Big ship or small ship?

Feb 8th, 2015, 11:01 AM
  #1  
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Big ship or small ship?

What do you think is better--a big ship or small ship? And why?

I've sailed on the Allure of the Seas at one end of the spectrum and the Constellation at the other, and have some thoughts of my own at http://musingaboutcruising.blogspot.com.
rjgdjg is offline  
Feb 8th, 2015, 02:04 PM
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First of all nice blog.

For us our one experience with a small ship was the 32 k ton Tahitian Princess, 600 ft. long and 700 passengers. Well it was certainly more intimate. You saw people more frequently and it seemed to foster a sense of being more friendly. Also word spread fast. Sadly a 90 yr. old woman passed a few days into the cruise and it seemed like everyone knew about. I don't think this would happen at least to the same extent on a ship with 4-5k passengers. My wife had a severe case of motion sickness and some crew members we had never met asked how she was doing so there again the smaller size fosters more community in a sense.

The food was very good and I suppose it's because it's easier to cook for 700 than for 4-5k.

However the entertainment on bigger ships was far better. The smaller ship did not have the means to provide bigger shows and the variety of smaller shows that you get on a larger ship.

Then there is the glitzy or wow! factor. Todays larger ships really amaze you whereas the Tahitian Princess is just not designed for that. It comes down to what you prefer and having experienced both we like the wow, the glitz not to mention how bigger ships handle better in rougher seas which is a big factor for us.

Very nice topic for discussion.
jacketwatch is offline  
Feb 8th, 2015, 02:54 PM
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I wouldn't call the Constellation a small ship. After all, it is 90,000 tonne and 2000+ passengers.

The smallest ship we have been on was the Galapagos Explorer (currently known as SilverSea Galapagos), 3000 tonne, 99 passengers. Now that is small.

We have been on the Pacific Princess, 680 passengers, one of the 8 R class ships (from Renaissance Cruises) still sailing under different names, including the Azamara Journey & Quest, Oceania Nautica & Regatta, just to name a few. They are all around 30,000 tonnes and all built within 3 years from 1998 to 2001.

Each have their own advantage or advantageous. Based on what I have seen so far, the smaller ships generally charges more than the mega ships. The service generally are more personal and better. With less venues, entertainment line up (choices) is weaker but the performance are not necessarily weaker.

You get a more intimate setting on a smaller ship, get to know the crew and fellow passengers, and felt more "belong" than in a mega ship.

Allure is the same size as Oasis and after one short trip on the Oasis, that's it for me and there is no desire to be on it again. Too many people on board for my liking, and too crowded in my mind. All those extra venues does not add value for me as I don't want or need to go see all those different venues.

Every one is looking for something different on a cruise. To each their own.
Eschew is offline  
Feb 8th, 2015, 03:32 PM
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My experience is more limited than many, but aside from lots of walking on the bigger ships and having to tender in more places, to me, the difference between large and small does not seem as important as the size and type of public space in relationship to number of passengers and the overall layout and design of the dining rooms and public spaces.

Epic has a lot more cabins, a big space for children and their "water park", but the main pool area was no bigger than much smaller ships and the walking areas around shops was more like a wide hall. Both areas seemed more crowded than on smaller ships.

OTOH, the main buffet areas on Epic and the Princess ships I have been on were divided into smaller, more intimate areas, so did not seem any more crowded than on the much smaller ship, Majesty of the seas.

On the larger ships, our cabins were smaller than on the smaller ships.

The beautiful atrium on Caribbean Princess has lots of seating for enjoying the concerts given there. Majesty also has a beautiful Centrum, but no seating and it was surrounded by noisy shops and other activities.

As to movement, it really has varied from ship to ship in similar cabins. The most we felt was actually on the big Epic. The much smaller, Majesty, seemed so sturdy, to me, and with some pretty big waves seemed to be the steadiest of all the ships we have been on, a very nice surprise.

So, IMHO, there are many factors besides big or small.

Just a FYI for fun, the original Love Boat (the very first Pacific Princess) was only 13,000 ton. Would we call it a mini-ship now a days?
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Feb 8th, 2015, 04:08 PM
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Sass we would call that a Smartship. .
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Feb 8th, 2015, 05:50 PM
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Funny, Jacket.
I like that better than mini. Considering it was the start of the great line of Princess ships and the vacation cruise industry for the general public, it was indeed, a very smart ship.
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Feb 8th, 2015, 07:06 PM
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Yes Sass. Then and now. .
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Feb 9th, 2015, 03:23 AM
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Sass, 100% correct on the public space. Ships with better designed public space seems less crowded, regardless of the number of passengers. We never felt "squeezed" or crowded on a Princess Grand class ship except after the drill when everyone is getting out. We too like the Princess Piazza and their music, along with the International Cafe next to it.

You may find this surprising, the bigger (taller) the ship, the more rocking motion you will feel despite of the modern design and stabilizers. The rocking is from the cross wind. The bigger ships have larger flat surface on the sides for the cross wind to have an effect and you will feel the sideway / rocking motion more, especially in high wind.

When a ship meets a wave / wind head on, the ship doesn't rock. We have been on ships in very rough sea with big waves but hardly felt anything; unless you are at the bow, you may feel some up and down motion and that's about it.

The Original MS Pacific was actually 20,000+ tonne and had a capacity of 625 passengers. The current Pacific Princess (Renaissance R3) took the namesake in 2002 after the original ship was sold in 2001.

In comparison, the Titanic was 50,0000 tonne but housed 2500+ passengers, much more than most modern mass market ships averaging only 2200+ passengers. Just imagine how crowded it would be for the second and third class passengers.
Eschew is offline  
Feb 9th, 2015, 04:43 AM
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We were fortunate enough to get moved from a forward cabin on the Tahitian to an amidships mini suite and what I recall is that even in calm waters you could still feel a slight sway.

I suppose that no matter the size if the waters are rough enough you feel it.
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Feb 9th, 2015, 11:51 AM
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Ah, Eschew, I didn't even think about how the crosswinds work against the sides of the big ships. Ships are amazing structures.

I have read that ocean liners are designed for the rigors of crossing the Atlantic. During repositioning cruises in Spring and Fall, cruise ships do that too. Are they less safe than the true ocean liners?
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Feb 9th, 2015, 03:32 PM
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I wonder about that as well. I have heard there are design differences between the two.
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Feb 9th, 2015, 06:22 PM
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Interesting discussion! Yes, I suppose the Constellation isn't really a "small" ship, compared to the ones you were on. This is funny, though: the Connie was the first ship we sailed on years ago and we had a memory of the Grand Staircase as huge. When we went back on the ship this December (after having been on the Allure), the Grand Staircase didn't look so "grand" any more!

One of the nice things about a small ship, though, is that you can go to more ports, isn't that so? - Musing About Cruising
rjgdjg is offline  
Feb 11th, 2015, 10:32 AM
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We own a boat of 18m, as distinct from a small ship, and we spend a lot of time at sea on it.

Worst ever voyage we have had in our lifetime on boats was on the one trip we did on an ocean liner, a Costa ship. Two thousand people became ill-mannered pigs.

Best sea time ever, apart from aboard our own boat, has been aboard Pandaw boats in Asian rivers, and on small passenger craft in the Australian Kimberly, PNG, Melanesia, the western Pacific, and French Polynesia, with 30-50 passengers on a boat that doesn't need to go into a major port.

If you have no problem with the Francais, Aranui out of Tahiti to the Marquesas is good. Just be prepared for condescending frogs.

Before Christmas we sailed aboard the Oceanic Discoverer from Alotau in PNG, through Milne Bay, the Solomons, Vanuatu to Noumea.

The boat only takes 70 passengers. They are doing a sail from West Papua through the eastern Islands of Indonesia later this year. Heavily booked, I'm told.
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Feb 11th, 2015, 11:06 AM
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We have been on several 70 passenger boats-Alaska, Croatia, Mexico plus several river cruises in Europe and Asia. Our one large ship was 265 passengers and I can't imagine being on anything larger than that. I The small ships are more about the destinations and go where the large ships can't go.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Feb 11th, 2015, 11:54 AM
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MareeS55, What are condescending frogs? I know some frogs from tropical areas are poisonous. Are they easily spotted?

Two thousand people became pigs? Wow! What caused that to happen? Illness? Was it simultaneous? You are so lucky not to have caught whatever it was. With such enormous exposure, how did you avoid having it happen to you?
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Feb 11th, 2015, 12:52 PM
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. Way to go Sass. .
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Feb 13th, 2015, 12:00 AM
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did the big ship cruise once and said never again. We only do small ship cruising from 70 passengers to around 400. Much more intimate, less crowded around pool and decks Depending on the line, they can be quite fancy like the Silver Sea we just took in September 2014. Quite elegant with a couple of formal nights which you may or may not like. Smaller ship nicer when going thru the Panama Canal.....
Shar is offline  
Feb 15th, 2015, 02:41 AM
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We only have experience of Cunard and Celebrity and limited (2 transatlantic crossings and one eastern Med cruise, 3rd crossing this April).

The ships--Reflection, Eclipse and Queen Victoria are all, I assume, classified as large. We think all three ships have done an amazing job with "crowd control", adequate elevators, good design of casual dining. large theaters, embarking and debarking etc.

We like to do fewer cruises to be able to afford more amenities so enjoyed a grill suite on Cunard and sky suites on Celebrity. Paricularly on Cunard you get the feel of a ship within a ship and Celebrity is moving more in that direction as well (new suites-only dining room).
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Feb 15th, 2015, 04:47 AM
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When you are talking Silversea, you are not just comparing small with large, but super upscale, high end, expensive luxury, designed for adults, with mass commercial aimed at a wide range of income ability and to a wide range of people: young adults, families with children and seniors.
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Feb 15th, 2015, 06:10 AM
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We were on a Panamax ship, the Island Princess when going thru the PC. It was an amazing experience.
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