Is Bigger Really Better?

With the upcoming launch of Royal Caribbean’s mega-liner, Oasis of the Seas, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about size lately. The new ship will be the largest cruise ship in the world, holding over 5,000 passengers and touting features such as a real park with trees and grass, a carousel and even a tethered blimp. That’s in addition to all the RCI standards, such as a rock climbing wall, the surf rider and scads of restaurants and lounges. Putting it in perspective, the ship is larger than an aircraft carrier.

So, I’m just wondering, when will it all stop? The competition for the largest ship, that is. You just know that another line is going to have to top RCI and build a bigger one. It seems to be an ongoing competition. And then you have these behemoth ships pulling into quaint islands and isolated ports, and it just changes the character of the place. I mean it’s not exactly a sleepy little village any more when 5,000 plus visitors hit the streets — all at the same time.

How can you really enjoy that experience?

And then I think back on my cruises, and I think I’ve had my best experience on smaller ships. Not only were the ships less crowded, but the service was better. And the dining experiences were excellent, compared to the banquet type dining on the larger ships.

And when the ships are less crowded, that means it’s easier to wheel around the ship, and you don’t have to wait for an elevator. Now of course you should still make sure the ship has an accessible cabin that meets your needs; but to be honest most of the ships built in the last five years fill the bill in that respect. Of course when you get to the tiny ships, that’s another story.

I guess I prefer mid-sized ships, like Holland America’s Westerdam. It has everything I need, and it’s staffed by a crew that offers excellent customer service.

I mean, come on, do you really need a tethered blimp? Personally I think we should start downsizing ships. Instead of just concentrating on size, let’s focus on the quality of the experience.

IMHO, bigger isn’t always better. At least when you’re talking about ships!