When it comes to discovering the best small cruise ships, there’s no better guide than USA River Cruises (USARC).

There’s also no better time to discover them than right now! That’s because USARC is your small cruise ship expert, and we’ve developed a wide range of small cruise itineraries to inspire your sense of wanderlust.

Get out there and explore aboard the best small cruise ships in the world!

What is a small cruise ship?

For the purposes of this discussion, let’s determine what we mean by “small cruise ships.” As you may know, there are cruise ships out there that are more like mini-cities than floating adventure vessels.

Some examples of cruise ships that are definitely not small: Royal Caribbean’s newest vessel, the Symphony of the Seas; it’s the largest passenger ship in the world and can carry up to 6,680 passengers in 2,759 staterooms.

By contrast, we’ll consider small ship cruising to include ships, yachts, and other vessels that carry less than 500 passengers.

As the cruise experts at Cruise Critic write, “Small ships distinguish themselves from mainstream cruise ships in more ways than just physical size — which allows them to sail into small harbors and shallow channels. Lower passenger counts make for easier embarkation and an absence of queues. No matter how small the ship, you can expect more inclusive fares, interesting and unusual ports of call, high-end amenities, excellent cuisine and wine, and polished, personal service.”

Best Small Cruise Ships

Here’s a list of just a few of the best small cruise ships.

  • American Jazz. This ship, new to the Mississippi River in 2020, is the latest in U.S.-built cruise ships. It can carry 190 guests and features a four-story atrium with an enormous skylight in the center of the boat. The Jazz sails the Lower Mississippi from New Orleans to Memphis.
  • American Constitution. A recent addition to the fleet (2018), the Constitution holds up to 175 passengers. Sporting the latest tech and gorgeous staterooms, the ship sales the U.S. East Coast, including trips to the Chesapeake Bay, the Hudson River, and greater New England.
  • Safari Voyager. The 62-passenger Voyager was recently refurbished and is ready for its latest small cruise ship destinations: Costa Rica and Panama! Don’t let the small size fool ya; the Voyager sails big and features world-class amenities, including four public decks and a window-lined lounge with stunning views. There’s even a library on board.
  • L’Art de Vivre. A truly extraordinary cruise — this time down the Canal du Nivernais in Northern Burgundy. The L’Art de Vivre sails deep into rural France, and passengers can charter the whole barge if they like. Included: private bath, chauffeured transfers from airport to the barge; all onboard meals; wine with lunch and dinner; and daily escorted excursions and the use of onboard bicycles.

USA River Cruises

Sound good? Ready to set sail? If so, then you’ll adore one of these — or any other — small cruise ships brought to you by USARC. There are things you can experience with a small ship cruise line that you can’t experience on larger vessels.

Please contact USA River Cruises with any questions. We look forward to speaking with you and planning your next small ship luxury cruise!