Find your match among this hand-selected fleet of small cruise ships, yachts and sailboats designed to explore up close and in style. Choose from catamarans, motorsailers, riverboats, barges and small yachts with as few as 8 guests up to 100+ passenger expedition cruise ships. Learn all about small cruise ships on this page, and use our ship finder filters to begin your small ship search.

How Many Passengers Are Aboard a Small Cruise Ship?

How small is a small cruise ship? The definition of a small ship is relative to who you ask. Our definition is dependent upon each destination, but in general our partner small ships are under 300 guests, with the majority being well under that passenger count, in the range of 20-50 guests.

Types of Small Ships

Small ships range from smaller yachts, sailboats, riverboats and catamarans, up to larger expedition ships. The type of small ship you choose is ultimately determined by a number of factors including your cruise destination, travel companions, preferences for onboard amenities, and so on.

For example, a small sailing ship may be available for an Arctic cruise, but not something found offering small ship Alaska cruise itineraries. Whether you want to block out the ship for your own charter cruise is also another important factor when choosing your small cruise ship. Use our filters below to view them all and browse the many types of small ships available today.

Why Choose a Small Ship?

Small cruise ships go where the big ships can’t thanks to shallow drafts and flexible itineraries. Aboard an expedition cruise, you will be among likeminded travelers who are seeking up-close wildlife encounters, sustainable travel experiences, active explorations and education along the way. Aboard a small ship, you will spend more time off the boat than on, so you can focus on the environment you’re visiting instead of the elaborate onboard amenities found on larger vessels. Learn more about the difference in Small Ship vs Big Ship.

View All Small Ships

Use our ship finder filters below to begin your small ship search. Each small cruise ship seen on our website displays cabin information, deck plans and links to each small ship’s itineraries worldwide. For more details on ships by destination, view our curated and Antarctica Ship page.