WAVE AC TION The megaship Norwegian Epic, left, features its own water
park; the midsize Mariner of the Seas, above, has a luxurious, intimate theater.
room, there are several
The Noordam’s casual
dining area is a typical
buffet, though with tablecloths and linen napkins.
DESTINA TIONS Midsize
ships can go almost anywhere, from Bora-Bora to
the St. Lawrence River.
Fewer than 1,200 passengers
You should pay: $350 to $500 per
day by sea; $150 to $350, by river
(Avalon Affinity, Viking Pride, Ocean
Princess, Seven Seas Mariner, Crystal
Symphony, Queen of the Mississippi)
TARGET TRAVELERS Sophisticated
vacationers and couples enjoy the
lack of hubbub on these ships.
“They offer superior service, dining,
and accommodations,” says Bason.
“They often have 1-to- 1 crew-to-
guest ratios [the Oasis of the Seas
ratio is about 1 to 2. 25].”
River ships are another type of
small-boat option. For as little as
$150 a day, you can ply the water-
ways of Europe, Asia, and Africa on
sleek craft via lines like Avalon,
Grand Circle, or Viking River
Cruises. In the United States, Blount
Small Ship Adventures and Ameri-
can Cruise Line sail the nation’s
great rivers for $300 to $570 a day.
EN TER TAINMENT Oceangoing small
ships have intimate theaters and
cabaret-type shows. Riverboats
often limit their entertainment to
local performers—and in Vienna,
Viking took us to a lovely Strauss
concert at the Auersperg Palace.
POOLS Seagoing small ships often
have one very nice pool; river ships
will occasionally have a hot tub.
CABINS Ocean miniships have
standard-size cabins, and in recent
years riverboat designers have
found ways to make their tiny cab-
ins seem larger—mini-balconies
with sliding glass doors help a lot.
DINING Some of the world’s finest
restaurants can be found on mini-
ship ocean liners. The menus are
breathtaking—and you’ll be treated
as if you’re sitting at the captain’s
table. Riverboats have kitchens that
are roughly the size of a minivan
interior. Your best bet: Wander
ashore each night, seeking out the
local restaurants and pubs where
the neighbors have been eating,
perhaps for centuries. ;
ALL PRICES ARE PER PERSON, PER DAY.