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Travel Logs September 2016

Compulsive Traveler

Unique Small Ship Cruises

By Sandra Scott

In Europe it is a matter of picking your river. Cruises on the Rhine and Danube are the most popular and offered by several cruise lines such as Viking, Avalon, and Tauck.

There is a perfect cruise for everyone. Not everyone wants to be on a glitzy megaship with 3000 or more people. For those people there are many small ship cruises around the world that have fewer than 400 passengers and some with as few as 30. In many cases small ship cruises includes tours and other add-ons unlike most of the large cruise ships.

  1. New York State: There are several small cruise lines that travel the Hudson River such as American Cruise Line’s eight-day cruise on the Hudson; but Blount Small Ship Adventure has the vessels designed to travel the New York State canals. Their two-week Lakes Locks and Canals cruise between NYC and Montreal via Hudson, NY’s canals, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence Seaway is amazing. They also have cruises to some of the other Great Lakes.

  2. Hawaii: There are many Hawaiian Islands and one of the easiest ways to visit several of them is on a cruise ship. Adventure Smith Explorations stops at several islands. Another Hawaiian island-hopping company is UnCruise. With UnCruise’s Safari Explore the dress code is casual and guests will enjoy gourmet dining and excellent service.

  3. Mississippi and Ohio Rivers: American Queen Steamboat Company, the “American Queen” is the largest steamboat ever built. The stern paddle wheel harkens back to the days of Mark Twain but not the accommodations. The “American Queen” features the opulence of the Victorian era. The American Cruise Line’s “The Queen of the Mississippi” is a little larger than the “American Queen.” The American Cruise Line has a variety of itineraries on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.

  4. Europe: In Europe it is a matter of picking your river. Cruises on the Rhine and Danube are the most popular and offered by several cruise lines such as Viking, Avalon, and Tauck. One of the lesser known river trips is offered by Croisi Europe on Portugal’s Douro River. It is an easy way to get to several iconic places like Budapest and Vienna.

  5. Myanmar: Myanmar, formerly Burma, is the newest “gotta’ go” destination. One of the easiest ways to see the country is with a cruise on the Irrawaddy. Several cruise lines offer trips including Viking, Ama Waterways, and Avalon. Many are built in the traditional manner. Pandaw, part of the original Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, also offers trips on the Chindwin.

  6. China: The most popular cruise is locking through the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze. Sanctuary Retreats has luxurious accommodations but there are several other cruise lines including Uniworld, Tauck and Viking River Cruises. The “Century Legend” is one of the newest vessels with a grand atrium lobby and the only fleet with private balconies in all cabins.

  7. Amazon: The world’s second longest river has cruises from both Brazil and Peru in several class categories supplied by many of the well-known cruise lines such as Holland America, Cunard, and Lindblad-National Geographic. Aria Amazon Cruise offers luxury accommodations with floor to ceiling windows to view the Amazon. Lo Peix has an affordable cruise with basic accommodations.

  8. Galapagos: One of the most exotic destinations is the Galapagos Islands, noted for the diversity of plants and animals found nowhere else. The Galapagos Conservancy has an annual cruise aboard the “MV Integrity” with the focus on conservation. The new “Flamingo Yacht” is perfect for the budget-conscious.

  9. Egypt: The 5-star Sonesta has several luxury ships sailing between Luxor and Aswan. Adventurous, budget-minded travels can take a multi-day sail on a traditional felucca. Sleeping is usually on deck and with no toilet accommodations but frequent shore stops are made.

  10. And more: Small cruises are found on every continent and in all categories. Check out Red River in Vietnam, Australia’s Murray River, the Zambezi in Mozambique, and Russian cruises on the Volga.


Sandra Scott travels the globe recording the top attractions at every destination.

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