Do you prefer the new bigger ships or the 'little' ships (Star, Jewel etc)? I know the big ships have a lot to offer but they seem to be just a tad crowded to me. I'll probably stay with the smaller ships. What are your thoughts?
NCL Spirit- Alaska May 2004
NCL Sea- W Caribbean Dec 2004
NCL Dream- W Caribbean Dec 2006
NCL Star- Alaska Aug 2009
NCL Sky- Bahamas Dec 2010
NCL Star- W Caribbean Jan 2013
I have not cruised on NCL, bot the larger Royal Caribbean sips do not feel crowded at all. They have so many activities and people are not concentrated in any given spot.
I love those big ships.
Carnival Liberty New Year's Eve 2007
Liberty of the Seas 5/2008+11/2009
Allure 1/16/ 2011
Independence of the Seas 12/29/2013 Top-notch!
We've been on small ships that have felt overly crowded, we've been on the biggest ship in the world (Allure of the Seas) that did not feel crowded at all, and everything in between. One thing we found is that it's not so much the size of the ship, but how well it's designed. The Allure, as an example, did not feel crowded most of the time because there are so many open spaces and alot of amenities to be enjoyed. Then again, in December we were on the Carnival Glory, which is half the size of the Allure, and there were alot of times when it felt extremely crowded.
Can't remember where I saw it, but there was a website that showed the passenger space ratios that was very revealing. (I may have to go searching for that one, again.)
We were on the Holland America Rotterdam years ago - this is a relatively small ship, yet it was one of the best cruises we've ever been on. Very classic old-style interior that made it wonderful - don't get that on ships anymore. Now they're very modern, sterile, and contemporary, which is fine if you like that sort of thing, but just doesn't match the warmth of the older ships. Plus, we've always felt we've gotten a more intimate experience on the smaller ships and the food is often better. For example, we were on the Paul Gauguin, which is only 19,000 gross tons and holds 332 people. It was the best cruise we've ever done! On the other hand, we did the Celebrity Eclipse and it was amazing as well, yet it's 122,000 gross tons with 2800 people. While both were wonderful cruises that we would definitely do again, they offered completely different experiences.
Then again, bigger is better if you like all the amenities. Of course, if you're traveling with kids, that's important because, as we all know, if the kids are happy, the parents are happy. But if you're traveling without kids, then there's alot to be said about the smaller ships.
And that's the fun part about cruising - trying them all until you find the one that fits you the best, keeping in mind you may find more than one that you like.
__________________ Travel Agent/Cruise Specialist w/12 yrs exp and 47 Cruises on 11 cruise lines! Favorites: Paul Gauguin - Tahiti: Uniworld River Cruises - Europe; Celebrity Solstice-class ships; Holland America - 12-nights Baltics & Russia; RCCL - 14-nights Greek Isles, Turkey, & Croatia; Holland America - 14-day Alaskan cruisetour; 10-night Canada/New England cruise; 21 days Hawaii w/7-night NCL cruise; Oceania - 25 days in Asia; more than 3 months touring Europe by train. And many all-inclusive resorts!
Have only sailed Royal Caribbean. Been on Majesty, Explorer, Voyager, Freedom, and Allure. None seemed crowded; only time was during departure for shore excursions; I like them all, small, medium, and large
Was on Allure of the Seas a while ago, it was the only "big" ship I felt crowded on...shoulder to shoulder waling down the promenade and some long waits for "My Time Dining". I preferred the Liberty of the Seas....better crowd management.
Have been on NCL's Epic and Breakaway...both big ships. They felt much more open (lots more outside space). NCL happens to do a better job with Freestyle than Carnival and Royal, too.
-1977-First cruise (very young) SS Norway (ne SS France)-Caribbean
-2003 Carnival Conquest-Caribbean
-2004 HAL Oosterdam-San Francisco transition cruise to BC
-2007 RCCL Liberty of the Seas-Caribbean
-2010-2011 Carnival Freedom New Years cruise-Caribbean, NCL Epic
-2012RCCL Allure of the Seas
-2013-NCL Breakaway and CCL Breeze
We have been on the NCL Pearl and the NCL Sun. The Pearl is a bigger ship but it felt way less crowded then the smaller Sun did. The ride of a bigger ship is also much better then a smaller ship. If you have problems with sea-sickness, stick with the bigger vessels!
Live life to the fullest because tomorrow may never come!
Carribean Princess 07
Carnival Valor 08
Carnival Holiday 08
Carnival Triumph 09
Island Princess 09
Carnival Miracle 10
Norwegian Pearl 11
Norwegian Sun 13
Independence of the Seas Feb 14
Carnival Splendor Feb 15
Last summer I went on the Norwegian Epic and was totally blown away by the experience the ship was incredible, upon my return I booked up for Xmas from Barcelona on the Norwegian Spirit and although I had a good holiday and as always the crew were fantastic I was very disappointed with the ship. Had this been my first cruise with NCL I would have never returned to them. The ship was old, dated and a bit tired and most of the things that made the Epic, Epic were sadly missing on this ship. For me NCL have one foot in the future with the big ships and one foot in the past with the older smaller ships.
For me the bigger the ship the better the holiday, I am returning to the Epic at the end of August got a great deal on a haven family villa, canīt wait. I will be booking for 2015 on the Allure of the seas when it comes to Barcelona, they donīt come much bigger than that.
Epic is huge; but it can not get into some of the smaller ports that Spirit can. That is why NCL sails both Spirit and Jade in Europe; because they can get into smaller ports; Epic won't go to Santorini; which is one of the best ports in the Med.
I prefer the smaller to medium sized ships (70,000 to 110,000 tons). The large ships (such as the Epic) just always seemed so crowded on deck and while waiting for an elevator. Also, the large ships try to cram as many cabins on board that they can so the Epic has 128sf for it's standard inside cabin where as the Sun or the Carnival Fantasy class has about 160sf. The big ships may have more "toys" on them but most of those toys are geared towards kids, not adults. Case in point, the Epic has two pools with a play zone and water slides taking up a huge amount of deck space for the kids and only a 15x20 ft pool at the rear of the ship for adults. On the Carnival Conquest class, the adult pool is at least twice the size of the Epic adult pool but the Conquest class carries over 1,000 fewer people than the Epic.
That being said, it's not that I won't sail on a big ship (except for the Epic, NCL can keep that thing) but I prefer 110k or less and slightly older and more classic when sailing.