Top 10 Smallest Ships In The World (2023)

There is bit of controversy surrounding the actual smallest ships in the world; but for the purpose of practicality this article will only feature real vessels that serve actual real world applications, not just display models designed by craftsmen and aficionados for the novelty of having created something.

A ship, no matter how small should be able to carry a few people, and perhaps a few goods. To qualify as a ship at all it should also be able to sail the open waters- which is what ships do. As John A. Shedd said back in 1928: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”

Top 10 Smallest Ships In The World

1. Blooming Beaver

Blooming Beaver is a tiny ship in the service of the United States Navy. This ship has the capacity to pull small ships, and barges in the water, which means that it is quite a powerful vessel regardless of how tiny it looks. Blooming Beaver has a length of 19 feet, which is a rather small space to put an engine, a wheelhouse, and a deck among other things.

Nevertheless, the Blooming Beaver is a complete ship, there are photos of it on the internet with three soldiers positioned at different parts of the ship as though in a military exercise. Blooming Beaver has been admired so much that replicas have been built and sold to the public; one of which would go for around $100,000.

The Blooming Beaver’s primary assignment is to deploy floating security fences so as to ensure that the bays and waters where the larger vessels (such as submarines and destroyers) are kept remain secure.

2. Celebrity Xploration

The Celebrity Xploration is a cruise ship- the smallest in the world- which offers cruises around the Galapagos Islands. The ship is famously captained by a beautiful woman, and while it is tiny compared to competitors, it does give a lot when it comes pleasure and comfort.

This ship can take 16 guests, and weighs just 319.5 tones. Despite its small size this ship is safe and sound, and many have commented about how they enjoyed their time aboard it. There are only 8 cabins on this ship which equals two passengers per cabin.

The ship has some exclusivity about it; rather than go with any of the larger ships which some may describe as crowded, they may choose to sail on this baby ship and enjoy time with loved ones.

3. MSC Hercules

The MSC Hercules is the world’s smallest container ship, and it measures only 23 feet long. The Ship is only big enough to carry one shipping container, and the crew of around 5 people. However, the crew has no living accommodations aboard the vessel, even though the ship goes over the open ocean delivering goods from one continent to the next.

The ship is made of wood, and is powered by a diesel engine; making it quite a powerful machine in deed. The ship is owned by a private company in China who say it is very economical and profitable to operate this vessel.

4. MS Panorama

The MS Panorama is a beautiful sailing ship which takes passengers on luxury cruises in the waters around French Polynesia. This is a very beautiful boat; it is best known for the tall sails, and also for the luxury cabins which are paneled with polished wood. The cruise ship takes 49 passengers, and has multiple public places despite being one of the most portable cruise ships.

The ship measures 164 feet; but the designers were able to maximize the space by building three decks so that it can take even more passengers. It has all the safety features of cruise ships so it is truly a marvel of design.

5. National Geographic Seabird

The National Geographic Seabird looks like an unsinkable sea monster, maybe it has to do with the fact that the design puts the deck so high, or maybe it has to do with the colors with which the ship is painted. This ship can take 31 guests, and has three decks which makes for more space despite being so small.

The ship offers cruises around the waters of Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and Baja California. The true design is exploration, but while not undertaking some adventure, it serves for cruising.

6. NP Bloom

The NP Bloom is a shipping vessel which has the capacity to carry around 10 shipping containers. The ship is a fully ocean going vessel, and has been in operation since 2009.

NP Bloom measures 50 meters in length, and 13 meters in width. There is a compartment for the crew, and while everything is small, the ship is a fully standard one.

7. Le Ponant

Le Ponant has even taller sails than the MS Panorama; and it has a somewhat slimmer hull. Nevertheless, it is a ship of breathtaking beauty, with its three masts, and top deck. One magazine describes the ship’s design as yatch style, and perhaps it is that design that has continued to attract guests to it.

The ship has 16 cabins and measures 289 feet.

8. Chicagof Dream

Chicagof Dream is a cruise ship that operates along the waters of Alaska. It is owned by a small family owned cruise line, and they offer very good cruises with exceptional comfort. The ship is small; it only measures 207 feet, but the 4 decks make for very good maximization of available space.

The ship takes 76 passengers, and a crew of 30 people.

9. Ocean Nova

Ocean Nova is a cruise ship that sails around the waters of Antarctica; where most ship fear to go. However, this ship has been built to withstand the ice, and even though it was clearly built to be rugged, it is quite comfortable.

She ship measures 240 feet, and can take 67 passengers, and 38 crew members. It has 4 decks, and has certainly helped with the number of passengers it takes.

10. Amerigo Vespucci

The Amerigo Vespucci is an Italian Navy (Marina Militare) vessel named after Amerigo Vespucci a famous Italian explorer. It is a tall and beautiful sail ship, one that prides itself in keeping the old tradition of seafaring using sails. The ship is used as a training vessel; but it regularly crosses the oceans on training tours.

The ship measures 395 ft, and weighs around 4 thousand tones.



The smallest ships in the world are mostly cruise ships; that is the best use for such small vessels anyway. Military vessels and container ships need to be as big as possible to carry as much as they can in terms of goods, and weaponry. As vessels become bigger, it is refreshing to see small ones sailing the oceans.