Originally Posted by Paul Motter
I have been on all you mentioned, and I would say the enrichment programs are first class on Cunard and Crystal - and Cunard is not a small ship cruise line - QM2 is in the top 5 classes in size. Crystal has the best enrichment of all the lux lines in my opinion.
Windstar and Azamara feature port-a-day ityineraries, so they don't need that much enrichment, and they really don't have that much. Clipper has almost no enrichment program at all except the Captains "story-hour" in the mornings.
Princess and Holland America's newer ships have more enrichment, but they also are not smaller ships (their older ships are). But my is that too many "quiet days at sea" only goes so far anymore. I think the lux lines are struggling to fill the more empty (in terms of port visits) itineraries these days, because the experience is frankly too quiet & repetitious.
Paul, good post. My next cruise on Seven Seas Mariner has seven sea days. Although I never have a problem staying busy, I will look around to see if folks appear bored. I know Regent tries to cut down sea days even on long voyages such as our cruise from Sydney to Beijing last year. The Captain specifically mentioned that minimizing sea days is a priority of the company. They did pretty good with having just a handful of sea days in 25 day cruise.
Still, I wouldn't write off small ships as not being event-full; just less of the events center around open decks.