SeaLetter Cruise Survey Results Cruise Survey

How Big
is TOO big?

SeaLetter Cruise
Magazine Survey Results

We asked your opinion on the SIZE of cruise ship you prefer, and the results have actually surprised us here at The SeaLetter.

34% of the respondents voted for the BIGGER the BETTER. 25% voted for NO to BIG, Get me CLOSE to the water with lots of deck space. A whopping 41% voted for Something in Between.

Some of your comments appear below. We regret that we cannot publish all of them, and for the protection of our readers, names are omitted.

Recently did a trans-Atlantic on the new mega-ship the Rotterdam VI. Never again. When I am at sea, I want to be on a cruise ship, not in a Las Vegas hotel - and a cheap one at that! What ever happened to the concept of "elegance, good taste & class" in cruise travel? 650 or so is nice for a cruise ship, but around 1,200 can be handled very nicely, i.e., the Royal Princess. Too much beyond that and you end up with a "Six Flags over Arkansas" experience - not for my hard-earned cruise dollars, thank you!

I like the ships of Holland America. They are medium sized ships with only a thousand or so passengers yet offer all the amenities anyone would need. I think the large ships are far too impersonal.

Big ships are truly a Heaven!!! They have so many options for entertaining, dining, so much space per passenger, so many options for choosing a cabin, and much more people to know! You can do whatever you want whenever you want it. There are also more balcony cabins than in smaller ships. They have better design features, like big atriums, showrooms, more pools, and usually outstanding decoration. They're much more impressive in port than the smaller vessels. :)

I enjoy big ships, 76,000+ tons. The ships allow for a larger volume of passengers which allows for the prices to stay down. Seabourn is excellent if you own Trump Tower, but don't get me wrong, I like personal service also. I think it comes down to preference, who likes what, if everyone only went on a certain size ship than a lot of people would miss out on a great vacation. Personally I like large ships, full size trucks, expansive suites, extensive vacations, etc. Plain and simple I like things big.

First the Destiny and I tried it. It was a fun cruise but too many people. Now, the Grand Princess which calls at St. Martin and I hate tendering. Finally, there will be Voyager of the Seas which can take as many as 4000 if all berths are filled. This is an AIRCRAFT CARRIER which will now be doing cruises. My favorite size is about 50,000 to 55,000 tons and HAL's Veendam falls right in there. This is a beautiful and intimate ship. Those 100,000 ton plus ships are just like going to Mall of America.

On ships less than 30,000 tons (except those which are very dense with passengers), I think there develops a unique sense of intimacy and camaraderie, because you probably will be seeing everyone again from time to time. Everyone's on their best behavior. Also, because of limited occupancy, there is a special sense of exclusivity - one is honored to be sharing an entire ship with just a couple or few hundred others. From 30,000 to 50,000 tons, this diminishes with a higher proportion passengers. Then over 50,000 tons, there is usually such an anonymity, there are so many people, it's almost rare to run into one's own tablemates. Some passengers even feel they don't have to present themselves properly or behave appropriately. But worse to me is that in the larger size categories, you lose the sense of human scale in proportion to surroundings. Yes, there can be cozy areas here and there, but it almost becomes a relief to get off the ship for a while and walk down a street where you are the right size compared to your surroundings.

Biggest I've been on was Carnival's Celebration, but I don't think I'd like the mega-ships due to the fact that, although the ship may be bigger, the ports aren't, which means more crowds, longer lines, etc. I'm tending to lean more toward the "intimate" ships, and my stability-challenged wife can treat her patches like her Amex card, not leave home without them. Give me a ship where the steward gets to know my name, and I can watch port departures without reserving space at the rail, and ignoring shore excursions to avoid the crowds.

We have cruised on Holiday, Nordic Prince, Crown Princess and Sky Princess and will embark aboard Regal Princess in October for a Panama Canal transit from San Francisco to Ft. Lauderdale.

In The middle you sample a little of each kind of ship.

We have sailed on a small (80') 41 passenger schooner off the coast of Maine and a 1,500 passenger cruise ship to Alaska. Both experiences more than met our expectations. The small two-masted schooner reminded us of camping out in a rustic cabin, sharing k.p. duty etc. and was lots of fun, especially flying along under full sail close to the water. The traditional Alaskan cruise was elegant, care-free and great for losing yourself in the crowd. In our experience, size (or the lack thereof) is not as important as matching the kind of cruise you want to a particular type of ship that will provide it.

Enjoy a medium size ship because there are not as many people and you can get around the ship more easily and you don't get lost!

50-70 tons seems to be right size for us. 1200-1500 persons.

Sailed the Destiny & although she is awesome I felt she was TOO big. If some of her amenities could be instituted on the Fantasy class ships it would be great. I like to have lots of choices for things to do in the evening. Although I will always fondly remember my first cruise on the Carnivale(..ship & cabin size have improved with the larger ships.) had more to do with our fellow passengers than anything else. A cruise can be made or broken by the quality of service you receive & by the fellow passengers you meet! Bigger ship...more choices of "action" and of meeting compatible passengers! Now all they need is voice mail service on board so you can keep in contact with all the fun people you meet on board!

I feel the really big ships are impersonal, and have a problem getting into ports.

I may be very unsophisticated about my choice of ships. I will sail on almost anything, so big is better, but not to big is better also. A cruise is a cruise, is a cruise, etc.

I recently sailed (first time cruise) on Celebrity"s Zenith. Beautiful ship! It sailed to Bermuda, and although I loved the Bermuda beaches, and the port, the best part of the cruise was being on the ship itself! The staff were wonderful, food terrific, and the shows were exceptionally good. But the best part for me were the walks on the deck,listening to and dancing to a great band poolside, looking at the beautiful ocean and just enjoying the water and relaxing. I only wish we were actually sailing a few more days. The Zenith was PLENTY big for me. I also thought there were too many people. All this new stuff, ice skating rinks and golf courses, etc. are a bit much. May as well fly to a resort that has all those extracurricular activities.

Going thru the Panama Canal was exciting and there is no chance that these mega ships will go through it. Now you can just stay on a ship and never get off. I think that there is a tremendous advantage to the cruise lines. Cost per passenger is lower to the cruise line, so cruise lines more more profit. I really prefer the under 100,000 ton ships. I don't think we saw the same people twice on the Destiny. You certainly cant beat them for variety though.

Having recently returned from the Dawn Princess repositioning cruise, I realized just how much walking you have to do on a large ship. I happened to have enjoyed the cruise very much, however, I couldn't help noticing how hard it would be for people with difficulty in getting around ie elderly or handicapped. It didn't seem to bother anyone (the median age on this sailing was 72)but I'm surprised it didn"t. My husband and I are in our 40's so it wasn't a problem. I am scheduled for the Grand Princess in March (mostly out of curiosity), but my feeling is that it will be too much of a good thing. Cabin placement is much more important on a large ship than a small one. Celebrity's Horizon was a great size to us, however, we must be in the minority as all you hear about is the new mega ships. We were still discovering nooks and crannies at the end of the cruise that we didn't know existed! I'll be curious to how this survey turns out.

Simply put, my cruising experience leaves me enjoying vessels ranging in size from 25,000 to 35,000 GRT. There is a touch of intimacy in ships of this size and the sea is never far away. My wife and I are sailing Grand Princess in February out of curiosity and for the novelty of celebrating my wife's 50th birthday on something unique. However, we sure wouldn't consider this to be a cozy happening. When we think cozy, we reflect on our second cruise in 1986 on Costa's tired, old Carla which is long gone. Your survey question is most pertinent to the direction of the industry.

Less than a thousand passengers please. My favorite ship was the Golden Princess-no longer in the line. I cruised on the Golden from Tahiti to Hawaii on the perfect cruise of a lifetime. There were lots of opportunities to talk with the same people you might have seen else-where on the ship, no great crowds when you had to tender, uncrowded deck spaces, etc. I took Golden again on her last voyage for Princess through Canal and even though cruise had some problems, I still loved the the "just right" size of the ship. I've been on Crown Princess, Royal Princess and Sovereign of the Seas, but for my Alaska cruise this July, we booked the Island Princess mostly because of her size. I can't wait to go!

Having sailed on everything from the QE2 to the Renaissance 1 and 3, I'll take smaller every time...especially that the new builds make the QE2 small by comparison. I can hardly imagine choosing a resort with 2400 guests with literally nowhere to go but that resort. And once the mega liners dock, the chaos ashore makes every port visited seem dreadfully overcrowded and there's no way to experience the real island. (When we go to our house in St. Bart's, we try to avoid even going near town on the days when we can see what's in the harbor isn't going to permit any pedestrian room in our tiny streets and shops. My idea of a good time is not sharing it with hundreds--even thousands--of fellow passengers. Nothing compares to a a ship carrying 100-350 privileged souls being pampered by a crew who have gotten to know your name. And I guess the proof that smaller is better is that the highest rated ships carry--Seabourn and Silversea-- each carry under 300 passengers and the highest rated 'large ship -- Crystal-- carried under 1000. I suppose there will be no stopping these massive vessels until their passengers discover the truly gracious way of life available on smaller ships.

I prefer I large cruise ship, but the Mega size ships kind of scare me. If there was am emergency on board that is a lot of people to get off a ship.

Like Doug, I'm partial to the "Mega Ships" category (specifically, HAL's Statendam class vessels). They're big enough to have all the amenities I lust after (particularly verandah cabins), but not so big as to be overwhelming or give you that "crowded to the gills" feeling you get on the 1800+ passenger ships.

After sailing on ships from Cunard Countess (small) to Celebrity's Galaxy (large), the best size in my option is in the 40,000-50,000 ton range such as RCI's Nordic Empress or NCL's Seaward. You seem to get the best of both worlds.

We prefer the small to mid size ships as they let you feel you are on a ship. They also feel more intimate and you tend to meet more people on a recurring basis during the cruise.

I think the bigger the ship is the more things you can put inside it to enhance a persons cruise. Like on the Grand Princess they put in a Virtual Reality Center, That would not fit on a boat like Nordic Empress. And Im sure as the years go by all the cruise companies will go with the idea of bigger is Better. Already Princess, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean International have already put those thoughts into use and as time goes by, we will look at the Destiny, Grand Princess, and Voyager as basically as we think of A ship like Monarch of The Seas, Or anyone of the many Fantasy class ships that Carnival has.

Having cruised on older smaller ships (Airtours Carousel and Carnivals Celebration) I recently did the DESTINY and loved it. The increased opportunity for lounges, bars and dining options makes sense for the cruiser. Balconies are also an absolute most - don't get me closer to sea level just get me closer to the edge!

I am going on my Honeymoon on the Dec. 13th Cruise of the Grand Princess. As a child, I Cruised on P&O's Canberra, and this is my first cruise since. Lisa (my fiance) has never been on a cruise before, so we are going to see what cruising is all about together. I believe the Grand Princess will be a great first time cruise ship, and after we get used to cruising and the ocean, then we will try a smaller "closer to the water" ship.

he Bigger it is the more variety of activities to do. Also, MORE verandahs! Ahhhhh :)

My husband and I love medium size ships with a promenade deck that has lots of lounge chairs. Sitting on deck at 1 AM on a warm breezy night is why we cruise, plus a few other good reasons. Any size ships with multiple elevators help those of us who have trouble getting around.

On small ships you can only do so much .On the mega ships it takes the whole cruise to see every nook and cranny and to visit every site. You can go to a new nite spot every night and see different people or go back to a favorite. Various restaurant choices give a nice change . I like the feel of a multi story atrium with glass elevators and sparkle. Although I love the Statendam because of her serenity and nobility, I think the Grand will be my next choice just for the adventure.

I enjoy the "mid-size" ships in the 45-70,000 ton range. For example, HAL's Statendam and Celebrity's Century are wonderful sized ships. While they are large enough to have all the amenities you could possibly want, they both also have plenty of spaces where you can spend your days at sea or in port in totaL peace and quiet. You never got the feeling there were 1800 other people on board either ship.

Have only cruised on the Club Med 2, about 400 passengers and the Marco Polo, around 800. Like the intimacy of the smaller ships. More interested in destinations than shipboard activities.

I'm at a slight disadvantage never having been on any of the 100,000+ ton ships but I think I prefer the 70,000+ ton ships. I guess I'm like Little Red Riding Hood ... it's not too big, it's not too small ... it's JUST RIGHT!!

Having fallen in love with the Statendam Class of Holland America, the mid size gives me the right comfort level.

I really was quite unsure about the 100,000+ ton class of ships. I have always enjoyed the facilities available on larger ships, but I was afraid that this would just be too large to maintain the "coziness" of cruising. As I attempted to decide on a cruise for May 1998, I was asked for my opinion of the MS Carnival Destiny. When I realized that I did not have one, I booked it. This was absolutely the best cruise that I have ever experienced. I did not feel at all over-run or crowded. The facilities were fabulous. I had a terrific time. I do not think that I have ever written such a positive review. I will certainly be cruising on the Destiny again. I'll admit that the size of the Voyager of the Seas does still make me a little nervous, but I'm probably wrong again.

We prefer a ship that's not too number between 800-1400 passengers. We enjoy the more intimate atmosphere and that other passengers met may actually be seen again during the cruise. We used to like ships with capacities of 500-800, but now enjoy ones a little larger if they are well laid out such as Holland America Line's Statendam class and Crystal's Harmony and Symphony.

Something in the 45000-65000 ton arena. When I disembark, I want to feel like I've seen the entire ship. On the one big ship I've been on (Sovereign of the Seas), I felt like I didn't see the whole ship in my 1 week aboard. Conversely, on the Royal Princess, I can adequately say I was in every part of the ship.

I prefer ships of approximately 75 000 tons. Ships of this size provide ample facilities and space without huge crowds. I would never even consider taking a cruise on a ship which carries in excess of 3000 passengers.

It seems like the 1400-1900 passenger ships are the best. Enough amenities and different things to do, but not too crowded or too many places that you might not get to see in a week.

I have cruised over twelve time and I like the size ships of the Horizon and I was on Carnival Destiny and it was too big.

I like bigger ships because there are more things to do and see on larger ships than small ships. I like to have swimming pool inside so I won't get sunburn. I like new deck plan on Voyager of the Seas because they have three stories dining rooms and four stories atriums so it will look more like large hotel on water. I never see indoor cabins with windows with view of public areas before. I can't wait to see Voyager of the Seas next year. On smaller ship there are small things to do then get bored unless you go gambling or drink a lot at bar. I don't go gambling or drink very much. Small ships are good for three or fours nights.

I enjoy the diversity of large ships--you never run out of things to do. Guess my only complaint would be that there is too much to do--and I feel like I want to try it all. I also like the large spaces and the open feel because of them. Give me the large, modern ships any day!!!!

After five Carnival Cruises PLEASE get me nearer to the water. While big ships are entertaining and impressive, there is much to be said about being in touch with the sea. In the larger ships, you only touch the water in the pool or after you get off on the beach, not to mention the occasional splash in a tender. Lastly, the bigger the ship, the more people they can crowd on, thus the longer lines and longer waits and less personal service etc.

Our first cruise was on the Destiny and we've booked our second on the Grand Princess. We couldn't have been happier on our first cruise with all the options for entertainment and dining. We are expecting even more choices on our next trip. I've caught the "Cruising Bug" and can't wait to get back on the sea!

I was recently able to compare the Song of America to Sovereign of the Seas and I definitely prefer the smaller Song of America.My reasoning is get much more attention on the smaller ships. For instance, on SOA when you board there is someone available to escort you to your cabin....on SVS you are given directions to your cabin. This is just one of many differences I noticed. Give me the smaller more personal ship any day!

My favorite size is 40,000 to 60,000 grt. This is a good size ship. It will have most , if not all, of the amenities of the 'mega" ships. But with fewer passengers. Just returned from HAL's Veendam. 55,000 grt. Perfect size ship. I wish cruise lines would build more of the medium sized ships instead of bigger and bigger.

I've been on ships ranging from 35,000 GRT up to 77,000 GRT. They have all had both good and bad points, but the larger ships do offer more options and have never really created a feeling of being crowded.

We like the amenities, activities and bustle of a medium size ship.

No more than 70/80,000 GWT and 1500/1800 passengers.

After six cruises, the Sun Princess (77,000 grt) is the biggest on which my family and I will travel. We've done 13,000 tons up to 77,000 our preference is around 50,000. The reason: it takes us a few days to really "learn" the layout of the ship and experience everything the ship has to offer. With the Sun Princess, I found it was Day 5 of the week-long cruise before I felt I really took advantage of much of what I had paid for! With shore excursions accounting for lots of time away from the ship, these "monsters" with lots of decks, lines, and elevators loses the intimacy of cruising.

I feel that if the ship is well designed, then size doesn't matter as in the case of the Grand Princess which I will be cruising on in February. I would have to say though, that I enjoy ships in the 70,000-80,000 ton range. There are so many beautiful ships out there and the majority of them are mega-ships.

We prefer the larger ships for the optimum variety they provide. We normally cruise with at least one other couple and therefore are not looking for a more intimate sized crowd to intermingle with. We make friends very easily and do enjoy meeting others but we are usually so busy availing ourselves of the different activities and shore excursions and interacting with our travel companions. The larger ships are less confining and claustrophobic in my opinion.

The biggest ships I've ever sailed are Celebrity Galaxy and Mercury. I loved both of them. The smallest ship I've sailed is tiny Nantucket Clipper and I absolutely loved it. Just like loving a great bed and breakfast and a great resort hotel. I guess I couldn't tell you. If they give you what they promise, they are all good and I'll sail any of them.

Big ships are too crowded when going ashore. I don't like being rushed out of the dining room for the next group or waiting to get in. On a smaller ship there is a more relaxed feeling, more intimate. The crew learns who you are and you can get to know the other passengers better, if you want to. Dinner is as it should be, you can dine alone or with a different group every night. You can request a table with new friends on the spur of the moment. A smaller ship has an elegance lacking in the larger ship.

Interesting and very thoughtful comments, don't you think? Of course, we wouldn't expect less from our SeaLetter Readers!

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