Getting up close and personal with the best bucket list destinations around the world is something the typical cruise ship cannot do. Even if they get close, when thousands of passengers swarm a destination, the scene is probably not what they may have dreamed of. But a growing movement in the world of cruise vacations has travelers sailing destination-focused itineraries on smaller ships, purpose designed for the job.
In a sign of the times, this week Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announced the launch of a CLIA Specialty Cruise Collection initiative to support and promote small ship, river, coastal, luxury, adventure and sailing ship member lines.
Specialty cruising is broken down into several unique ways of sailing:
- Adventure cruising gets travelers off the ship and into a kayak to sail within feet of Alaska wildlife. Pet a whale? You bet.
- River cruises ply the inland waterways of the world, just as they may have hundreds of years ago. History freaks dig this.
- Coastal cruises go up and down the U.S. East and West coasts, stopping at places of historical significance – another win for history freaks.
- Luxury cruises pamper the top tier of cruise travelers. Even the snobbiest of snobs feel at home. Better yet, new money is gaga over the choices, seen as the new cool.
- Sailing ships are ships with actual sails that still operate and are showing increasing popularity. There’s something for everyone here, as history-rich sailings run routes like Chris Columbus did. With wind as the power that moves the ship, Adventure lovers are all over it. A good fit for the lux bunch, as they ain’t cheap.
If you hear the word “cruise” and think “gigantic ship full of large party people,” think again. If the idea of a week or more restricted to a cruise ship with thousands of odd strangers is a turn off, pay attention. Specialty cruises offer a unique opportunity for travelers to share the experience of interacting intimately with the world, its landscapes, cultures and people.
[Flickr photo by _setev]