8 benefits of small ship cruising

Interested in extraordinary travel? Here are 8 reasons to try a small ship adventure cruise on your next holiday break.

Intrepid travellers are seeking out exotic destinations in search of enrichment and life-changing experiences. Led by cashed-up baby boomers and well-heeled Gen Xers, these travellers are turning their back on the tourist-packed, crowded ports, attracted instead to adventurous itineraries on board small expedition ships and superior, fit-for-purpose shipboard amenities. Still not sure if small ship cruising is for you? Here are 8 reasons to try a small ship adventure cruise on your next holiday break.

Destinations with a difference - If you have a hankering to explore less-visited destinations like the outer Great Barrier Reef, Antarctica, Galapagos Islands, Alaska or perhaps Vietnam, smaller ships are the way to go. Their more compact size enables them to navigate through shallower waters, making possible access to a much wider range of destinations. What is more, since small ships usually carry Zodiacs onboard on board, you don�t need a wharf to dock at � you can just pull up on a beach. From the far-flung corners of Papua New Guinea to Cape York and Arnhem Land in Australia�s deep north, these destinations are a chance to leave the traditional tourist trail behind.

Unique Benefits - Get ready to sit back and experience one-of-a-kind service from the ship�s attentive crew. Exotic excursions to private islands and beaches and the flexibility to explore these spaces without strict adherence to a schedule are just some of the reasons many prefer small ship cruises. For entertainment, enjoy an array of enriching options, including seminars and classes about local culture, art, botany or wildlife. Small ships also offer you the opportunity to build relationships with other passengers that you will see daily. You�ll eat together and will often spend time together on the group excursions.

Experience the local flavours - Seeing the sights is one of the joys of travel; for many travellers, however, tasting the local flavours is equally important. Catering for far fewer passengers, small ships can harness the best and freshest local ingredients to showcase in their small-batch meals. If you are cruising Tasmania, for instance, you may be able to feast on flavour-packed local cheeses, as well as ocean-fresh seafood such as Bruny Island oysters. Teams of private chefs are known for their creativity in menu development, and take great pleasure in delighting you with their latest creations.

No queues - On a typical larger cruise, nothing happens quickly. There are just too many people to assemble. On a small ship, however, things run much more smoothly. It is not just the lack of queuing; it is the freedom. There is no assigned seating at meals for instance; you can decide who you would like to sit with. That means you get to spend more time with the people whose company you enjoy. It is simply an easier way to travel.

Getting active - Small ships specialize in expedition cruising, which means plenty of opportunities to get out and get active. The activities depend on the destination. There are some extraordinary hikes to enjoy, plenty of opportunities for swimming and snorkeling at pristine beaches and reefs. unencumbered sightseeing, and bird watching.

Wildlife encounters - Everyone knows the first rule of wildlife spotting: keep quiet. The less noise you make, the less likely you are to startle wildlife. Good luck keeping the noise level down when you are traveling with a large group. On a small ship, it is much easier to keep numbers tight on shore excursions. That, in turn, means you are much more likely to come face to face with the native wildlife. For example in Tasmania, you may encounter anything from wallabies to echidnas to Tasmanian devils, while in the Kimberley you may see goannas, rock wallabies, dolphins, and even humpback whales.

Getting way off the beaten track - Have you ever traveled to sparsely inhabited island? It�s unlikely � few people have ventured to the remote reaches of our planet. Small ships have the capability of visiting destinations and locales not available to the average traveler.

Meeting the locals - One of the great joys of travel is getting to know the locals. On a big ship shore excursion, however � which will often see three busloads of passengers heading to the same destination, each group shepherded by its own tour guide � that is never going to happen. Small ships, however, are all about local encounters, whether you are on the Tiwi Islands off the Northern Territory coast or meeting tribal people living along Papua New Guinea�s Sepik River. In villages such as Kambaramba, built entirely on stilts, and Kanganaman, famous for its traditional carvers, visitors are few and far between, so you are guaranteed a warm welcome.

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