CRUISE SHIPS ARE NOT ALL THE SAME.
Top differences? The number of passengers, itineraries, dining options and activities are just a few things that differ. And yes, ship size.
Cruise lines have distinct personalities, and the key to a great cruise experience is knowing what types of experiences and activities are important to you (which can differ by trip) and who you want to travel with.
Photo courtesy of Hurtigruten
Shows, casinos, water slides, climbing walls, roller coasters, laser tag and lots of other activities? A big ship cruise may well be the answer for you. No lines, no crowds, getting to know your fellow passengers, routes less traveled, unique nature and wildlife? A small(er) ship cruise may be the best option.
Generally speaking, the bigger the ship, the more amenities and activities. The ship is considered as much of the experience as the itinerary. In some cases the ship is actually more important than where it is sailing to. It's like going to a resort, maybe a Walt Disney park or Las Vegas. Bigger ships offer a wider variety of staterooms, a lower cruise fare, more people (and crowds) and can generally only access the bigger ports.
Small ship cruises focus more on the destinations and what happens off the ship. They offer exceptional experiences and greater opportunities to meet fellow like minded travelers. Fewer amenities or onboard activities are less or not important to the guests. Besides, in recent years, many/most of the small ships have been refurbished with upgraded cabins, added specialty dining areas and other public spaces.
As the saying goes, there is a cruise line out there for every type of traveler, but not every cruise line is a good match to every type of traveler.
Photos courtesy of Windstar Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruise Line
Following are a few things to consider when choosing a cruise and ship size:
Mega Ships (3000 - 5000+ passengers)
Medium Ships (1000 - 3000)
Small Ships (500 - 1000 passengers)
Small Ships (<500 passengers)
Both big and small ship cruises offer exceptional experiences, though they are quite different. The best experience for you depends on what you are looking for out of the cruise and overall trip.
As a cruise specialist (highly focused on the small ships), I help match you to the perfect experiences to your travel style. Get started HERE or call 602.540.7338 for more information on how I can help you.
Laurie Marschall - Owner and Founder