At what point are cruise ships too big ?

Norwegians newest and largest, for now, the Escape, is coming out soon. It will have, among other things, a Bocce court. How nice.  We were sitting out on the Breakaway in August and I was saying, gee, what I really wish this ship had was a Bocce court. It has everything else.

Seriously, at what point will the industry self implode? Our first cruise over 20 years ago was on Carnivals Glory. At that time she was the largest in their fleet.  Now, she's not worthy of a shrimp cocktail.  

What has happened to service ? Food quality ? Lounge entertainment ? Amenities ?  At what point on our post cruise surveys did we ask for floating impersonal cities ?  I must have checked off 10 without reading the question.

We had to cancel our visit to the RV show because of our move. I see there is a small one coming up in January.

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11 Answers

Hopefully on our next cruise with NCL, we will discover if the Epic is "too big" or not. To date we have sailed on the Pearl and the Jade so we have have to see if we have gone too big

Personally, I prefer the bigger ships, in general.  Usually they have better entertainment and more activities.  That being said, they can not get into smaller ports.  We need different size ships depending on the itinerary.  I read many reviews of poor service and poor food on all sizes of ships even the boutique ones.  I try to keep an open mind when I board.  I would love to sail on all the mega ships.  My next cruise, though,  will be on a mid-sized ship.  My last cruise was on a steamboat holding 400 passengers.  I guess I'll sail n anything that floats.

This is hard for me to say. The largest ship we have been on is 3100'passengers. This was starting to push it for me. I will try one of the larger ships someday. I am just not in a hurry.

I think all of us old time cruisers are spoiled by service of 20 years ago.   To get that level of service and food we would now have to move to the boutique cruise lines.  Remember white glove service in the MDR? When your drink was refilled when it hit 1/2 full, enough servers that dinner did not take 2 hours with long periods between courses and by 2nd night they would have your drink waiting for you before you got to the table?

The cruise lines are doing everything possible to keep the prices low and the ships full.   Doing this has shown drops in service and food quality.  New cruisers do not have anything to compare it against.  Like somebody that has only cruised with one cruise line and is insistent that it is the best.   With out comparison how will you know.

The industry will keep growing as long as there is demand to fill the ships.  The industry is growing into new markets in Asia and Australia.  RCI has even sent some of the latest and greatest ships to home port in Asia. With people wanting the latest and greatest all the time the lines will have to keep growing and outdoing each other. Ships are getting to be like cell phones,  in a year it is old and obsolete,  but ships are to expensive to  toss out after a year.

I like the mega ships because they get all the families with kids and higher prices. I can then cruise in peace and quiet on an older midsize ship with lower cabin price and few kids. 

BAK,  I was just on the Glory last year,  she is still a nice ship and we had a great time on her other then the smoke from the Casino going into all the clubs on that deck of the ship.  Still got good service in the MDR and good food.

My bad. Our first cruise was on the Holiday. The Glory was about 3 years ago. I apologize for the brain fart.

I have always said that I was not a huge fan of the oh boy sized ships being more in favour or the ones that hold 2000 - 2500 passengers. They seem to have just the right mix of size to support the features and not too big to feel lost in the crowd. Interestingly I just came across this interesting article questioning the large ships http://elliott.org/blog/monster-cruise-ships-embrace-leaky-safety-strategy/

OldGrayWolf, thanks for the interesting article.

I believe that it is more a matter of the capacity of the line to provide good service than the size of the ship.

I had an experience on a bigger ship in Caribbean for a Christmas and New Year Cruise and it was fantastic. Good entertainment, excelent service and nice common areas to enjoy.

I went to a Medditerranean Cruise, in a smaller ship (same cruise line) and it was a disaster.  The destination was awsome, but the cruise itself was terrible.

Ships like the Veendam are great because they can dock right in a port like Hamilton, in Bermuda.  That was probably one of our best cruises.

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