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Cruise Questions. Big or small?

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Welcome to the message boards @ehanpaul8!

I wouldn't get too hung up on size. Rather, look at what each ship offers and pick the right one for you.

Here's a few things to consider to pick the best ship for you: https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/best-royal-caribbean-cruise-ship

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Will add to what @USFFrank and @Matt linked to. If there is a certain port or ports that you definitely want to visit, that might automatically limit your choice of ship. For example, the southern Caribbean ports of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao are typically visited by just a few ships in the Freedom, Navigator, and / or Radiance class.

If the specific destinations matter more to you, best to start there and see what your ship options are.

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I personally wouldn't want to cruise less than 7 nights.  When looking at all the activities the ships have to offer just remember that you will not be able to do everything on the ship.  Our first cruise I planned and planned to squeeze as much in as possible.  By day 3 we were exhausted and just started going with the flow.  We did my time dining and just decided where we wanted to eat and when on the fly.  If you try to do too much you'll need a vacation from your vacation.


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I agree with longer is always better! For my first cruise, we went on a 3-night because I was worried about whether I would enjoy cruising.  They literally had to pry my hands from the hull as I was disembarking because I didn't want to leave! 🙂  There are different aspects to larger vs smaller - and as the others have posted - that article is a great place to get you started thinking about what's important to you and how you like to vacation.

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Frequent posters can skip what I have written ... it is taken from earlier thoughts I have already expressed.  For the original poster:

"One of the reasons my soulmate & I cruise so often on Royal Caribbean, is the wide variety of experiences on board their ships.  I am certain that there are other cruise lines that offer the same variety.  Still, one tends to stick with the known versus the unknown.  Below are different ways to approach cruising: 

1).  The Ship is the Destination:  How can anyone disagree that the ships are so special that passengers want to maximize their time on the ship?  The large ships offer so much that visiting no ports would probably be fine for some.  On our last trip, Harmony of the Seas was so busy there was little time for afternoon naps (we think this is necessary if you dance all night).  Even their medium sized ships are packed with on board options.  So many ships (Oasis, Quantum, Freedom Classes) have so many things to do; we frequently are stuck trying to determine what we will not do (because there is more than one event at the same time).

2).  Travel is the Main Goal:  We have spent a lot of time in Europe with self-directed land vacations.  It is a different experience and has its advantages.  One thing that is an absolute pain is packing, unpacking and travel between destinations.  When we are in “Travel Mode” it is such a treat to unpack and pack once and wake up with a new experience almost every day.  These are not necessarily restful vacations, but they are stimulating and are normally filled with many special memories.  Although these can be had on the large ships, we find that small and medium ships are better to meet this objective.  

3). Stay Connected to the Sea:  After all, this is a cruise ship.  Some ships have a strong and obvious connection with the sea.  Everywhere you go you can see the sea.  When we travel, it is never so obvious than when we are on the water … we are not in our home, we are venturing out, we are exploring.  Small and medium sized ships maintain this connection easily.  The larger ships get the more difficult it is.  We have been on Grandeur three times in the last 2 years.  Lady G does not have all the “bells & whistles”, but she has sea views everywhere.  In support of Goal 2), she taken us to many places we have never been before. She also has been the catalyst, for our main reason for cruising …

4).  Make Your Own Fun:  We did not start with this strategy, but it is becoming our primary one.  Sometimes, day to day routines can foster a complacency that turns into a “rut”.  Travel is one way to shake this up, but we think the concept is a little simpler.  By using new experiences (ship or port or sea), we “connect” better on cruise ships.  Relationship building is about shared experiences, and we find that we converse more, laugh more, dance more (and drink more too) on the ship.  As much as possible we try to travel with friends.  The more friends, the more opportunities to build deeper relationships.  It does not matter if the ship is big or small, if the number of days are few or many, or if we are in port or at sea … we make our own fun.

For 1) … we enjoy: Allure, Harmony & Anthem.

For 2) … we enjoy: Radiance, Grandeur, Adventure, Explorer & Anthem.

For 3) … we enjoy: Grandeur, Radiance & Anthem.

For 4) … we enjoy: All the above.

Regardless of how you cruise … Have a Blast.

I hope this helps …"

Curt from Canada

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