The future of cruising is bigger ships.
The smallest ship today that can make a profit carries over 2,000 passengers.
The cruise lines have done this to ourselves. We have nobody else to blame.
Micky Arison and a few other geniuses decided to adopt the Walmart business model.
Now we all sell cruises at a loss to get bodies onboard, then try to get every nickel out of your pockets in order to make a profit from onboard spending.
This concept works on bigger ships, with higher numbers of passengers and higher numbers of first time cruisers.
The first timers are the only ones left who spend any money once they get onboard. So they are the only source of profit for us.
Who prefers smaller older ships? All the older repeat passengers who stopped spending money on ships many years ago. Most are on fixed incomes; most purchased their last cruise ship photo about 40 years ago when they looked much younger. A few of them still gamble $10 worth of pennies in the slots once every cruise. None of them goes on excursions anymore. No trips to the spa. They buy one refrigerator magnet from the shop for the grandkid. They will have a drink only if they smuggle it onboard, or if it's free at the Captain's welcome party. Under conditions like this, the smaller ships are doomed.
There are currently around 245 cruise ships around the world. About 25 of them are small ships. None of those small ships is making a profit; most of them are for sale - but nobody wants to buy them. They cannot make a profit. Aside from the new Viking small ship (and possibly a new Seabourn ship) all the remaining small ships are quite old and falling apart. Their owners do not want to sink more money into a loser that can only be sold at a loss.
If you like small ships, get in as many cruises on them as you can right now. Most of them will not be around much longer.