Besides its river ships, Grand Circle has a growing collection of small ocean vessels that sail the Mediterranean, stopping at ports along the Italian and French Riverias, as well as Corsica. Arethusa is one of the original set of three, launched in 2008. The ship is 193 feet and can accommodate 50 passengers.
The ship has 26 nonsmoking cabins -- 24 doubles and two singles -- ranging in size from 150 to 170 square feet. All have ocean views and private bathrooms with a hair dryer. The 18 upper deck cabins include a private balcony. The cabins have moveable twin beds that can be converted to a double, in-room safes, individual climate controls, minifridges and flat-screen TVs with CNN, radios and phones. A limited number of free single supplements are available.
Onboard offerings include a dining room with single open seating, a lounge/bar with leather couches and soft chairs and a sun deck with classic wooden deck chairs. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship, including in cabins. There is no elevator or fitness room.
There are two program directors, one for each group of 25 passengers. Excursions include headset-guided tours of Cannes, Cinque Terre and Florence.
Passengers on Arethusa tend to be Americans over 50. The majority are couples; the line says one in four passengers travel alone. (A roommate-matching service is available.) Guests are generally well traveled and many are repeat cruisers.