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GLACIERS, ICEBERGS, BEACHES & JUNGLES: Small ships in big places

Some of the world’s most enormous wildernesses are best enjoyed from the comfort of a smaller vessel. Sail from north to south and discover all that floats in between…

Some of the world’s most enormous wildernesses are best enjoyed from the comfort of a smaller vessel. Sail from north to south and discover all that floats in between…

For those who aren’t yet enamoured with this travel mode, allow us to introduce the ‘small ship cruise’ – a concept which may well cause a sea-change.

Small ship cruising is not just cruising but on a smaller vessel. No, no. Small ship cruising is immersing yourself in the destination and its wildlife rather than the onboard entertainment.



It is unpacking once and waking up to a new and unexpected view every day. It is connecting with your fellow sailors in a relaxed environment. And above all, it is doing all this in a sustainable way.

These little vessels are very adept at getting themselves into the secret pockets of some of the planet’s most incredible places yet leave not even a whisper that they were there.



Generally, small ships accommodate less than 200 passengers. This is typical of Arctic, Patagonia and Antarctica cruises on such expedition ships and actually results in a much better experience.

Under strict International Association for Antarctica Tour Operator (IAATO) regulations, no more than 100 passengers are permitted ashore in Antarctica at any one time.

Limiting ship capacity means that 100 people can experience the pure joy of walking amid penguins (try being sad around these guys – it’s impossible), while the other 100 can witness the enormity of the landscape from a Zodiac cruise. And then you swap. Less people equals more time doing actually doing the good stuff rather than just waiting to do it.



In the Galapagos Islands, sail on a catamaran like the Seaman Journey and you will be one of just 16 other guests sipping on a cocktail in the lounge or soaking up some equatorial rays out on deck; when you aren’t snorkelling, kayaking or hiking your way through azure ocean or cactus-strewn volcanic landscapes that is.

Itineraries can be anything between three and 14 nights so don’t worry if you haven’t got your sea legs just yet – this is the kind of cruise that you can try to see how you like it.

Switch the scene to the Peruvian Amazon. You are just waking up and so is the jungle. It is a symphony of chattering and hollering as the Amazonian creatures come to life and you can watch this all unfold discreetly from one of 22 super swish suites aboard the luxurious Delfin III.

Cruises are between four and five days so again good for the first-time sailor and, as you are cruising gently along tributaries, chances of seasickness are minimal.



With limited capacity, small ships book up early – especially for the Antarctic and Arctic which have short seasons. Chimu Adventures have Australia’s largest selection of polar ships and work with many Latin America vessels too.

Their Destination Specialists know the waters of these destinations so can steer you through the various options, from budget to luxury. Contact them below to find out more.


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