These 140,000 plus ton ships are interesting but they do tend to create floating islands..where once you had Bermuda, Bahamas, Cuba and Aruba, now you have Carnivor, Norwegian and HAL.
The meals are all runnning together and the quality of almost all of them do not even match an average bridal dinner or political fund raiser. Docking at a port has become a form of population realignment.
Add to that the BORING appearance of almost ALL ships...(Gee, why don't we all paint them WHITE!!!!!!!!)
I understand the need for economy of scale (size), I understand marketing to the lowest common denominator (hint, this is the idiot that stiffs the service people on their tips claiming that they only tip for EXTRAORDINARY service), I understand cost control. But that is no excuse for a marketing deparrtment and an operations department that lack imagination, creativity and a sense of fun!
PS..mid 50's.....40+ cruises....and I am usually the last one awake at night and the first one up in the morning......I DOOOOO love cruisin"...so I am not some brain dead old fart living in the past!
There is something out there for just about every taste , and what's wrong with that?
If the current mega ships are not your taste, you have options. Seabourne , Radisson Crystal , the smaller ships of Celebrity, Windstar, and Oceana are viable options just to name a few.
When I went out to dinner two weeks ago I was taken to a local "Chi Chi" place. The tab for four with no wine and minimal drinks was about $400. The service was pretentious and unattentive and the food was OK. Yet, people were lined up out to the parking lot to eat there. Why?, This fit their tastes. Last Saturday night we ate at the local Diner/restaurant . The food was great, the service superb and the meal for two cost $25.
What am I saying? There are choices and tastes. You sound as if you know cruising, so the choice to fit your tastes shouldn't be difficult. On the otherhand, there are about 150,00 people a week that like those floating islands. That's why the cruise lines are catering to that market.
You and I might not like arriving in St Thomas, St Martin ,Cozumel or Grand Cayman to find out that we are on one of 9 ships in port that day. But some people want that "action" . Some folks think Coney Island with 500,000 people on it on a hot day is a great time at the beach. Something for everyone.
I think the above goes for ship size, destinations, food, service activities , entertainment and the like. With people paying $60 a day for a cruise you have to wonder why food is even as good as a wedding or political dinner. All in all I personally believe cruising , even today , to be an economical way to enjoy a vacation experince. Make your choice and choose your cruise. Even the mega ships have their fans.
It's not how big the your ship is; it's where you go with it. <G>
I may dwell on the land, but I live at sea!
Sensation 2/03 I disembarked, but never really left the ship.
Enchantment 9/03 Just had to go back.
Inspiration 3/04 Just have to go back again, and again, and again...
Sensation 04/05 The vessel made me do it!
PapaBill. I agree with every word you said. Every one!
My point is that the mainstream product is getting very predicatable..Now that is not bad becuase the expectation levels are very clear, but today's marketing has become staid and boring..I think dull might apply.
You are correct. Too large a percentage of mega-ships that are all pretty much the same. Some higher priced alternatives have already been mentioned above. In addition, some more affordable alternatives include Oceania and HAL's Princendam.
Even among the big ships, there are differences in passenger to space ratios, which are somewhat accurate tools to predict how crowded a ship will be. You want the highest ratio you can find.
Love the mega ships (RCL) when I want the glitz and want to have fun with old friends and new ones. (Three weeks and counting to the Explorer of the Seas Eastern Carib).
Then give me a smaller laid-back ship (Celebrity) when I just want to relax with a book in a remote part of the ship.
All in all, I agree with the seasoned cruisers, it's the best deal around. I've had better food on cruise ships than I've had at some 5-star Miami restaurants. Nothing worse than spending $100 per person at a restaurant and walk out disappointed.
Give me a great cruise, a comfortable chair, drink in hand and watch the beautiful oceans pass me by.
Large, small, LOVE em all!! Variety is the spice of life!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.“
I will through my two cents in for what it is worth (about 1 cent with inflation!). I sort of like going into port and seeing all the other ships come in. It seems so awe-inspiring to me. The magesty of the ships (I do agree on the boxy build of the new ones and the white paint...actually Disney once again is superior in aestics, haven't cruised Disney though) is staggering to me. It boggles my mind, the logistics of it all.
I do think the ship size is being driven by the mass market appeal of this form of vacationing. Smaller ships mean more dock space in port what already seem bursting over with cruise ships.
One thing you have to give the line is that although the outsides seem boxy and plain, the inside of the new ships is beautiful. I sailed the Glory last fall and was blown away by the art.
Keep the comment coming, I will return
Royale 5/85; Oceanic 7/85, 5/86, 5/89
Veracruz 7/88; Fantasy 7/97;
Tropicale 6/98; Sov. Seas 6/99;
Sensation 5/03, 5/04; Glory 9/03,Triumph 9/04; Pride 3/05
On May 6 celebrated the big 50 on the Explorer of the Seas.
Just two years ago, I went on the Explorer for my first cruise and raved about it.
But after just getting off the Explorer of the Seas (second time) and in the past two I have been on the Brilliance, Horizon and Summit, I have to admit I prefer the smaller ships.
I even prefer Celebrity over RCL.
Has my thinking changed in just two years. Maybe turning 50 has something to do with it.
2008 Liberty OTS (Caribbean)
2007 Summit (Alaska)
2006 Century, Infinity (Panama Canal), Summit (Hawaii)
2005 Millenium, Voyager of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas B2B
2004 Explorer of the Seas, Constellation (Canada/New England)
2003 Horizon (Bermuda), Summit
2002 Explorer of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas (Caribbean)
I enjoy the new larger ships just as much as the older smaller ships. I just enjoy cruising, period. My only comment other than what has already been expressed concerns the food. I'm not willing to eat out at nice restaurants every day and I'm not that crazy about my own cooking day-in and day-out. So I find the hotel banquet food, which is what is served on cruiseships, quite enjoyable. As a matter of fact, I think it's great. It's one of the highlights of my cruising experience. I'm not going to try to leave you with the impression that I live like one of the rich and famous and that I think the cruiseship food is just so-so. It's a banquet to me.
Of course, different cruisers have different tastes and requirements relative to ship size and features. And, there are those cruisers that like the variety of taking a small ship at times and a big ship at other times gives.
Objectively, the only thing I find undesirable about the bigger ships is that cruise ships (no matter how big and no matter how many guests they carry) always seem to have just ONE entrance/exit point. I've seen to many big ships in port with LOOOOOOONG entrance/exit lines for me to have any interest in taking one. I just don't want to pay what one of these cruises cost to have to stand in line!
It's funny. We sailed on the Millennium in her maiden year (2000) and couldn't get over how big she was. Now the Millennium is categorized as one of the smaller ships.
Ships like the Millennium and the Brilliance are about as big as I'd care to sail on. Although, as I've always said, for the right itinerary, the right timing and the right price I'd certainly try anything, including 140 tons. But at that size I've got to believe that some of the special feeling of cruising has to be lost in the sheer size of everything.
And, for the record, the QMII holds very little appeal for me. She's not particularly attractive, and doesn't seem to offer very good value for money. But again, for the right itinerary, the right timing and the right price. . .
These Mega ships are just to big and carry just too many fellow passengers. I understand some fellow cruisers like them, but ships are getting too big. When i go to the beach I pick a nice location, but I don't want to be over run with wall to wall people. I wish some of the cruise lines would reconsider this big ship thing. I'd be willing to pay "extra" for more space and less passengers. (not Crystal prices though).
I agree that the mega ships do seem to have too many passengers. I personally prefer the ships that are just below that size and carry around 2000 to 2400 passengers. But as far as being over run on the beach, I'm afraid I can't agree if it's the fairer sex and they're of the bikini set. The more, the merrier!
Big or small - just think how lucky most of us are to be able to take a cruise. Until recently cruising on any ship was for the very wealthy. I have been on small, medium and large, and I have enjoyed them all!