Small or Large Cruise Ship

Couple on deck watching the sunset

When choosing a cruise vacation, it can be easy to get carried away by the destinations and exciting ports of call. Often, it can be easy to forget about the cruise ship and what it offers. When it comes to booking your world cruise, the size of the ship should be considered along with where you want it to go. Depending on your lifestyle and other people you may be traveling with, you might be better suited for one type of ship over another. Doing your research ahead of time can help you make sure your vacation is everything you had hoped for.

Cruise type

Cruise vacations offer a range of options from expedition-style journeys to far-off destinations to classic voyages that visit the world's greatest cities. Traveling by cruise ship offers a wealth of things to do to suit all tastes, abilities and inclinations.

However, the size of the cruise ship does matter. There are benefits to both large and small ships, therefore, it's imperative for prospective cruisers to define what's important to them. Do you want a vessel small enough to call at remote ports or one large enough so there's a never-ending list of organized activities? Do you prefer to wear formal clothes or casual ensembles?

Also, keep in mind the kind of facilities you want on your cruise. After all, the amenities of the ship are an essential part of the cruise experience. What matters to you most: a state-of-the-art spa and gym, a lively casino, multiple dining venues, Vegas-style entertainment, children's programs - or all the above?

Small ship

There is something to be said about the more personal and intimate aspects of small ship sailing. Anyone who cruises knows the potential for crowds in ports when numerous large ships have tied up to the pier on the same day. When docking in port, small vessels are often able to moor at the center of town allowing more accessible sightseeing without the big ship crowds. Additionally, getting on and off the ship is much easier, so there are fewer lines and more time to spend in port.

Smaller ships have an advantage over bigger ships in that they can visit remote destinations and undiscovered areas. With their smaller size, these ships can visit more exotic ports, traverse rivers and call at tiny islands off limits to larger cruise ships. This might be of interest to you if you're taking a South America cruise and want to see remote towns or a Europe cruise to visit small islands.

An important factor in choosing a ship is the other passengers. At the end of a trip on a ship with thousands of passengers, you will still be seeing many people for the first time, whereas small ship cruises have a small town atmosphere. Here, you're more likely to socialize and see familiar faces.

That being said, there are some issues to consider with small ships. The number of dining areas is limited and seating options could vary from open to assigned tables. Nightlife tends to be less vibrant and that could pose an issue for those who prefer a robust entertainment selection. Some expedition vessels don't have elevators, which may be a problem for older or mobility-challenged guests. Additionally, for those traveling alone, small cruises rarely offer dedicated singles events like the big ships do.

Big ship

When it comes to booking a cruise vacation, it's easy to think bigger is better. Indeed, the majority of new ships are getting bigger and bigger each year with many carrying over 3,000 passengers. The aforementioned figure can be hard to comprehend. With so many passengers, how will the onboard service be? Regardless of size, cruise lines do a very good job taking care of their guests. It's also worth noting that the bigger the ship, the more facilities and capabilities will be available to absorb those massive numbers.

If you're looking for premium restaurants and extensive facilities with large spas, gyms, organized activities, casinos and glitzy shows, bigger cruise ships tend to offer more round-the-clock entertainment choices.

If you have young children, booking cruise vacations on larger ships may be more likely to keep the kids entertained since these vessels tend to have more to offer, including children's clubs. There is typically child entertainment on hand, as well as babysitting facilities.

Cruise vacations are traditionally popular with older travelers since facilities are accessible and easy to get around. With on-board facilities and entertainment, elevators from deck-to-deck and organized activities, world cruise vacations are the perfect option.

Big or small, there is a ship out there that will fit your idea of the perfect cruise vacation. All it takes is a little detective work to end up on your dream boat. Learn more about Princess ships.