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Viking Sky named Best Small Cruise Ship

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Every guest has a veranda aboard winning ship

While large ships come with certain advantages (bowling at sea, anyone?), some cruisers prefer the intimacy, personalized service and destination-focused itineraries of a smaller vessel. These 20 cruise ships and yachts, each with a passenger capacity of under 1,000, can get to smaller ports inaccessible to larger ships and offer a more social atmosphere where it’s easier to get to know your fellow guests.

  • Viking Sky

    Viking Sky
    Viking Ocean Cruises

    The 930-passenger Viking Sky feels more like a resort than a cruise ship, thanks to its all-veranda staterooms, tasteful decorations and elegant public spaces for reading, relaxing or socializing. Little extras, like numerous USB ports, ocean-facing lounge chairs on the pool deck and floor-to-ceiling windows in most venues, make for a comfortable sailing experience.
    Photo courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises

  • Viking Orion

    Viking Orion
    Viking Ocean Cruises

    The new 930-guest Viking Orion offers all-veranda staterooms with amenities like free wifi, flatscreen TVs and heated bathroom floors. It’s also the first ship in the fleet to feature a high-tech planetarium in a 26-seat dome theater.
    Photo courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises

  • Paul Gauguin

    Paul Gauguin
    Paul Gauguin Cruises

    The Gauguin, flagship vessel of Paul Gauguin Cruises, was designed specifically for the waters of the South Pacific. The 332 guests aboard the ship sail to small ports inaccessible to bigger ships, all while enjoying luxury amenities like spacious suites and staterooms, an onboard water sports marina, three restaurants and a spa.
    Photo courtesy of Paul Gauguin Cruises

  • Seabourn Encore

    Seabourn Encore
    Seabourn Cruise Line

    The ultra-luxury Seabourn Encore features 300 suites for 600 passengers with all the amenities of Seabourn’s Odyssey-class ships. New additions to Encore include a VIP area on the top deck, a wellness program and two new restaurants, The Grill by Thomas Keller and Sushi.
    Photo courtesy of Seabourn Cruise Line

  • Wind Surf

    Wind Surf
    Windstar Cruises

    The 310-passenger flagship vessel from Windstar Cruises looks and feels impressive. A recent renovation brings new finishes and furnishings onboard. Guests are greeted with fresh flowers and fruit in their staterooms, and amenities like welcome cocktails, a fitness center, nightly port talks and complimentary water sports equipment.
    Photo courtesy of Windstar Cruises

  • Seabourn Sojourn

    Seabourn Sojourn
    Seabourn Cruise Line

    The 229-suite Seabourn Sojourn shines with its relaxing public spaces, including a living room concept to replace the traditional ship lobby. Guests can take advantage of a card room, fitness center, salon and several dining venues, including The Grill by Thomas Keller.
    Photo courtesy of Seabourn Cruise Line

  • Seabourn Ovation

    Seabourn Ovation
    Seabourn Cruise Line

    Seabourn Ovation, sister ship to Seabourn Encore, is the newest addition to the fleet. This 600-passenger ship attracts passengers with its inclusive cruise fares that even include unlimited caviar. Dining options abound, including alfresco dining at Earth & Ocean at The Patio. The ship also comes outfitted with high-speed internet–the only one in the fleet.
    Photo courtesy of Seabourn Cruise Line

  • Royal Clipper

    Royal Clipper
    Star Clippers

    Designed after the tall ship Preussen, the Royal Clipper is the world’s largest full-rigged sailing ship, complete with 42 sails. The vessel carries just 227 guests with luxurious accommodations and modern amenities like three swimming pools, relaxed dining and a marina platform for water sports. Passengers can even don a harness and climb the mast to a crow nest.
    Photo courtesy of Star Clippers

  • SeaDream II

    SeaDream II
    SeaDream Yacht Club

    SeaDream II is the newest of two twin mega yachts that carry just 112 passengers and 95 crew. This 56-stateroom vessel is all-inclusive and known for its sensational personal service and outstanding food. Cabins are spacious with plenty of storage.
    Photo courtesy of SeaDream Yacht Club

  • Crystal Symphony

    Crystal Symphony
    Crystal Cruises

    Thee 848-passenger Crystal Symphony packs a big punch for a relatively small ship, especially for passengers looking for a luxury cruising experience. This ship shines with its dining and entertainment options–nine places to eat, Broadway-style productions, the Crystal Visions Enrichment Program and the Creative Learning Institute.
    Photo courtesy of Crystal Cruises

  • Viking Sky
  • Viking Orion
  • Paul Gauguin
  • Seabourn Encore
  • Wind Surf
  • Seabourn Sojourn
  • Seabourn Ovation
  • Royal Clipper
  • SeaDream II
  • Crystal Symphony

The top 10 winners in the category Best Small Cruise Ship are as follows:

  1. Viking Sky - Viking Ocean Cruises
  2. Viking Orion - Viking Ocean Cruises
  3. Paul Gauguin - Paul Gauguin Cruises
  4. Seabourn Encore - Seabourn Cruise Line
  5. Wind Surf - Windstar Cruises
  6. Seabourn Sojourn - Seabourn Cruise Line
  7. Seabourn Ovation - Seabourn Cruise Line
  8. Royal Clipper - Star Clippers
  9. SeaDream II - SeaDream Yacht Club
  10. Crystal Symphony - Crystal Cruises

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning cruise ships!

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AlertThe Experts

Carrie Finley Bajak

Carrie Finley Bajak

Carrie Finley Bajak

Don and Heidi Bucolo

Don and Heidi Bucolo

Don and Heidi Bucolo

Danielle Fear

Danielle Fear

Danielle Fear

Sherry Laskin

Sherry Laskin

Sherry Laskin

Jason Leppert

Jason Leppert

Jason Leppert

Chris Owen

Chris Owen

Chris Owen

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