Small Ship Cruising

By Allen Cox, Northwest Travel and Life Magazine

I have been on a few large ship cruises, but the small ship experience was new to me until I boarded three separate small ships, each for a week-long cruise in Northwest waters. What do I mean by a small ship? Fewer than 250 passengers (often fewer than 100), two to four decks, and the ability to navigate waterways the large cruise ships cannot. Enjoying the Northwest's diverse landscapes--and seascapes--from a small ship lends a fresh and close up perspective. As far from a large cruise ship as a fine boutique hotel is from a mega-resort, small ship cruising is an intimate experience that brought me and my fellow passengers close to nature, history, and out-of-the-way destinations.