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American Cruise Lines specializes in a unique style of small ship cruising along the inland waterways and rivers of the United States

Small Ships vs Big Ships - A Different Kind of Cruise

Why Small Ship Cruises?   We   love small ships because they go into the smaller ports where the big ships cane love them because you get to experience the culture and the people of the destination not just the tourist areas. The small ship cruise offers an intimate cruising experience. You can see the land and wildlife up close and personal.  You get to know officers and crew and guest lecturers and form a bond with fellow passengers.

Small ships range from 5 to 500 passengers. If you have been on the big ships, especially the mega-liners that carry thousands of passengers, you know it is difficult for big ships to give highly personal service. And with the big ships there are lines for dinner and shore excursions and even to disembark at the end of the cruise.

On a small ship you get to see out-of-the-way places. A typical day will consist of exploring your destination in small groups with experienced guides, whether it is exploring old Medieval towns, motoring up the Amazon to see wildlife, or going to a remote uncrowded beach to just lay back and relax.

It really comes down to a matter of taste, and what you are looking for. Most first-time small ship cruisers fall in love with the experience, refuse to return to the mega-liners, and return again and again to the small ships.

Big ships tend to be very reasonably priced, but they make that up with a la carte add-ons and alcohol sales. Small ship cruise fares are more expensive, but when all the factors are taken into consideration, it is really only a little more expensive because in many cases shore excursion are included in your fare, sometimes even gratuities. Soft drinks, juice, coffee, tea and snacks are always available, and wine and beer is usually included at lunch and dinner.

Many people think that they can get the small ship experience for the fare they see advertised for a low-end economy big ship. You usually cannot. Fares for small ship cruises can range widely, varying according to luxury of the ship, size and location of the cabin, and length of the cruise. A typical 7-night cruise on a small ship might start at about $1,500 per person per week double occupancy and go up from there depending on the ship and the cabin. You can often save money by cruising off-season, paying in full when booking, or getting friends to join you so you can get a group discount. will help you filter through all the choices. We have first-hand knowledge of the cruise lines and have cruised with most of them. Browse through our website to find the destination and ship that you like best, then call us at 1-773-425-1130 or toll-free at 1-888-492-0225 and we will help arrange a memorable cruise.
                                                                                                               -- Your crew at SmallShipCruises


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