Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 World’s Five Best Small Cruise Ships

According to a poll conducted by Condé Nast Traveler, a premier travel magazine with vacation ideas, destination information and travel tips, the following are voted as the world’s 5 best small cruise ships in random order.

Here is the list of the world’s five best small cruise ships of 2012 according to the votes of Condé Nast Traveler magazine readers. Seabourn occupies three slots and two are by Lindblad and Paul Gauguin.

National Geographic Endeavour of Lindblad Expeditions

Lindblad Expeditions’ forerunner first went tours on the Galápagos in 1967. In 1996, the company acquired Endeavor to be a North Sea fishing trawler. Thus, both the lines and the ship are veterans at sailing the islands which Charles Darwin made popular. Endeavour has 96 passenger capacity with 10 and 16 day long itineraries from Guayaquil, Ecuador, Friday. The Endeavor is a small cruise ship where passengers should not expect luxury-liner amenities. However, all its cabins have small writing desks and water views. The meals are at single-seating at unassigned tables. Endeavor’s one unusual feature is a floating massage platform, for massage treatments which are completed by the sea’s gentle rocking motion.

Paul Gauguin of Paul Gauguin Cruises

The sole ship of Paul Gauguin Cruises line, Paul Gauguin is a 332-passenger capacity cruiser that sails where Gauguin painted. It was specifically built for the islands of French Polynesia where shallow depths keep bigger ships away from ports. Paul Gauguin itinerary include several more far archipelagoes, such as the less-known Tuamotus and other islands that may never heard even by veteran travelers, like the Ua Huka in the Marquesas which is mainly populated by goats and horses. Paul Gauguin has seven decks for guests which accommodate passengers in cabins from Porthole Staterooms to various suites. All cabins have 70 percent occupied by verandas and balconies. A retractable marina and dive programs onboard occupy days, and ending with dinners where drinks are served gratis.

Seabourn Odyssey of Yachts of Seabourn

At the top of the list is one of the cruises of Yachts of Seabourn – Seabourn Odyssey. This highest rated impressive fleet of Seabourn started operation in 2009 as the company’s first of larger ships trio (Soujourn and Quest followed in June 2010 and June 2011 respectively). Compared to the earlier ships of Seabourn having 104 suites, these trio have 225 suites each, 90 percent of the cabins of which have verandas and are from 295 to 1,989 square feet.

Like the other Seabourn cruise ships, chef Charlie Palmer heads the kitchens. However, a new indoor and outdoor restaurant is added where the meals are set in an open kitchen. The 11,400 square feet sized Spa at Seabourn is one of the largest ones found in luxury ships. Odyssey usually cruises the Mediterranean whole year round – Dalmatian Coast, Turkey and the Greek Isles and has itineraries to Fort Lauderdale-to-Los Angeles and South Pacific as well.

Seabourn Pride of Yachts of Seabourn

Like sister ships Legend and Spirit, Seabourn Pride maintains a staff-to-passenger ratio of almost one to one. Suites number to 104, with 40 percent of its 277 to 575 square feet size occupied by balconies and having all ocean views. Your fare includes all meals, drinks at the four bars and lounges. The Pride has a private marina that extends from the ship’s rear to let guests enjoy water sports even at sea. Pride gets around world cruises, Baltic, Middle Eastern, Asian and Mediterranean itineraries.

Seabourn Sojourn of Yachts of Seabourn

Second of the three most recent cruise ships of Seabourn, this 450-passenger capacity Sojourn is almost two and a half times the size of the company’s older ships. With Sojourn’s bigger space, you shall find a lot to see and do including the two-storey 11,400 square foot spa having outdoor cabanas and space. Cabins are 90 percent verandahs and there are suites with solariums. Most of all, it has Seabourn’s signature of fabulous service, water-sports marina and plenty of space per cruiser.

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