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FManke

Small Ship- Underrated Benefits

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Having only cruised on the smaller ships in the RCCL fleet, what am I taking for granted? 

What are some of the underrated benefits of smaller ships? 

From booking our next cruise to Greece in 2020, one benefit I noticed, would be the smaller ships can cruise to some destinations that the larger ships can't because of their size.

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More intimate experience.  Smaller ships often yield a better service experience with the crew.  

Embarking and debarking can be easier.  

Easy to navigate.  After sailing mega ships for a number of cruises I was on Vision and was "What am I doing taking the elevator?".   It's easy and quick to make it from aft to forward.  

Smaller ships can visit ports that some big ships can't.

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1 hour ago, FManke said:

Having only cruised on the smaller ships in the RCCL fleet, what am I taking for granted? 

What are some of the underrated benefits of smaller ships? 

From booking our next cruise to Greece in 2020, one benefit I noticed, would be the smaller ships can cruise to some destinations that the larger ships can't because of their size.

What are some of the underrated benefits of smaller ships? 

To me, the biggest benefit (granted this is coming from a senior citizen) is less traffic, fewer lines, less obnoxious noise....less of everything which invites the chance of a more pleasurable and relaxing cruise.

I'm going to ask the question, "What are some of the overrated benefits of larger ships?" This is something that has mystified me. You read comments about the newest and largest ships in the fleet like they are the most desirable. Not to ME! Same with flying. I remember when a plane load of 100 people was huge! Why is 300 better? (I'm talking about for the passengers, not the money grubbing airlines).

In some situations, bigger is not better.....and I think pleasure cruising is one of them. I admit I will be in the minority, so be it. Sorry I got a little off track. Too many Clint Eastwood movies I think.

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The only small ship we've sailed I guess is the smallest in the fleet, Majesty of the Seas (our others were Explorer, Liberty and Allure). As you mentioned, smaller ships have access to ports that cannot accommodate the larger vessels (both home base and destination). Generally, a much more laid back and intimate experience for those not looking for a ton of activity and entertainment onboard. Ironically, due to the tremendous size and design of Allure, we found that there were many more private areas to relax off the beaten path than on Majesty.

On a small ship, you can experience just about everything the vessel has to offer on that voyage... On a large ship, such as Oasis class, you have to be selective as you are not going to be able to experience everything in one voyage!

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I think you have a sense that you aren't wasting anything.  I got to know every single party if vision.  I loved allure too but there were entire parts of the ship we never went to.  I love the variety of itinerary the smaller ships can do (Cuba would have been awesome, sigh, and Greece will be amazing!).  I think you see your crew more often in different places and they recognize you more because there are fewer people.  I still think my favorite class is freedom but my next 3 cruises are on majesty, vision and radiance!  Jane

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For me, the Grandeur and sister ships as well as Radiance class ships all took my breath away because of the music in the centrum.  In the Oasis-class ships,  music sites are fragmented and I find myself hopping around to find something I like (and it takes so much time to go from point A to point B).  On the other hand, on a long cruise on a small ship, you might get tired of hearing the same musicians.  On the smaller ships, I found we had more ballroom dancing music and better (but shorter) nightly shows.  On our recent Harmony cruise, I found the audience reaction to the shows very mixed (in my age bracket).  Performances were deftly executed, but the story lines were incomprehensible.  I heard someone say the aqua show was an aerobics show instead,   Soooooo, there are pros and cons to all, but I recommend ships with the Promenade just for the sake of being able to recharge one's batteries or sit in peace with a hot drink in the early AM.  I think it's also nice to be able to walk out on deck 5 and really see the sea.  You really can't do that on Oasis-class ships because of the jogging path.  There are hidden quiet spots with lounge chairs, but it's just not the same thing.  The bottom line is that with half-decent weather, almost any cruise on any ship is a good thing with RC staff at your service.

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As others have stated the ports to me are the real bonus.  I would do Anthem for a transatlantic, but would not sail on her in Europe due to her size. 

We did a small ship for Italy/Greece and would do it again because we got to dock in ports (tender), such as Portofino, whereas a larger ship would not be able to stop there.  My SIL last yr did the Med sailing on a larger NCL ship and due to the size she had a lot more sailing days than docking.  Granted she went to the big areas like Venice, Dubrovnik, Mykonos, Sicily and Rome, but not small ones like Elba, Naples, and Portofino.  Due to that fact I think the size of the ship really does not matter since you are so exhausted from the day in port all you wanted to do at night was eat and relax.  

Plus, the staff really gets to know you personally, be it at the pool bar, interior bars or the dining room.  I recall 1 bartender knew by the 3rd day when I showed up after dinner I was going to order a cappuccino and amaretto side, he would see me coming and started to make it before I got to the bar to order it.  

Funny side story of that cruise was AARP purchased @50% of the ship.  My husband and I were in our late 20's when we did that cruise.  The passenger load was the size of Lady G.   By 10-11 at night it felt like we were the only ones on the ship, except in the casino, as if it was our own personal yacht!   

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The smaller ships have a lot more windows facing outward vs inward.  You get a more "traditional feel" when it comes to cruising.  Just check out the Schooner Bars on Radiance and Vision Class ships and you see, and feel, the difference immediately.

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1 hour ago, coneyraven said:

The smaller ships have a lot more windows facing outward vs inward.  You get a more "traditional feel" when it comes to cruising.  Just check out the Schooner Bars on Radiance and Vision Class ships and you see, and feel, the difference immediately.

@coneyravenThat's one of the things we loved about Serenade. On most of the decks, with all the glass, it really brought the outside in, so to speak. 

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2 hours ago, coneyraven said:

Just check out the Schooner Bars on Radiance and Vision Class ships and you see, and feel, the difference immediately.

If they could only bring this one element to the larger ships. One could say 270 is a close compromise, but it doesn't have the same daytime "loungeability".

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9 minutes ago, CGTLH said:

If they could only bring this one element to the larger ships. One could say 270 is a close compromise, but it doesn't have the same daytime "loungeability".

Thinking about it more, Viking Crown on Voyager and Freedom class ships does fit the bill some what. But it also seems to feel disconnected from the rest of the ship.

Only time I got the experience Viking Crown pre Suite Lounge was on Allure. That really felt disconnected from the rest of the ship and overall didn't seem all that inviting. In a way it felt more of an afterthought. As the Suite Lounge, it give the space more of a purpose.

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3 hours ago, coneyraven said:

The smaller ships have a lot more windows facing outward vs inward.  You get a more "traditional feel" when it comes to cruising.  Just check out the Schooner Bars on Radiance and Vision Class ships and you see, and feel, the difference immediately.

The schooner bar on vision had been the best bar I've been in.  We had a rainy icky day on my first cruise and I still remember it as one of my favorite moments... Sitting with a drink and a book looking out that huge window in the schooner bar! Jane

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8 hours ago, CGTLH said:

Viking Crown on Voyager and Freedom class ships does fit the bill some what

I *love* the Viking Crown on the smaller ships! It's always quiet during the day -- you can sit there when it's not open and just relax. Most of the evening it's less crowded that other venues, too.

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