cruises

Temperature & Rainfall

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg. High (F) 50 51 54 61 69 77 82 82 76 67 60 54
Avg. Low (F) 44 45 47 52 60 68 73 73 67 60 54 48
Avg. Water Temp (F) 64 61 59 62 63 66 69 74 73 72 71 66
Avg. Rainfall (Inches) 4.7 4.4 5.0 3.3 3.9 3.9 4.4 3.8 3.5 3.5 3.7 3.7

Subtropic Summer Cruising

The Mediterranean consists of a subtropic climate providing relatively mild winters and very warm summers, making it a perfect destination for small ship cruises. The temperature is moderated by nearby large bodies of water making for comfortable conditions throughout most of the year. The best time of year for small ship Mediterranean cruises is April through November.  

When to Plan Your Small Mediterranean Cruise?

Small Ship Mediterranean Cruises

Read a Galileo cruise ship review that includes insight from our expert aboard, as well as ratings from our travelers who’ve also sailed on this ship. Learn what makes this ship so special that our travelers ask for it by name.
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Small Ship Mediterranean Cruises

An AdventureSmith expert details her Dubrovnik to Split cruise aboard a 36-guest yacht. Learn all about the journey and tips for booking your cabin that can also apply to our other Croatia small ship cruises.
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Small Ship Mediterranean Cruises

Learn from an AdventureSmith luxury cruise expert what it’s like to travel aboard L’Austral and her identical fleet of sister ships Le Boreal, Le Lyrial and Le Soleal.
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Small Ship Mediterranean Cruises

A couple sails aboard the 49-guest Galileo motor sailor in remembrance of their Greece honeymoon cruise 21 years prior. The classic Galileo ship turned out to age like a fine wine, creating a new opportunity for a family vacation.
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Small Ship Mediterranean Cruises

Andrew reviews his Classical Greece cruise aboard the Harmony V yacht. Travel with him to Mykonos, Delos and Santorini.
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100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

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