If you’ve never taken a cruise, it can be difficult to tell the major cruise lines apart. But what if a mega ship just doesn’t hold any appeal for you, regardless of the line? A smaller cruise ship, many of which embrace a yacht-style vacation, may be a better fit.

These lines all offer ships that hold less than 1,000 passengers.  While there are fewer choices onboard in terms of restaurants, activities, and entertainment, you’ll find that small-ship cruises tend to be more social. As the sailing progresses, passengers get to know each other. (If you tend to like your anonymity, this is not the vacation for you!)

However, another major benefit is that small ships can get into ports that large ships can’t, offering access to a wide variety of smaller islands, less-cosmopolitan cities, and undiscovered (or at least less-discovered) spots. In addition, they are often able to get closer to the action in many ports, rather than docking at larger terminals that are further outside of town.

Read on for some of our favorite cruises in small packages: