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Sea Cloud spirit in Panama. Images courtesy of Sea Cloud Cruises


Set Sail for Luxury and Adventure: The Allure of Yachting

Small ship and yacht cruising can be absolutely delightful. The intimate atmosphere, the personalized experiences, and the ability to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations are all part of what makes it so appealing to many.  A Small ship can be a great choice for big adventures. Here we focus on classic sailing vessels and yachts with 100 passengers or less*. 

Luxurious Accommodations: Yachts often feature opulent cabins, spacious decks, and upscale amenities, providing a high level of comfort and privacy for guests.

Personalized Service: With a smaller guest capacity compared to large cruise ships, yacht crews can offer highly personalized service tailored to each guest's preferences and needs.

Exclusive Destinations: Yachts have the flexibility to visit secluded ports and remote islands that larger ships can't access, allowing guests to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations.

Customized Itineraries: Yacht charters offer the flexibility to create customized itineraries based on guests' interests, whether it's snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, exploring charming coastal towns, or simply relaxing on secluded beaches.

Gourmet Dining: Yachts often boast talented chefs who can create exquisite culinary experiences using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Guests can enjoy fine dining tailored to their tastes and dietary preferences.


Privacy and Intimacy: Yachts provide a private and intimate setting for guests to enjoy quality time with friends, family, or loved ones without the crowds often found on larger cruise ships.

Recreational Activities: From water sports like snorkeling, diving, and kayaking to onboard amenities such as spas, gyms, and entertainment systems, yachts offer a wide range of recreational activities to suit every preference.

Scenic Cruising: Yacht cruises often involve sailing along picturesque coastlines, offering breathtaking views and opportunities for wildlife spotting and photography.

Flexibility and Freedom: Guests have the freedom to create their own schedule, whether it's waking up to breakfast on the deck, enjoying a leisurely afternoon sail, or anchoring in a secluded bay for a sunset cocktail.

Exclusivity: Yacht charters provide a sense of exclusivity and privilege, allowing guests to enjoy a truly unique and memorable vacation experience tailored to their desires.

Cluster of Islands

Here are a few destinations which are best visited on a small ship or yacht:

Tahiti and the South Pacific

The islands of Tahiti are renowned for their stunning natural beauty, characterized by lush green mountains, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and vibrant coral reefs.


Apart from Tahiti, French Polynesia comprises several other beautiful islands and atolls, including Moorea, Bora Bora, Raiatea, and Huahine, among others. Each island has its own unique charm, from the dramatic landscapes of Moorea to the luxurious overwater bungalows of Bora Bora.


The islands of Tahiti are not only known for their natural beauty but also for their rich Polynesian culture and warm hospitality. Visitors can experience traditional dance and music, sample local cuisine, and learn about the history and customs of the Tahitian people. Whether you're seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, the islands of Tahiti offer a paradise unlike any other.

Windstar Cruises and Paul Gauguin

Image courtesy of Windstar Cruises

Spice Islands/Indonesia

Embarking on a cruise around the Spice Islands promises an enchanting voyage through history, culture, and natural splendor. These islands, located in the eastern part of Indonesia, have been historically renowned for their exotic spices like nutmeg, cloves, and mace, which once lured explorers and traders from around the world.


As you set sail, the azure waters of the Molucca Sea greet you, sparkling under the tropical sun.


Your journey can take you to such locales as Ambon, the capital of Maluku Province and a vibrant cultural hub. Here, you may explore bustling markets filled with aromatic spices, vibrant textiles, and intricate handicrafts. The remnants of colonial architecture whisper tales of the Spice Wars that once ravaged these shores.


Or you may get to experience Banda Neira, the heart of the Spice Islands. Surrounded by emerald-green hills and pristine beaches, this tiny island exudes an old-world charm. Visit historic forts such as Fort Belgica, standing as silent sentinels of the past, and stroll through nutmeg groves where fragrant breezes carry whispers of centuries-old trade.


As your cruise continues, you might discover hidden gems like Ternate and Tidore, once fierce rivals in the spice trade. Explore their volcanic landscapes, where lush forests cloak ancient calderas, and immerse yourself in the rich traditions of local communities.


Each day brings new adventures and discoveries as you hop from one island to another, indulging in snorkeling escapades in coral reefs teeming with marine life or simply relaxing on pristine beaches fringed with swaying palms.


Evenings aboard the ship are filled with culinary delights inspired by the Spice Islands' rich gastronomic heritage. Feast on aromatic dishes infused with cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon, savoring the flavors of a bygone era.

Cruise lines: Aqua Expeditions

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Greek Isles & The Mediterranean

Cruising the Greek Isles on a small yacht is the ultimate way to experience this paradise! With intimate size, you can explore secluded bays, untouched beaches, and hidden gems that larger ships can't reach. Enjoy personalized itineraries, flexible schedules, and a sense of freedom as you sail from island to island. Dive into the crystal-clear waters, soak up the sun on deck, and immerse yourself in the authentic Greek lifestyle. It's the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation!


The Greek Isles are renowned for their stunning beauty, crystal-clear waters, and rich history. Each island has its own unique charm.


When sailing around the Greek Isles, you'll have the opportunity to explore hidden coves, and discover ancient ruins along the coastline. You can hop from one island to another, experiencing the distinct culture and cuisine of each destination.


Make sure to try and visit iconic spots like the whitewashed buildings of Santorini, the ancient ruins of Delos, and the picturesque harbor of Hydra. And, of course, don't forget to indulge in some delicious Greek cuisine, from fresh seafood to traditional moussaka.

Cruise Lines: Windstar/Sea Cloud, Emerald Cruises, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection


Adriatic Coast / Croatia

As you sail the Adriatic, you'll find yourself immersed in a world of timeless beauty and boundless possibilities. The coastline is adorned with charming fishing villages, ancient fortresses, and hidden coves waiting to be discovered. Each day brings new adventures as you navigate the sparkling waters, with the freedom to chart your own course and explore at your own pace.  Most yachts have a Marina platform where you can jump off the and swim in the Adriatic or hop on a SUP or kayak for further exploration.


In Croatia, you'll encounter the enchanting cities of Dubrovnik and Split, where medieval architecture meets vibrant culture. Wander through narrow cobblestone streets, sip coffee in quaint cafes, and marvel at the intricate details of centuries-old cathedrals. Venture inland to explore the stunning landscapes of Plitvice Lakes National Park, where cascading waterfalls and emerald-green lakes create a scene straight out of a fairy tale.


As you continue south, the rugged coastline of Montenegro beckons with its dramatic cliffs and secluded bays. Explore the charming town of Kotor, nestled at the foot of towering mountains, and hike to the ancient fortress for panoramic views of the bay below. Cruise along the coast to discover hidden gems like the island of Sveti Stefan, a picture-perfect village perched on a rocky islet.


Throughout your journey, you'll be greeted by warm sea breezes, breathtaking vistas, and the sense of freedom that only comes from exploring the open sea. Whether you're an experienced sailor or a first-time adventurer, sailing the Adriatic in a small yacht promises an unforgettable experience that will stay with you long after you've returned to shore. It's a journey of discovery, relaxation, and pure joy, where every day brings a new opportunity to explore, dream, and embrace the beauty of the world around you.

Cruise Lines: Katarina Lines, Emerald Cruises


Seychelles and East Africa

Cruising the Seychelles is like stepping into a paradise untouched by time. Set sail on the azure waters of the Indian Ocean, where secluded beaches, lush rainforests, and vibrant coral reefs await. With each day comes a new island to explore, each more breathtaking than the last.


Most cruises will begin in Mahé, the largest island, where granite peaks rise dramatically from the turquoise sea. Explore the capital city of Victoria, with its colorful markets and colonial architecture, before venturing into the lush interior to discover hidden waterfalls and exotic wildlife.


During your time at sea, you'll encounter the stunning beaches of Praslin, home to the legendary Vallée de Mai, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the purported original Garden of Eden. Wander through towering coco de mer palms and listen to the sounds of rare birds echoing through the forest.


Experience La Digue, a cultural melting pot, where time seems to stand still amid the laid-back atmosphere and pristine beaches. Cycle along sandy paths to secluded coves, where crystal-clear waters beckon for a refreshing swim or snorkel among vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life.


For the ultimate remote escape, head to the outer islands, where untouched beauty reigns supreme. Discover the pristine atolls of Aldabra, home to the world's largest population of giant tortoises, or sail to the remote Amirantes for world-class fishing and diving in untouched waters.


Throughout your journey, you'll be treated to warm Seychellois hospitality and exquisite Creole cuisine, with fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and spices tantalizing your taste buds at every turn. And as the sun sets over the horizon, casting a golden glow across the sea, you'll know that you've experienced something truly magical in the Seychelles.

Cruise lines:  Emerald, Variety Cruises

Image courtesy of Emerald Yacht Cruises

Red Sea / Middle East / Suez Canal

Embark on an unforgettable journey to discover the extraordinary beauty of the Red Sea.  From the mystical red sand dunes of the Wadi Rum Desert to the timeless wonders of the ancient pyramids of Giza, every moment is a treasure waiting to be uncovered.


Egypt: where the legacy of the pharaohs comes to life amid the towering pyramids and ancient temples of Luxor and Karnak. Cruise along the Nile River, the lifeblood of ancient civilization, and marvel at the magnificent temples and tombs that line its banks.


Visit the vibrant resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, nestled along the shores of the Red Sea. Dive into the crystal-clear waters to explore the stunning coral reefs teeming with colorful marine life, from vibrant fish to graceful sea turtles.


Venture further afield to the bustling port cities of Haifa, Jeddah, Yanbu, and Duba, where the sights, sounds, and flavors of the Middle East come together in a captivating blend of cultures. Explore bustling markets, ancient fortresses, and vibrant souks, where the scent of spices fills the air and the call to prayer echoes through the streets.


Throughout your journey, you'll be treated to warm hospitality and authentic cuisine, from traditional Egyptian delicacies to fragrant Middle Eastern dishes. And as the sun sets over the horizon, casting a golden glow across the sea, you'll know that you've experienced something truly extraordinary in the Red Sea.

Cruise Lines: Emerald Cruises, Variety Cruises

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Amidst the allure of well-known destinations, the Caribean still harbors its secrets, hidden away from the beaten path of the large ocean liners that clog up some of the better known islands. These clandestine gems remain untouched by the hustle and bustle of tourist crowds, offering a glimpse into a world untouched by time.


Discover secluded coves framed by rugged cliffs, where the turquoise waters gently lap against golden sands, inviting you to unwind in solitude. Here, the only soundtrack is the whisper of the sea and the occasional cry of a passing seabird, creating a serene oasis of tranquility.


Set foot on shores where footprints are a rarity, where the only evidence of human presence is the occasional driftwood shelter or weathered seashell.  Enjoy snorkeling or stand-up paddleboarding off the end of the yacht’s marina platform. Or take advantage of some of the other “toys” available to you on board.


And when hunger strikes, seek out the solitary beach bar, a hidden treasure awaiting discovery. Here, the menu is dictated by the catch of the day, with freshly grilled seafood and ice-cold drinks served with a side of warm hospitality.


In these secret places, time seems to stand still, offering a rare opportunity to disconnect from the outside world and reconnect with the wonders of nature. It's a journey off the beaten path, where every moment is a reminder of the beauty and mystery that still exist in the world.

Cruise lines: The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, Emerald Cruises, Windstar Cruises


*Some of the cruise lines mentioned do have ships with over 100 passengers. 

Gustavia, St. Barts Image courtesy of Emerald Cruises
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