Big Ships V Small Ships

Not all ships are the same. Some are considerably bigger than others, carrying significantly more passengers than others.

Both big and small have their advantages and disadvantages:

P&O Britannia and Marco Polo (Image Courtesy of Karen Bradbury – click to enlarge )

Big ships:

Are often newer ships.

More likely to offer a mass-market (standard) product.

Embarkation and disembarkation , including ports of call, can be slow.

Can be more stable in heavy seas.

More choices of public rooms, sports/fitness/beauty facilities, dining and entertainment choices.

May offer ‘flexible’ dining.

Greater choice of cabin grades and often more balconies.

Given the large number of cabins (economies of scale) the fare should be cheaper than smaller ships, but this in not necessarily so.

More passengers but they can actually be more spacious than smaller ships.

Better internet and high-tech features.

Are orientated towards multi-generational families.

May have more on-board surcharges for alternatives.

Can be limited as to where they can dock. May not support tendering.

Tendering will often be slow or even impossible.

Small ships:

Are often older ships.

More likely to offer a premium product, but their are ‘budget’ small ships.

Embarkation, disembarkation and ports of call can be easier due to smaller passenger numbers.

Can be less stable in heavy seas.

Less choices of public rooms, sports/fitness/beauty facilities, dining and entertainment choices.

Less choice of cabin grades and balconies may be rare.

More intimacy, charm and friendliness.

Evening dining may be fixed with two pre-allocated sittings in one main dining room.

Possibly better food and service. (Service can also be more personal).

Can often dock nearer cities. Tendering is always an option.

Easier for those with mobility problems to navigate the ship.

A better connection with the sea.

Are often aimed at more mature passengers – some are child free.

Less gimmicks.

Carry less passengers (but may not actually be more spacious.)

Smaller cabins, less balconies on offer. (If there any at all).

Some cabins on older ships, on the lowest couple of decks (aft) can suffer from noise and engine vibration.