I like them both, it depends on what you are looking for, example Voyager class ships cater to families, there is alot going on at all times. Smaller ship a more intimate experience, less people, great service, less crowded feeling. What ship are you going on?
I prefer the larger ships. Some people say the smaller ships are more intimate, however I've found that the larger ships are designed to give you this experience due to the ship design and the many small venues they have. On the Navigator and Adventure I've found many quiet spots. They also can offer more variety in the types of venues due ot the size. The smaller ships I feel aren't designed as well, and consequently, feel a little more crowded to me. Granted, the smallest I've cruised on has been 42K tons, with the largest being 142K tons. I find where small ships excel is in the itineraries. They can get into some of the smaller locations that are offlimits to larger ships, for example, this is the first year that Voyager class ships have been allowed in Bermuda. So I choose small ships for the more "exotic" itinerary.
ambience....since you indicated this is your first cruise, IMHO you have selected a good "first cruise ship" Explorer of the Seas, because it will give you a good introduction to a "large" ship and the cruising experience and I urge you to try everything onboard so you will develop a taste of what you like and don't like about cruising
then I suggest you try a mid (1800 psgr) to smaller ship to experience the difference..less people, less crowded feeling, not as fast paste etc. but also fewer activities etc.
I am a big fan of the mid size (1800) cruise experience
The "smaller ships" are "real ships" the giants are like floating hotels and lack the movement of the sea. If I want a hotel, I'll check into one on land.
I want to feel the motion of the ocean.
I don't want to fight for a deck chair with 3000 other passengers or wait in long lines to do anything.
See you on a "smaller ship" ...if thats your thing.
really Venice...I have been on both Radiance and Majesty and I felt Majesty to be a more intimate ship...maybe because the Radiance might have been more filled to capacity than the Majesty when we sailded her...
It's really a fallacy that a large ship has a smoother ride. All "modern" ship have stabilizers, so the ride is generally smooth. In rough seas they all also move around some.
Some of the "mega" ships are designed a bit top heavy, and actually have a less smooth ride.
The "larger" ships can offer more amenities because of space, but you can meet someone on a mega ship, and end up never seeing them again on a 7 day cruise.
On the "smaller" ships you'll likely see and run into people often, and with less passengers you may actually find it easier to meet people.
Radiance is the best class for us--very modern with nice amenities but still not too many people to enjoy the ship & the ports... we will be trying Enchantment again--this time post -strectch so I am sure we willl love that too. Not interested in Voyager class or Freedom--just too big & impersonal
I was on Sovereign when she was "large". We were on Voyager in March...she IS large. We docked beside Majesty (Sovereign's sister) on our Voyager cruise...amazing the difference in size. Might try a Radiance class ship next time. It 's size is in between the other two.
We were on the Vision class, Radiance class and Voyager class and they are all wonderful. Enjoy your retirement. We are retired also and cruising is the way to vacation. The larger ships do have so much to offer. The only problem? The days go by to fast while on the cruise.
I really prefer the mid size ships, ie the Century and Norwegian Dawn. I have been on the Explorer and it is a beautiful ship we had a great time. People that retire as early as you are usually cops. My husband retired at 47. Are you a cop?
Horizon 1990, 1992, 1999
Crown Dynasty 2000
Century 1996, 2001
Explorer of Sea 2003
Norwegian Dawn 2004,2005
Voyager of the Sea 05/05
Celebrity Zenith 1/23/06
Celebrity Century 11/13/06
Norwegian Dawn DD cruise 10/14/06
Celebrity Constellation TA 9/15/07
Norwegian Dawn 10/25-26 Nowhere