Saturday, October 6, 2007

Large Resort Cruise Ships: Pros & Cons

We've talked about small and boutique cruise ships, and we've covered mid-size cruise ships. Now it's time to look at the big boys of the cruise scene: large resort ships.

If you're planning your dream cruise, might one of these large mainstream ships be for you?

If you like the big-city environment, you want lots of entertainment options, plenty of places to eat any time of the day or night, and you don't mind being social, then a big ship might be your best bet.

On the flip side, these ships lose a lot of the intimacy of the smaller ones, and their schedules tend to be highly programmed with less flexibility. Anyway, let's break it down further into pros and cons...

Passenger amount = 1,200 and up

Advantages of Large Resort Cruise Ships
  • They have the largest variety of public rooms and facilities, such as gyms and swimming pools.
  • They often feature wraparound promenade decks outdoors.
  • More space overall (but lots more people too) to explore.
  • They sail well in open seas and poor weather.
  • More dining options available close to or around the clock.
  • More programs and activities for children.
  • Newer ships feature state-of-the-art gadgets and technology (computers, wi-fi, etc.)
Disadvantages of Large Resort Cruise Ships
  • They've been likened to floating hotels or "retail parks surrounded by cabins."
  • Frequent ship-wide announcements, often in several languages.
  • Lots of lines to wait in for buffet meals, fast food grills, the information desk, elevators, tendering ashore, security checkpoints, immigration, and disembarkation.
  • You'll always feel like "one of the crowd" even if you pay for a big expensive suite.
  • Dining room staff are trained to get you in and out efficiently rather than let you linger.
  • Food can be bland and cafeteria-like.
  • Phoning for room service frequently means dealing with automatic telephone answering systems.
  • Signs aren't always clear, and sometimes it's hard to find what you're looking for.
As you can see, because large resort cruise ships are designed to be efficient and provide a decent (but rarely excellent) experience for everyone, they tend to lose the great service and special attention you can expect on smaller ships. However, if you don't mind the big-city feel, there is plenty to see and do on these ships.

Source: Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships

Back to "What Size Cruise Ship Is Right for You?"

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