The Best Destinations for Families Looking for Small Ship Cruises

Small ship cruises are perfect for families, offering intimacy, personalized attention, and access to smaller ports inaccessible to larger vessels, creating enriching experiences for everyone. With fewer passengers, there's plenty of space for bonding with the kids, tailored excursions, and a sense of community. In addition, the intimate atmosphere fosters connections with fellow travellers and crew, enhancing the overall family experience.


Here are the best destinations for families looking for small-ship cruises.



1. Croatia

Croatia is an ideal destination for families embarking on a small ship cruise. Here, you and your kids can discover fascinating landscapes, soak up culture and history, and engage in family-friendly activities. Since you're aboard a small ship, you can explore hidden coves, charming villages, and historic cities in a comfortable setting.


One of the highlights of your small-ship cruise in Croatia is visiting the beautiful islands scattered along the Adriatic Sea. Hop from island to island, discovering hidden beaches, snorkelling in crystal-clear waters, and exploring quaint fishing villages such as Hvar, Korčula, and Vis. Your kids can delight in swimming in secluded bays and playing on sandy shores while the adults can relax and soak up the sun on deck.


In addition to island hopping, families can also explore Croatia's historic cities, including Dubrovnik, Zadar, and Split. Book a private guided walking tour to explore the ancient streets of Dubrovnik's Old Town, visit the Diocletian's Palace in Split, and listen to the mesmerizing sound of the Sea Organ in Zadar.



2. Argentina

Argentina's diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage make it an ideal destination for families on a small ship cruise. Cruising along Argentina's scenic waterways on a small boat allows you and your kids to explore breathtaking natural wonders, charming coastal towns, and vibrant cities in a more intimate setting.


One of the highlights of your incredible holiday in Argentina is visiting the famous Iguazú Falls, one of the world's largest waterfalls. Marvel at the sheer power and beauty of the falls, hike through lush rainforest trails and take a thrilling boat ride to get up close to the cascading water.


Another must-see destination is the rugged coastline of Patagonia, where you can spot wildlife such as penguins, seals, and whales while cruising through the icy waters of the Beagle Channel. Your kids will be in awe of the towering glaciers of Tierra del Fuego National Park and the dramatic landscapes of the southernmost tip of South America.


Aside from the natural wonders, you can also explore Argentina's vibrant cities, such as Buenos Aires and Ushuaia. Some cruises can arrange guided walking tours through Buenos Aires's colorful neighborhoods, tango performances, and visits to historic landmarks.



3. Antarctica

Antarctica may seem like an unlikely destination for families, but it's perfect for adventurous families looking to embark on a thrilling journey to the remotest continent. Cruising through the icy waters of Antarctica on a small cruise ship offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore one of the Earth's most pristine wilderness.


You'll likely visit the majestic wildlife colonies on your cruise of Antarctica. Here, your kids can observe penguins waddling along icy shores, seals basking on floating icebergs, and whales breaching in the frigid waters. Your kids will be delighted to see these iconic Antarctic animals up close in their natural habitat.



Another must-see destination is the breathtaking landscapes of the Antarctic Peninsula. As you cruise past towering glaciers, snow-capped mountains, and pristine icebergs, marvel at the continent's sheer beauty and grandeur. Excursions to shore provide opportunities for hiking, snowshoeing, and even camping on the ice, allowing you and your kids to immerse in the unique Antarctic environment.


Aside from discovering wildlife and stunning scenery, you can also learn about Antarctica's scientific research and rich history. You'll visit research stations and historic sites for insight into the continent's exploration and conservation efforts, fostering a deeper appreciation for this fragile ecosystem.



4. Scotland

Scotland offers a captivating experience for families embarking on a small ship cruise. As you cruise along Scotland's rugged coastline and serene lochs, marvel at breathtaking landscapes, stop at charming villages for sightseeing, and visit historic sites.


The stunning Inner Hebrides is a must-visit on your small ship cruise, home to picturesque islands such as Skye, Mull, and Islay. Discover ancient castles, dramatic cliffs, and wildlife-rich coastlines, including the chance to spot seals, dolphins, and even whales.


Another epic destination is the legendary Loch Ness, where you can cruise the dark waters in search of the elusive Loch Ness Monster. Your kids will be thrilled by the mystery and excitement of this iconic Scottish legend while enjoying the scenic beauty of the surrounding Highlands.


Experience Scottish culture and history by exploring historic cities such as Edinburgh and Glasgow, where you can visit iconic landmarks, museums, and art galleries. Learn about tales of Scottish kings and queens, knights, and Highland warriors as you explore medieval castles and royal palaces.



5. Greece

Greece is an enchanting destination for families embarking on a small ship cruise, combining rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture to create unforgettable experiences for you and your kids. As your ship cruises through the azure waters of the Aegean and Ionian Seas, explore hidden coves, charming islands, and historic landmarks.


Visit the beautiful Greek islands, each offering a unique charm. As you hop from island to island, you'll discover ancient ruins, picturesque villages, and pristine beaches. Destinations like Santorini, Mykonos, Lesvos and Corfu offer family-friendly activities such as swimming, snorkelling, and exploring historic sites like ancient temples and medieval castles.


Another must-visit destination is the historic city of Athens, where you can explore iconic landmarks such as the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the Ancient Agora. Book a guided tour and listen in awe of the stories of ancient gods and heroes as you explore the city's ancient ruins and museums.


Experience the traditional Greek culture with visits to charming fishing villages like Nafplio and Hydra, where you can sample local cuisine, watch traditional dance performances, and explore narrow cobblestone streets lined with whitewashed houses.



About the Author:

Jennifer Anders is a freelance writer who has traveled extensively and enjoys exploring off-the-beaten-path locations around the world.

She loves hiking national parks, windsurfing, and photographing wildlife.

Aside from all those crazy activities, you'll also find her eating plenty of local street food. She is absolutely fearless when it comes to trying new things.