Forget shuffleboard and cabaret—adventure cruising is all about the destination.
Cruising is an adventure in itself, but the beauty of travelling on a small ship with less than 50 passengers means the real fun begins when we pull into port or drop anchor at an island. It means you'll get to know the locals, rather than outnumber them. You'll still be looked after by your crew and get to relax on the deck with a cold beer, but you'll also get to stand in awe of waterfalls in Krka National Park, snorkel with green turtles in the Galapagos, or explore crumbling archaeological sites in Greece. It's about exploring where the big ships can't go so you can swim in hidden coves, have lunch on uninhabited islands, and listen to live music in cobblestone laneways. This is cruising—Intrepid style.
Browse small ship cruises by region
Our small ship Adventure Cruising tours
Enjoy a nine-day small ship Adventure Cruise of Greece and Turkey to Santorini and...
Take a small-ship cruising adventure in Croatia from Split to Dubrovnik. Voyage along...
Join Intrepid for a small ship cruising adventure to Croatia. Voyage along the...
Travel to the Galapagos Islands and sail around the central eastern islands, witnessing...
Sail the aquamarine waters of the Galapagos’s central southern islands taking in...
Spend 10 unforgettable days on board the Grand Daphne, discovering the central islands...
Take an active 10-day adventure cruise though the Galapagos Islands, from Isla Santa...
Travel to the Galapagos Islands from Quito and embark on a sailing adventure around...
Explore the best of the otherworldly Galapagos Islands on this 10-day tour that takes...
Embark on an immersive Adventure Cruise through the Galapagos Islands and experience...
Discover the treasures of the northern Galapagos Islands on this cruise, including Isla...
Take to the water and explore the beautiful Galapagos Islands. See huge populations of...
Take to cerulean waters to explore the beautiful Galapagos Islands. See huge...
Explore the Islands of the Galapagos on this startling adventure that highlights the...
Explore the central islands of the Galapagos on this startling adventure that...
This 17-day Galapagos Adventure Cruise is the perfect way to explore the islands of...
Travel to Ecuador and join a 13-day Intrepid journey in the Galapagos’. Visit Isla...
Hop aboard the M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz for a wildlife-filled 8-day adventure around the...
See the best of the Galapagos Islands on this action-packed adventure cruise, touring...
This 11-day adventure starting and finishing in Tahiti, visits the Society Islands and...
Visit French Polynesia on this 8-day small ship Adventure Cruise, starting and...
Join Intrepid for a nine-day cruising adventure around the Seychelles, visiting remote...
Why choose Intrepid
Small ships, small groups
With fewer than 50 passengers on every ship, our groups are the perfect size for really getting to know your fellow travellers. Smaller groups mean more personalised service, like one-on-one chats with your leader about history, culture and food, or your favourite beer handed to you by the bar manager at the end of the day.
We’re right there with you to ensure your adventure is memorable for all the right reasons. Our expert local leaders facilitate incredible land experiences, while the ship’s friendly crew make sure you have everything you need – from a room that’s sparkling clean to a glass of sparkling wine – to enjoy your time on board.
Dining with a local twist
Whether it’s a barbecue on a deserted beach, the catch-of-the day cooked up by your onboard chef or the gourmet breakfast that’s served each morning, our culinary experiences are designed to complement your journey and help you create memories you’ll savour forever – both on and off the boat.
Cruise the seas less travelled
Our small ships give you access to those out-of-the-way spots the big ships can’t reach. We’ll show you the guidebook favourites from a new perspective, then cruise away from the crowds so you can stroll through seaside villages, swim in hidden coves, and get a real taste of what life is like for the locals.
A floating boutique hotel
Our ships combine all the comforts and personality of a boutique hotel with the freedom of the open water. Relax in your well-appointed cabin and wake to a different outlook each morning. Enjoy panoramic views from the sun deck, spend time in comfortable lounges and dining rooms, or dine al fresco under the stars.
Greener, more sustainable cruising
It’s no secret, traditional cruises (and the travelling hordes aboard) have an impact on our environment and the communities they visit. We use smaller vessels carrying up to 50 guests, and each departure is carbon offset by a range of renewable energy initiatives. We have a no single-use plastic rule and source 90% of meals from local producers.
Highlights of small ship Adventure Cruising
Dig into Croatia’s coast
There’s a reason Croatia’s been crowned the darling of Europe. Cruise through the pristine waters of the Adriatic and taste the best of the country’s bountiful coastline. Visit rolling vineyards for wine tastings, dine on barbecue dinners on the deck of your ship, sample locally produced honey on a Croatian farm and stroll through fragrant fields of lavender. Detour into Bosnia and Herzegovina where you’ll pop into a local coffee shop to see how Bosnian coffee is made and try some yourself.
Go island hopping in Greece
With sun-drenched islands scattered across the Aegean Sea, it’s almost as though Zeus created Greece with cruising in mind. Spend your days island hopping between Mykonos, Santorini and Ios, stopping off to jump into the glittering water straight off the boat, exploring ancient temples, eating traditional Greek cuisine in hillside villages, and sipping ouzo with the locals. If you're hungry for more adventure when you reach the mainland, continue your journey in Athens to explore iconic sites and hidden gems only known to locals.
Be charmed by Dubrovnik
The ancient walls and terracotta roofs of Dubrovnik are bound to steal your heart. Walking around the World Heritage-listed Old Town – past medieval forts, bastions and towers – it's not hard to see why this is one of the main filming locations for Game of Thrones. Laze the days away at cliff-side bars (spritz in hand) before setting off on the M/S Aurora. Discover waterfalls in Krka National Park, learn how Bosnian coffee is made in Mostar, explore sweet-smelling lavender fields on Hvar, or enjoy live music in Spilt's narrow laneways.
Go wild in the Galapagos
When we say go wild, we really mean it. Located just off Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are a natural playground for wildlife lovers with over 9,000 species to discover. Where else can you chill on the beach with a seal and kayak alongside a group of inquisitive penguins? Or snorkel in shallow coves teeming with green turtles, golden cow-nose rays and Galapagos sharks? Whether you cruise around the central, southern or western islands, you'll be well placed to have unforgettable wildlife encounters on and off the water.
Meet the fleet
Whether it’s cruising along in a motor sailer or a state-of-the-art mega-yacht, our cruising vessels are built for style, comfort and adventure. Each ship features 4-star accommodation with well-appointed interiors including spacious cabins and sundecks.
Looking to charter your very own private coastal cruise, or perhaps an island-hopping adventure in Greece with just you and your friends? We can make it happen. Just get in touch and tell us what you’d like to do.
Enquire with our Tailor-Made travel team
Adventure Cruising FAQs
We have two classes of ships – Motor Yacht and Motor Sailer – with both carrying between 30 and 50 passengers. Both ships’ primary propulsion method is motorised, but the Motor Sailer offers the romance of travelling with the wind when the sails are raised. The decor varies between ships with some contemporary and some more traditional in their styling.
All cabins are air-conditioned and our ship generators provide an electric current of 220v. Cabins are equipped with European type plugs so please remember to bring an adaptor if necessary.
Please be aware that cabins are compact in size, with wardrobe and storage space also compact. All cabins on all ships have private bathrooms with hairdryers and come with some toiletries such as shampoo and shower gel. A safe and minibar (containing water) are in every cabin. Pricing depends on the cabin type - similar to a hotel, some cabins offer superior views, larger windows/portholes and larger or additional living space. You can view cabin types on our ships page.
You are free to choose what you would like to do when the ship calls into port. On Intrepid voyages, the listed on-shore excursions are included in the overall cost. On our adventures run by Variety Cruises, these onshore activities are at an additional cost; on these trips the cruise co-ordinator will give recommendations for activities you can do independently.
As much as possible, most relocation sailing will take place at night, allowing for more time to be spent at port and exploring. The majority of itineraries have at least one port stop or swim stop every day. In places of particular interest the ship will moor all day, allowing additional time for shore excursions and off-ship activities. It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the trip itinerary in order to be aware of what time is scheduled at port and what excursions are on offer. However, please be aware that weather conditions may prompt a change to published itineraries.
The amount of time you spend ashore at each stop will vary depending on the stop and each individual itinerary. It is not always possible to give accurate arrival and departure times from each port. Travelling on a small ship means we are more affected by changes to the winds and tides. If conditions are in our favour we may make excellent time and arrive in port earlier than expected. But if conditions are against us, it may take longer to reach our next stop. One of the charms of small ship cruising is letting nature be part of your journey.
It’s important to be aware that none of the ships have lifts and moving between decks will involve climbing fairly steep stairways. To disembark the ship in port, you will need to walk down a narrow gangway lowered to the dock. All ships are small enough that they can usually dock at all ports, and tenders (small dinghies) are rarely used.
How often the ship sails in open waters depends on the itinerary. The itineraries that sail along the coast should experience sheltered conditions on most days, but those that sail between islands will cross open waters and may sail through heavier seas. Unless you are certain that you’re impervious to seasickness, it is necessary to come prepared with precautionary medication or other methods of combatting seasickness. Please be aware that there are no doctors aboard the ships.
Most of our European cruise itineraries are operated by Intrepid. For other itineraries, we’re working with our partner company Variety Cruises to provide you with a range of small-ship cruising adventures in some of the world’s most beautiful places. Variety has been committed to helping travellers get to the heart of a destination since 1949, providing comfortable rooms, delicious local food and the support of an experienced crew. Variety’s traveller pledge aligns perfectly with our own: to give our customers intimate, authentic and memorable travel experiences. We look forward to welcoming you aboard.
The number of people joining you will range from 30-50 people depending on the ship. Our adventure cruises generally attract a mix of European, North American, and Australian/NZ travellers of all ages.
On all our Intrepid itineraries, if you’re travelling solo, it is possible to share a twin share cabin with another passenger of the same gender, depending on availability.
On all of our itineraries operated by Variety Cruises, you will need to pay the single passenger price, but you will get a cabin for your own use.
The language on board is English (with fluent staff). On our itineraries operated by Variety Cruises, German, French, Spanish or Russian may also be spoken by our Cruise Coordinators depending on the departure. In general, there is a multilingual environment and you will have a chance to mix with a variety of nationalities.
By its nature, all travel by sea is subject to the weather, winds, and tides. Occasionally the order in which we visit destinations may need to change to accommodate weather conditions and, sometimes, other ports may be substituted. Safety is always our first priority. All ships are operated by an experienced captain and crew.
For the comfort and pleasure of our guests, our itineraries generally follow warm rather than hot weather patterns. The world's climate being at times unpredictable, our small ships are seldom far from a sheltered bay or port.
The Euro is the official currency while on board. There is an optional credit system for expenses on board that may be paid/settled at the end of the cruise. Credit cards are accepted on board.
Most dietary requirements can be catered for on all ships, except for kosher and halal. Please advise us at the time of booking and we will do all that we can.
Alcoholic drinks are available on all ships and are reasonably priced (the official currency onboard is Euro) – for example EUR5 for the cocktail of the day or EUR3.50 for a glass of wine. The bar runs on a chit system where you sign for drinks as you purchase them, with the amount added to your on-board account. This account is settled at the end of the voyage.
Dress aboard the boat is very casual – it is a holiday after all. However, you may wish to bring a smarter outfit, such as a sundress or a shirt with a collar, for the final night’s Captain’s Dinner or if you plan to eat off the ship in port.
Wifi is available on our ships at an additional cost. Please note, it may be unavailable in more remote locations or when sailing.
Yes definitely, and it's a popular option for many. While dates might not always align perfectly, there are plenty of options like day tours to bridge the time between the tours. Contact us or your local travel agent to find out more.
If you've found a tour you like, we can request space and confirm availability within 2-4 days. Once availability is confirmed, a deposit is required within 7 days. We suggest not booking other things like flights until availability is confirmed.
Once the space is confirmed by our local team and your deposit has been paid, your tour is guaranteed to depart - meaning you can book your airfares and additional accommodation with confidence. Please note that like all of our tours, this is subject to our regular booking conditions.
Pricing depends on the cabin type. Similar to how hotel room pricing works, some cabins offer superior views, larger windows/portholes and larger or additional living space. You can view cabin types on our ships page. Contact us to find out more
While International flights aren't included in the tour cost, we can assist with booking these. Our partnerships with the major airlines mean we can get you the best price on flights for your intended travel dates. Sometimes it can be challenging organising flights. Some destinations are harder to get to than others, and we know it can be tricky trying to negotiate dates, transfers and prices. So speak to us about how we can get you there easier.
Yes, we can generally assist with all of this when you're ready to book your trip. Contact us to find out more.
Of course! All ships have a swimming platform which is usually located at the back of the ship. The crew will always be present to monitor the safety of swimmers, watching either from the ship or a small zodiac safety boat. Additional towels are available during swim stops. All ships are equipped with snorkelling equipment that you are free to use. Some ships also offer kayaks and stand-up paddleboards for use at swim stops.
With itineraries operated by Intrepid, we include: a minimum of two meals daily, activities and land excursions (as per the itinerary), Comfortable accommodation on the boat, all port fees, services of local tour leaders, airport arrival transfer, drinking water, 24-hour coffee station with fruit and snacks, and snorkelling equipment. Some trips have kayaks and stand-up paddleboards available for use.
With itineraries operated by Variety Cruises, we include: a minimum of two meals daily, comfortable accommodation on the boat, all port fees, services of a cruise co-ordinator, drinking water, 24-hour coffee station with fruit and snacks, and snorkelling equipment. Some trips have kayaks and stand-up paddleboards available for use. All onshore activities are optional and are an additional cost which is paid on board.
With itineraries operated by Intrepid, we do not include: International flights, travel insurance, discretionary tips for leaders and crew, some meals, onboard purchases (such as beverages), hotel to port transfer (if arriving prior to day of embarkation), airport departure transfer (unless pre-booked), any additional hotel accommodation not outlined in trip itinerary, personal expenses.
With itineraries operated by Variety Cruises, we do not include: International flights, travel insurance, activities and land excursions, all gratuities, some meals, onboard purchases (such as beverages), transfers to/from airport or hotel to/from port (unless pre-booked), any additional hotel accommodation, personal expenses.
Tips for all crew and services are at your discretion
Your agent or sales representative will provide you with all the necessary joining point details once you have booked, along with other essential trip information. This information can also be found on the web page for your trip – scroll down past the itinerary until you see the Essential Trip Information link.
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Looking for a smaller boat?
Want to feel the wind in your hair? Our sailing tours use smaller catamarans or yachts rather than multi-deck cruise ships. Travellers can lend a helping hand with navigating, tacking and steering, or (if that sounds like hard work) simply stretch out on deck with a good book.