Is Small Ship Adventure Cruising Sustainable?

small ship adventure cruising

I recall some of my first experiences in a cruise port city on big cruise day. I was warned “don’t buy anything on Thursdays because the prices go way up for for the cruise tourists.” And it’s not just cruises that cause problems. Whenever large influxes of tourists invade a small place at one time, it causes a lot of displacement. I was reminded of this recently on a trip to Valladolid in Mexico when bus after bus arrived from Cancun and the Mayan Riviera on their way to Chichen-Itza. The effect on the locals is dramatic. This type of “ice cream tourism” (where visitors only stop to buy ice cream) is the bane of many towns caught in the trap of having to provide facilities for tourists and only a small amount of real monetary return.

Is small ship adventure cruising a more sustainable form of tourism?  Peregrine Adventure’s new small ship adventure cruises aim to operate in a more responsible way by visiting the less visited ports and limiting ship passenger counts.

Darrel Wade co-founder of the Intrepid Group (the parent company of Peregrine) stated in an article posted in the New Zealand Herald Sep 17, 2017 that,

“From a sustainable point of view – pure sustainability, environmental sustainability — [small ships are] arguably not that much better,” Wade says.

“There are things to work through, like fuel standards and things like that.

“But where I think there can be a dramatic difference is in terms of a responsible tourism attitude, where you spread load. We should be going to smaller towns where you can go and eat at a small local restaurant and you’re leaving money behind in the local community. I think you’ve got to make a point of spreading that capacity.”

Small ship adventure cruising is exactly what many people are looking for: cruising that actually lets you explore your ports of call, as opposed to packing you into a mega ship and emptying your wallet. Small ship adventure cruising, if managed with a responsible commitment to the local people, is also a terrific way to experience an area and help provide benefits to the local people.

For more info and a video on Peregrine’s small ship adventure cruising see an article at