If you hate crowds and don't like strangers constantly brushing up against of you, you may have dismissed a cruise vacation out of hand. After all, those cruise ships jam hundreds--or thousands if you're going with the big mainstream lines--of folks on board.
Doesn't sound very peaceful and tranquil, does it?
Well, there are certainly times when the ship is going to feel crowded, but experienced cruisers tell me they've always been able to find little nooks to get away from the crowds and just enjoy a book or do some writing.
Many cruise ships--especially the big ones--are actually designed specifically so they won't feel crowded, even with all those numbers on board.
If you want to get an idea of how crowded a ship will feel (and you like math), you can divide its tonnage by its total passenger capacity. This gives you passenger-space ratio (and a number with which you can impress friends and family members with your cruise-trip-planning knowledge).
Or, you could just book a cruise aboard a small ship.
These lines rarely have more than 100 passengers on board. Of course, you won't find as many diversions, but all those shows and activities can add to the lots-of-people-in-one-spot busyness factor, so you probably won't miss them if you're an anti-crowd person.