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20 Reasons Why Smaller is Better

20 Reasons Why Smaller is Better

small ship versus big ship

Here at ExpeditionTrips, mega-ships are not our thing. From the tip of the bow to the tail of the stern, we whole-heartedly believe that the intimacy and nimbleness of smaller ships are what count when it comes to expedition cruising and exploring wilderness areas.

Our team of world explorers is delighted to share the sizable benefits that small ships deliver, be it aboard a 12-passenger motor yacht, 40-passenger river boat, 128-passenger icebreaker, or 250-passenger expedition ship!

20. The best part about traveling on a small ship is getting to know your fellow passengers and the staff onboard! In a more intimate group, you learn peoples' names, swap stories over dinner, and share the experience together, potentially making new lifelong friends. The same goes for the guides and naturalists, the cozy group size on these smaller ships enables you to ask plenty of questions and learn so much more than you ever would on a larger ship. It’s my favorite way to travel!  ~ Lauren

sunrise camping in Antarctica
Photo by ET Traveler, Robert B.

19. You get off the beaten path of the mega-ships—so they won't be blocking your view!  ~ Jennie

Snowshoeing in Antarctcia

18. Small ships mean more time spent onshore and more engagement with the expedition team.  ~ Tom

small ship in AntarcticaPhoto by ET Traveler, Rob C.

17. Nature is vast and its magnitude is a part of its power. Smaller ships allow you the unique ability to feel the grand scale of it all, remaining fully immersed in the destination and the experience of wild beauty.  ~ Aubree

kayaking in Alaska

16. You'll have greater accessibility to get into remote places to do the activities you love! ~ April

hiking and nature photography in AntarcticaPhoto by ET Traveler, Dori T.

15. Your close proximity to water—it's impossible to look a whale in the eye from 15 decks above the ocean. ~ Chris

whale watching from small ship in Antarctica

14. Small ships allow you to get to know the staff and crew. ~ Whitney

13. Smaller ships allow travelers to reach remote, wild places that are not accessible on larger ships. Utilizing Zodiacs to access shore rather than piers in towns, small ships enable the wildlife and wilderness encounters that really bring a destination to life. They are about exploration, connecting with nature, and marveling at the natural wonders of our planet.  ~ Olivia

South pacific zodiac cruise summer camp for adults

12. Small ships feel like summer camp for adults! The activities and amenities are one part of the equation of this style of travel, but the connections forged on these small ship cruises sometimes create lifelong friendships, which is unique from other styles of travel.  ~ Meg

11. Smaller ships are an intimate way to explore unique destinations.  ~ Marybeth

small ship hiking in Antarctica

10. Smaller ships leave less of an environmental footprint.  ~ Whitney

9. Small ships have the luxury of changing plans on the fly, because wildlife rarely appears on cue and there are some hidden coves—not to mention rock formations and icebergs—that deserve extra time to appreciate. There are surprises every single day!  ~ Shelley

beautiful arctic landscape

8. When sailing on a smaller ship, you get to be IN nature. Whether it be hiking a shoreline, kayaking at the face of a glacier, paddling with whales, or camping… you get to experience it, not just watch it on a jumbotron.  ~ Sara

kayaking in alaska

7. Big ships bring with them a degree of chaotic energy that I'm just not looking for when I travel.  ~ Sarah

6. Camaraderie: After my first small ship experience, I don’t think I’ll ever go “big,” especially after seeing a photo on social media of a packed pool deck on a mega-ship. My 88-passenger ship was the perfect size for a Baja adventure. There was lots of jovial camaraderie and I got the chance to get to know many of my shipmates—yet there was plenty of space for quiet moments on deck after dinner. ~ Maria

huge cruise ship

5. A smaller ship fosters a larger sense of community; strangers quickly become friends when you’re all sharing the same extraordinary experiences together.  ~ Amanda

Friend travel in the Arctic

4. Adult Summer Camp! On small ships you make friends for life and can easily get to know your fellow passengers. 
~ Chris

friends travel in Baja

3. I love smaller ships because you really get to know every passenger's name and make friends all over the world! 
~ Sabrina

Make new friends in Galapagos Islands

2. I travel to escape my city life, and small ships have always provided me with relaxation and personalized service, rather than a floating city where you get lost in the crowd.  ~ Sarah

travelers relax on beach in costa rica

1. While in the Galapagos on a 16-passenger catamaran, exploring beaches and trails with only a handful of people made the experience all the more personal—felt like we were the only people for miles.  ~ Marybeth

white sand beach with sea lions in Galapagos Islands