Great crew, fantastic food and the MV Myra was a very good layout. Would highly recommend. Brian D
Responsible tourism & cruising
Small ship cruising - Good or bad for the world?
By the very nature of the small ships that we work with, they can access many areas that larger or less specialist ships cannot get to. This saddles us with an extra responsibility to protect many of these less visited areas, but also with opportunities to provide many smaller communities with some income, communities that often receive very few, if any benefits from other tourism. It also provides us with a fantastic opportunity to monitor what is happening in many of the fragile environments that we do visit.
Even better - Sail Power
Some of our ships are powered by sail for much of their cruising time. This is obviously a very 'green' way to travel. Read more about cruises on sailships.
Why wildlife watching is good for the world. (Taken from the UNEP report on 'Wildlife watching and tourism 2006').
'It is a sign of the important place wildlife holds for people, that so many want to watch animals in their natural habitats, and that the popularity of wildlife watching tourism continues to grow.
As well as providing enjoyment for millions of people, wildlife watching tourism is a significant source of income and employment for a growing number of communities, particularly in developing countries, and underlines the value of conservation. It also can help raise awareness of a whole range of pressing environmental issues that face us, for the survival of wildlife in its habitats is at risk from climate change, pollution and land conversion, just as we are.
Tourism is one of the areas where the links between people, the global economy, and the environment are clearly visible. The international tourist sees first hand the environmental, social and economic conditions of other countries and cultures. At its best, tourism can be a powerful way to promote understanding between people and cultures. At its worst, tourism can result in the exploitation of people, social disharmony, and environmental degradation.'
Read more about our wildlife cruises.
The economic benefits of wildlife tourism
The Small Cruise Ship Collection Responsible Travel Policy
All travel and holidays can have a detrimental effect on the environment and communities you visit, directly and indirectly, yet they can also be highly beneficial. Our aim is to use tourism as a force for good by maximising the positive and minimising the negative impacts of the cruises we are associated with.
We only work with ships that carry a maximum of 8-264 passengers. This has several advantages; visiting a much wider range of ports, harbours and coastlines than larger ships brings economic benefits to small communities all over the world. Smaller ships are more likely to respond to local wildlife and environmental concerns and are also much more likely to encounter wildlife, a great benefit for our travellers. A number of our cruises also offer onboard lectures detailing responsible tourism practices for the destinations visited.
We aim to:
- Provide an economic benefit to the communities we visit by employing local people, buying goods from local communities and paying entrance fees to National Parks and museums.
- Monitor the environments of the areas we visit, and report to relevant authorities any illegal or detrimental activities we witness.
- Make sure our staff and clients are aware of any issues in the areas we visit and provide advice on how to behave appropriately
- Educate our clients on the history, culture and wildlife of the areas we visit. Many of our cruises include lectures and talks from experts on the regions, and are designed to improve understanding and awareness on environmental and social issues and opportunities in these regions
- Make sure that the ships we work with exceed the minimum regulatory requirements in the areas that they operate.
Our office policies
Although we have a very small office we aim to minimise the resources we use.
- Heating and lights are used very sparingly We maintain a nearly paper free office.
- We email our newsletters to our clients and also confirmation documents that our clients can read on their mobile devices rather than printing.
- We walk, cycle or lift share when travelling into work whenever possible.
- We recycle all recyclable materials
- All of our office furniture is bought second hand from a local charitable foundation.
We share facilities with other neighbouring offices - EG 1 fridge between several companies, thus reducing resources required.
- We do not hand out hundreds of brochures at travel shows, and we have an online version of our brochure available on our website, thus reducing excessive brochure printing.
- We offer several large sailing ships and we have created a section on the website and in the brochure specifically promoting our environmentally friendly cruises.
- We have a section in our brochure and on our website dedicated to ‘no-fly’ cruises. Economic
- Our small ships sail to many areas that larger ships cannot reach, and to some communities that are only accessible by small ship, thus spreading the economic benefits into communities that otherwise see little, or no, other tourism.
- We often use guides and experts from local communities, and in some cases, such as Fiji, our entire ships crew is recruited from the local community.
- In some areas we visit, the ships we use are the only form of transport that the communities have to link them to the outside world, and our paying passengers help subsidise these services for the local communities
- Most of the ships we work with allow passengers to donate money to help local projects through donations or the purchase of locally produced goods. In some areas these donations are instrumental in setting up and supporting vital campaigns, such as the ‘saving the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper’ on our Russian Far East Cruises.
- All of our passengers are provided with detailed pre-departure information for each cruise - This does a lot more than providing details of when and where they need to go - It provides information on social and environmental conditions in the area they will visit, and guidelines on what to take (or not) and how to behave (or not).
- We ask our passengers to report back to us on their cruise, providing details of the briefings they were given on board, how successful and responsible their shore visits were and how well conducted any wildlife watching experiences were conducted. We follow up on any negative comments.
The Small Cruise Ship Company code of conduct
Many of our cruises visit sensitive and rarely visited regions of the world, and we ask that all our clients remember a few simple points that will help to maintain and improve these places.
We ask that you:
- Learn to speak a few simple phrases of any languages of your host communities – it will enhance your visit no end!
- Learn a little about the culture of the communities you will visit
- Remember that resources may be very limited in some communities, so please be aware of using scarce local resources
- Remember that flying and cruising are carbon intensive ways to travel - If you would like to offset your carbon usage, there are many companies that will offer to plant a few trees on your behalf. Some of these companies are good, but some are just money making enterprises and only a small percentage of your money actually goes to planting trees - We recommend The Woodland Trust in the UK. Another way to balance your carbon is to help reduce deforestation by donating to charities such as Rainforest Concern.
- Abide by any instructions from your cruise manager or ship’s crew
- Do not walk on any sensitive plants, corals or other features never throw anything overboard or onto the ground or ice anywhere in the world
- Respect all wildlife and maintain at least 5 metres from all wildlife, and 15 metres from particularly sensitive or large animals – Your guide will give you advice
- Do not feed any wildlife
- Refrain from smoking in any sensitive region
- Do not take or buy any form of wildlife souvenir, including shells, coral, skins, bones or anything that was once alive or attached to a living thing
- Don’t give sweets or presents to communities we visit (unless agreed with and discussed with us beforehand) - It is much better to spend a little money in the community you are visiting
- Do not be obtrusive with your camera – few people anywhere like having a camera stuck in their face
- Do not participate in sex-tourism
- Do not buy or use illegal or illicit drugs
Enjoyed the cruise. Food was good considering the size of the kitchen. Seating was a bit cramped.
We were "below stairs" and again the room was basic but spacious.
Having said all this the cruise was not expensive.
We thought the port fees should have been included in the price and tipping caused a lot of discussion. . Most people found it excessive especially those countries that don't tip. Liz B
This was our second trip that we booked with The Small Cruise Ship Company. We love both the Croatia Cruise and the Turkey/Greece Cruise. I would highly recommend this company! Diane B
Just a quick email to say a very big thank you from Bruce & myself for the wonderful week we had on board MS Nikola. I knew it would be special, but had no idea just how special! The gulet is superb, the crew were out of this world, the weather was perfect, & the company just brilliant… there is no way we could have improved on any aspect of our trip whatsoever. I didn’t know that Bruce had mentioned it was our honeymoon; the crew went above & beyond in terms of making it memorable for us, as did the other 3 couples on the gulet! Although the week at sea fell into the middle of our honeymoon (as we were in Kos & Bodrum either side of the cruise, & both of those were special too), it was by far the highlight of it… neither of us wanted our time on board to end. Having read some of the comments in the gulet’s guest book, we could see just how special it is; and the current crew (capt Ramazan, chef Tekin & 1st mate Hassan) are deservedly well-loved by all.
I’d also like to say a really big thank you too to Small Cruise Ships for letting us join the Nikola, because of course we shouldn’t have been on it at all, having booked to join the Myra. She was alongside us in port so we had chance to see her also; another beautiful gulet indeed. But we both quickly realised that we’d been incredibly lucky to be swapped onto the Nikola… it’s a truly fantastic itinerary & there really wasn’t a minute we didn’t enjoy. (…possibly with the exception of me dropping my mobile phone – or rather the special photos on it – onto the Eastern Aegean seabed! Ramazan was amazing, and gave us some lovely photos of us he’d taken, which of course more than made up for the loss )
I also hope this is useful from a feedback point of view; do let me know if you’d like me to write something more articulately! We decided there & then in Bodrum we’d start saving on our return, because without any doubt whatsoever we wish to sail with the Nikola & crew again next year, wherever she’s going…
A truly wonderful experience
We took a 7 night round trip cruise from Split on the Avangarde. It was an absolute delight. We were thoroughly looked after from the moment we arrived in the boat to the final transfer to our hotel at the end. The crew and tour manager were extremely good at what they do and showed great humor. The food was outstanding and cabins much for luxurious than I could have imagined for a small boat. There was a great balance between free time and organised excursions. I cannot recommend this cruise highly enough. Katherine A
I can't thank Small Cruise Ship Collection enough for their assistance in arranging my first Hurtigruten voyage along the coast of Norway in October, 2019. Although the ship's mechanical issues saw me returning home just a few days into the voyage, Small Cruise Ship Collection helped me quickly rebook the trip, using Hurtigruten's full refund and discount offer for my future booking. I just returned from a most amazing experience in Norway, and I thank Caroline of Small Cruise Ship Collection, in particular, for such superb assistance.
The small size of the sailing ship and the wonderful character of the crew made this a wonderful week packed with once in a lifetime views, excursions and food. I enjoyed it very much. I hope to do it again. Linda M
We had a lovely week on the Esperanza . The guests all got in great and Ivana was a wonderful hostess.
Positives : Guests and the amazing Dalmnation coast
Negatives: Agritourism visit was nothing special and wine was borderline awful. Most guests felt this was something of a wasted evening in the middle of nowhere.
Food on the boat in particular fruit at breakfast and salads at lunch and dinner could have been more plentiful .
But all in all ... Great !
Thank you Conor I
I thoroughly enjoyed my recent Croatian cruise on board Moonlight. Everything was of a very high standard - the ship, the cabin, the crew, the destinations, the on board guide and the local guides, the meals... I can't fault anything. It was an outstanding trip and we were fortunate in having such congenial fellow passengers. Bernadine R
An excellent island hopping cruise experience
An excellent way to experience the interesting islands of Croatia. Travelling with 38 like-minded people made the cruise a wonderful experience. The crew were very professional and extremely hardworking. The breakfast and lunch offerings were more than ample. Having the opportunity to eat dinner on the islands at the restaurants provided us with time to mingle with the locals, walk around the amazing towns and provide incomes locally. Jen A
It was a fantastic holiday I was travelling alone, but it didn't feel like that once I arrived the crew were great our meals were delicious there wasn't anything you could fault. Travelling on board a ship this size you meet and make friends easier and have a great time together.also you get to see of this beautiful country while having a great time. Tina L
The Ave Maria was a pretty boat. Three separate outdoor conversation areas were nice to relax in. The cabins were nice and roomy. The cruise director Stan was very friendly and informative throughout the day and on the excursions on shore.
The server and bartender were nice, but not the most friendly. I am sure they get tired of new people each week. Food was good. Just one comment - more fresh vegetables with meals would be great.
Overall, the week was very enjoyable. Linda M
We cruised on the MS Diamond in September from Dubrovnik to Split and it was 7 days of swimming, laughter and relaxing unlike any other cruise we have taken. The cruise director Paul, Bruno and Ivan the two bartenders and waiters were wonderful, always smiling and couldn’t do enough for you. The rest of the small crew were also wonderful. Our cruise had a total of 38 passengers and everyone was friendly and we all enjoyed each other’s company. The Diamond was very comfortable with areas to just relax and the swimming everyday in small coves in the clearest water we have ever experienced and that’s says a lot as we live in Hawaii. I have thought of our cruise everyday since our return and would love to do it again Roger F
We stayed on in Split for three nights which partly explains this belated reply. We would do it again which really says it all. In fact we are interested, not now but maybe in twelve months time, in a similar cruise if it was between Venice and Split. The northern half of the Croatian coast. We think we were lucky to have one of the best cabins (4) and we wouldn’t want any less comfort than that.
We liked the Diamond very much.The small but hard working crew were terrific. Our timing was good as the vast crowds around Dubrovnik and Split in July and August had eased and the weather was hot but not too hot. Most of our fellow guests were Canadian who are friendly and good mannered. We didn’t think the food was very good apart from breakfast. We longed for a salad bowl. Despite the advertisement that there was a fresh water fountain on the boat they were rather mean in handing out half litre because titles which we thought was penny pinching.
The concept of the 499 ton boat really appeals to us. We wouldn’t take a cruise on the ordinary leviathan. We loved Croatia and think we saw the best of it. We had a splendid holiday.
Thank you for your feedback Robin. The Water cooler should have been in operation, and water is free on these cruises in Croatia from 2020 onwards. Powell Ettinger, The Small Cruise Ship Collection
My wife and I enjoyed the Croatian Cruise on board the Meridijan 100%. The crew could not have been better and the food was perfect. We will go on other trips in other places. Thank you. Larry snd Sun S
Fabulous cruise, thoroughly enjoyable experience. Captain and crew were lovely.
Small Cruise Ship Collection were most helpful throughout
Would have liked much more sailing instead of motoring.
Would have preferred an extra day/night in Greece instead of early return to Turkey.
Cabins were hot at night (in October!)
We booked a 2 week cruise in Alaska through the Small Cruise Ship Collection. The Small Cruise Ship Collection we’re efficient and helpful, answering any queries promptly. The cruise itself was fantastic, everything we hoped for and more. Alison M
We had a wonderful time and loved the ship and all the stops. Look forward to another cruise in the area......thanks so much for your help!
Our only question was in previous documentation, it was stated beer and wine were included during lunch. However, none of our drinks were included.
Look forward to why the discrepancy.....but simply loved everything else; ship, staff, captain, and director! Donna Z
Our cruise with your company was wonderful....the boat was spotless at all times. Some one has taking their time to ensure the boat is well maintained. The staff was incredible, thoughtful, courteous, helpful, but above all the service was beyond expectations.
One problem, I can never cruise in a large ship again!!!! I would only be disappointed by the quality of food and experience.
great experience..thank you very much.
Paula and Tom
We had an excellent time on the cruise but felt that the courier tried to fill the days with too much and her manner and English left a lot to be admired. The ship and crew were wonderful but we did not have enough time to enjoy it all. The inter-Island transport could have been better. RR
Hello, I have returned from a small cruise ship holiday in Croatia. Not the one my friend I planned but due to cancellation we were put on another boat going to the southern islands, but still had our three days extra seeing lakes etc.
Everything went to plan hotels, boat, transport connections etc were all there for us . We also had an added extra on a transfer by taxi from Split to Zagreb on our last we shared a taxi with 'Katarina' and her family. What an unexpected pleasure.
We want to thank you all for a wonderful holiday even though at the beginning it seemed doomed.
We shall be back
Regards Margaret B
A week in paradise on a luxury small ship. We were upgraded to a fabulous ship called Black Swan on a similar circuit from Split to Split in Croatia. The boat was amazing with everything you could wish for on board. The crew of 8 were very professional but at the same time friendly and chatty. The captain and his wife owned the boat and were also friendly with us all. The captains dinner was excellent with 2 live musicians.
We saw beautiful totally unspoilt islands,small fishing villages, ancient palaces and visited towns full of interesting history, all with a guide and "whisper" ear phones so we could all hear perfectly. We had plenty of free time in ports where we could go sightseeing, shopping or find a nice restaurant or bar. Our guide even arranged for us to do an exclusive 4 x 4 safari buggy tour in Dubrovnik that was not on this boats schedule but on our original one.
The food was really excellent, the boat kept immaculately clean at all times.
I particularly enjoyed the opportunity for swim stops or a tender ride to a deserted beach, even though it was October and late season. Something you do not get to do on a huge impersonal cruise ship!
At night in port the boats always raft up next to one another and its fun to go from boat to boat checking out what they all look like. We were not disturbed by this at all and the gaps between the various boats were not a problem to us, but could be to a disabled person.
I would recommend this type of holiday to anyone.... its so relaxing compared to a huge cruise ship and with only 36 people on board the guide makes sure from the very first evening that we all get to talk to one another and great friendships were formed. Our travelling companions nationalities were Americans, New Zealanders and Australians and we were the only 2 from Europe which we loved.
We thoroughly enjoyed the trip, all the ports and the food. The cabins were very average. Rene U
The cruise on Pape Prvi from Split
The cruise on Pape Prvi from Split - Dubrovnik and back was wonderful experience: family owed boat with great food, friendly hosts, clean; well informed and nice guide from Katarina tours; great choices of places to dock (and see), good balance between history, culture and nature. The sunny and warm weather was a surprise plus, also the group consisted of very pleasant people (not a single "professional" complainer). Dream vacation! Daniela P
The cruise from Dubrovnik to Split on Vapor was excellent in every way; the cabin was comfortable and clean. The crew were very helpful, courteous and efficient. The islands we visited were interesting and well-chosen and our tour director was really excellent; he had a delightful combination of knowledge and humor. I would happily do it all again. Susan
We really enjoyed the cruise, thanks!
We selected this trip as we wanted a “small boat cruise” around Alaska’s Inside Passage. Not all 20 cabins were occupied and there were only 33 passengers in total – just us from UK, 7 Australians and 4 Kiwis with the rest from US (so all English-speaking). Perhaps the style of trip meant that all seemed of a similar outlook and the group got on well together.
Alaskan Dream seem to be an environmentally-aware company with a good local reputation and are very welcome in the communities they visit. The small size of the boat means that they can access areas and ports unavailable to larger ships. The crew are generally long-serving with the company, competent and approachable. This particular voyage had an on-board naturalist/guide from the start, with a second joining part way through. There is at least one “off boat” opportunity every day.
Cabins are compact but comfortable with ample storage space. We were in the lowest grade; the next one up seemed to have no more amenities, just slightly bigger (although they are on the same level as public spaces). The “shoilet” takes some practice but is actually extremely practical and functional (better than facilities in other boats of a similar size that we have experienced). Rain gear (jackets, trousers and boots) are available for use. Meals were, without exception, excellent; hot drinks and water were always available.
The itinerary is flexible so we were able to take advantage of an unexpected permit to stay in Glacier Bay for an extra day. It also meant that potential wildlife sightings could be pursued and this was done on several occasions. There is also various interactions with each local community that we visited.
We would unreservedly recommend this trip but be warned that it is not a “cruise” – evening entertainment is limited to some short wildlife talks. But if your priorities are exciting wildlife and stunning scenery with an insight into local culture, you should seriously consider this.
Stellar experience start to finish!! Thank you!
Yes, we did enjoy our Croatian cruise. The boat manager did a wonderful job, despite her youth! She often had to re-arrange our programme because of the Captain having received instructions about where we could moor and the impact of the weather. We had one very wet and rough day (when my friend was sea-sick!) but most of the weather was fine, with a gentle breeze to avoid getting too hot. Dubrovnik was a great disappointment for me, being over-run with tourists, even so late in the season. I would think it would be better to have a guided walk in the afternoon, rather than the morning, when there were so many others that it was difficult to keep with your own group. Unfortunately, the walls were beyond our ability, but we had a taxi up to the mountains where the cable-car started, stopping at various viewing points, and then back via the new bridge to our boat. I could recommend that. We had spare time on the last day, owing to our late flight, and the cruise manager suggested we took the boat to Lokrum, a nearby island, and this gave us great views of the walls, etc. The island is kept for wild-life, and we had to share our sandwiches with the peacocks! Going out we did not see anything of Split, as the programme had been changed, and the guided walk in Split happened before we arrived at 7 p.m. instead of the next morning.
The end of the cruise was not good for us, but in no way the fault of the cruise firm. My friend lost her handbag when we got to the airport and she thought she had left it in the taxi, but it could not be found so the official at the airport found us accommodation for the night, and next morning the handbag was found on the boat, and returned to us, and then we had to pay for another flight back to the U.K. It was all a nightmare for us, but we must say the Croatians were very helpful and took great care of us.
Going back to the boat cruise, we would have much preferred evening meals instead of the dinner at lunch time. We only had two, one the day we arrived, and then the captain's dinner. In the evening we did not want another dinner, and were rather at a loss to find something to do, as it was getting dark by 7.30 p.m. There is no menu for meals, but when I saw the size of the galley, I was not surprised, and the chef did well to prepare nearly 40 meals for us, plus more for the crew. All the crew were pleasant and helpful, especially getting us on and off the boat safely. We thought the wine and drinks were VERY expensive, so did not drink much on the boat, and the allowance of 1/2 a litre of water per day was not very generous if it is very hot. Then tax was added to the bill as well. We thought they were expecting very large tips, and we had to reduce them to a more reasonable level. We were also stung very high charges when using the ATM in Gruz port and at the airport, which I have never experienced before in other countries. However, we still enjoyed the experience. And Vicky was very helpful when we made the booking.
The cruise from Dubrovnik to Split on the boat Vapor was excellent in every way; the cabin was comfortable and clean. The crew were very helpful, courteous and efficient. The islands we visited were interesting and well-chosen and our tour director was really excellent; he had a delightful combination of knowledge and humor. I would happily do it all again. Sue Z
Hi Susi, we travelled on Vapor on 31 Aug until the 6 Sept from Split to Dubronik. The crew were very helpful and friendly. The food was good and Stan our cruise manager was fantastic. His knowledge of the area was exceptional. We really enjoyed our cruise. The islands are amazing. I would recommend this cruise to our friends. Thanks.