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Paul Motter December 15th, 2009 06:27 PM

Are the new cruise ships too big?
Okay - they are officially here:

Oasis of the Seas


Carnival Dream

Norwegian Epic.

Are cruise ships finally actually getting too big? Have we lost the entire concept of cruising and has it become a virtual amusement park at sea/ Or are we on the right path, finally making cruising interesting enough to spend seven full days "trapped" on a cruise ship?

Mike M December 15th, 2009 07:01 PM

I have only sailed on Voyager class ship and while it was fun it didn't feel like I was truly at sea.

My opinion was that I would avoid the larger ships after that unless the itinerary was one that really interested me or there was a group cruise and I was cruising more for the people rather than the ship or ports.

I do have to say that if I was doing a family cruise with grandkids a Voyager class ship would be on the short list. There are many activities for kids and I would imagine that this would carry over to Freedom and Oasis class ships.

Take care,

Paul Motter December 15th, 2009 07:20 PM

MIke, as much as i enjoyed Oasis and think it is "Wow," I have to actually admit that since I am not a family man or a caribbean cruiser, it would not be my first choice either.

However, I am an experienced cruiser who has seen the Caribbean - and Hairspray, and Blue Man Group (several times).

That being said, I like an active ship. I just prefer a ship that focusses more on ports of call rather than onboard fun.

But for a family reunion - yes, I would recommend these ships in a nano-second. Also as a "try it once and see."

lulu48 December 15th, 2009 07:31 PM

anything over 65,000 GRT is too big for me;)
we prefer the small Oceania ships but may be interested in the new Marina.
Time will tell
We prefer more port intensive cruises & do not need to be constantly entertained onboard.
We like the open dining & you get to met people again & again on the ship
But I am sure lots of people will make the ship their holiday destination instead of the ports of call

nlb1050 December 15th, 2009 08:03 PM

The Oasis is definitely more of a floating amusement park to me than a Cruise Ship. I do not need all the extra resturants ( the buffet and main dining room are fine with me) I do not need a carosale (sp), the flow rider, a zip line, rock wall or any of that type of thing.

As for the NCL Epic, I really do not like the way the rooms are set up with toilet in one room, shower in another and the sink in the main room, plus the one cruise we did take with NCL the food was not very good unless you went to on of the speciality resturants and we did not pay for any and from what we heard the only really good food was in extra pay, I have already paind for the food in my cruise fare why should I have to pay more to have good food.

As for having the Blue Man group on the Epic to me it is watering down the specialness of them, they are in Vegas, they are in Orlando and now to be at sea? I don't go on a cruise to see a Broadway musical, I go on a cruise to go to other places!

Count me out of these HUGH ships.

Paul Motter December 15th, 2009 08:10 PM


I can't find any fault with your reasoning. I have to say I LOVE Blue Man Group (have seen them 4 times), and I have also seen the water shows (Eau or "O" and "La Reve" at the Wynn in Vegas) that the Oasis shows are based on.

I normally would NOT take a cruise for entertainment - but by the same token, I don't go to Las Vegas for entertainment either, but in Vegas you have to pay for it! On a cruise ship its "free*" (included in the cruise fare).

If I were in Vegas and the shows were free I would certainly go. I have paid $100 for Cirque shows in Vegas, I have paid $100 for tx to Hairspray (the roadshow) here in Phoenix and the venue was awful. It is excellent on Oasis.

I think if you saw the shows on Oasis you would think a little differently, like "finally they are getting the entertainment on cruise ships right."

But the other things you mention; flo-rider, rock climbing, ziplines, eyc, I dont need those either, but I can watch people do them. I don't need to do a lot of things, but I can enjoy them.

I'm just wondering what cruise lines you prefer, nancy?

nlb1050 December 15th, 2009 09:14 PM

Paul, our favorite line is Princess, but have not been on a Princess ship in a while because of being able to go where we want for less on other lines. By far we enjoyed the entertainment on Princess the best and LOVED the food. Princess has had the best comediens, muscians and magicians on board. One of the best is a couple named "Live Wire" they are from Ireland and are very good, I would pay to see them on land.

We have enjoyed our cruises with Carnival and I have to say a lot of that has to do with the big screen at the pool, we spend a lot of the evenings watching the movie or concert there instead of being in the theater or a lounge. We do not go to the casino and only I have a drink or two during the cruise.

I realise that you don't have to pay for any of the shows like the Blue Man group and I do think that is one reason I would rather see them in Vegas or Orlando, because they have to be sure they are good or the people will not come to see them and that means no money coming in. Of course on the ship the Blue Man group will have to be good too or no contract. Most of the theaters on the ships we have been on have not really been that great to me, but on the Oasis with the cost of building the ship and with the cost to cruise on it I would hope the venues for the shows would be great.

Paul Motter December 16th, 2009 12:29 AM

So far I have to say the main theater and the production of Hairspray was just excellent on Oasis - as good as any NY theater. I also think the ice shows are as good as almost any you will see on land (the theater is a bit smaller, but the shows still are impressive).

The Oasis AquaTheater probably won't be getting any rave reviews for awhile, from what I have heard. technical problems from underestimating the amount of tech and rehearsal preparation time needed means most of the shows have not been worked out to a proper satisfaction.

katlady December 16th, 2009 09:39 AM

I like the bigger ships and I would cruise on them. :DHowever, they worry me also. :confused:The economy is down so what impact will it have on the cruise industry to have ships this big? Will Royal end up with half full huge ships? or will the other cruiselines sailing the same ports take the hit? Supply is up, but demand is down. It just seems like a mistake to over flood the market with this big ships. This could result in the smaller ships being retired so there is no choice to the cruiser it's a big ship or nothing.

Ine December 16th, 2009 12:02 PM

We have sailed various ships, but the size like Eurodam (HAL), Summit (Celebrity) are the largest we are willing to sail.
We prefer shipssizes like Ryndam, Statendam and Century.
Too many people on the larger ships, endless walking from front to back, massive disembarkation in ports etc.
We donot care that much about the extras for entertainment.

nlb1050 December 16th, 2009 12:14 PM

katlady, you are probably correct about sailing half full. Right now you can book a cabin of just about any size for next weeks dailing of the Oasis. the prices for it are just way too high for many right now.

Paul Motter December 16th, 2009 02:10 PM

I got a newsletter from a reporter on this cruise of Oasis, and word is that there are 5000 passengers onboard the Dec 12 sailing of Oasis, so that is actually a very good sign that the numbers are picking up.

Keep in mind this is the slowest few weeks of the entire year when it comes to cruising. After Christmas when wave-season hits, and when a few small glitches get worked out, I am sure Oasis will be selling quite well.

The thing about Oasis is that you have to see it to believe it, otherwise you just can't envision what an awesome (forgive the overused adjective) ship she is. There are just things about the ship where you have to say "Wow" even if it isn't your kind of ship.

nlb1050 December 16th, 2009 02:21 PM

Paul, I definitely can understand how big the Oasis is. Last month we were driving to Miami in the early morning hours of Nov.19th on I-95 and normally you can not see any ships at Port Everglades or at least not be able to tell what ship you are seeing but boy could you ever see the Oasis. You could easily make out the RC symbol all lite up and the whole aft section was lite up as well. Definitely a sight you won't forget.

Dave Beers December 16th, 2009 03:19 PM

I don't think the new ships are too big, but I do think we've seen the upper limit and they won't get bigger than the Oasis class.

I will return to either the Oasis or the Allure when I can do the full 7 nights with my wife and son. Beyond that, who knows? I want them to experience it. One thing I do want to say is I did feel I was on a ship at sea. I felt the ship's movement in my cabin. I could see the ocean from my window. At night it was serene to sit in Central Park and look upward into the sky. You could tell you were moving and hear the exhaust rumble. I agree with other comments that groups and families should really look at the Oasis or Allure. They would offer an almost perfect choice which has something to satisfy everyone. The big holdback is obviously the high prices. They would kill the average budget for a family get-together cruise.

We've done the Caribbean to death and the ship becomes more of a factor there. None of the ports hold much interest for us anymore. I could easily stay aboard Oasis for the entire 7 days. I just don't think I would want to do it more than a couple times.

Although I think the Norwegian Epic is externally the most homely ship I've ever seen, I am very interested in the entertainment on it and can honestly say it is a cruise I will take because of the ship's shows and music. But once again, it will probably be a one-time cruise, never to return.

I can't say anything about the Carnival Dream. It seems like just an evolution of the Conquest style ships, and I've received some initial reports that the passenger density is high. In other words, it is at the bottom of my list of new ships to try.

I totally love the Solstice class!

Mean Dean December 16th, 2009 03:37 PM

What I don't get is, why even bother sailing the ship?

Since the ship is the destination, why not just remove its propulsion equipment, and permanently dock the hulk? I doubt anyone onboard would notice the difference.

As an added benefit, the cruise line would save on fuel costs, contribute less to climate change, and could promote itself as a "greener" cruise line than the others. A winning strategy all around.

Paul Motter December 16th, 2009 03:38 PM

Dave ....

Very astute, Solstice and Queen Mary 2 are two big ships that use size fpr grandeur, not just to pack in more cruisers. That makes them both very classy.

But on this:

"I don't think the new ships are too big, but I do think we've seen the upper limit and they won't get bigger than the Oasis class."

I would bet you $100 that by 2020 we have ships over 300,000 tons (unless the word economy collapses, and if that happens then we will remember the golden age of Oasis-class ships the same way we tour Newport RI mansions).

Fain said it best, though. If you recall, when Voyager was introduced everyone said "ships will never get bigger" and there were only three ports in the world bug enough for Voyager. Now we have 5 Voyager Classes and 3 Freedom classes (a 2 Oasis-classes). In other words, everything that was being said back then is now meaningless blather.

Oasis proved that a ship can grow by 40% and be just as maneauverable and that it even offers cost advantages. There is nothing stopping ships from growing even bigger.

Also - I like Epic's funky look. Oasis has the same thing - it is just more midships instead of up front.

Dave Beers December 16th, 2009 03:58 PM

I'll take the bet. Remember, the Oasis began being formulated in 2003...7 years ago. If RCI has another "bigger" idea floating among the braintrust they haven't tipped their hand yet. Granted, they didn't talk about Project Genesis until 2006, but at least at that time the buzz words at RCI headquarters were "game over" (Bill Wright's words on the Freedom inaugural cruise I was on).

But, I might be wrong given another aspect that I just remembered. Shipyards need to be building new ships simply to keep the skills of the craft and tribal knowledge of shipbuilding alive. They just can't walk away and then 5 years later decide to build a more innovative ship by hiring from the local trade schools. This is a problem that faces U.S. builders of war ships.

colorcrazie December 16th, 2009 04:09 PM

I know that those of us with mobility and/or health issues are in the minority, but they have created ships so huge that I can't enjoy myself. Just too hard, too painful getting around the ship. I had problems on the Carnival Glory. Can't even imagine going on these newer ones. If they were my only cruise choice, I would have to do land based vacations again.....aaargh, what a horrible thought!:(

Dave Beers December 16th, 2009 04:19 PM

I have back problems which can at times be limiting for me, and my wife has permanent impairments from an accident a few years ago. Thus I totally understand your concerns. One thing I was really looking at when on the Oasis was the ease of getting around. I was quite surprised. I found I could get anywhere on the ship both easily and quickly without much walking. They really did their homework on passenger flow. Most of the size difference has to do with it being wider and taller and not so much because it is longer. It is something that I can only give anecdotal commentary about. Obviously there are some guests who will feel it is a problem.

Paul Motter December 16th, 2009 04:41 PM

One of the biggest surprises on Oasis for me was that I never waited long for an elevator. Seems to me they are huge problems on most RCL megaships (do they only have four per bank?)

But on Oasis it seemed like they always showed up in very little time. I expected that to be the worst thing about Oasis.

Anyway - about ships getting bigger I have to warn you, I am very, very good about predicting things.

I will bet you Carnival announces a 200,000(+)-ton ship before 2020. I do not believe anyone who says "this is it." Once people look at Oasis as just another ship (in about three years) and ports around the world start thinking "we want 7500 shoppers dropping in on us once/week" you are going to see plenty more upscaling.

The only thing that scares me right now is that this is the worst economic downturn I have ever seen. If this debacle was not happening right now I think we would all be saying "Oasis is great." But there is a lot of just inherent pessimism in the world right now.

Dave Beers December 16th, 2009 05:44 PM

I do agree the Oasis and Allure will be "just other ships" by the time 2012 rings in. It didn't take long for the Freedom class to be clumped in as simply larger versions of the Voyager class (which is really all they are...made larger to accomodate the Flowrider and H2O zone). I already get the sense the media hype over Oasis is fading quickly, perhaps faster than RCI had hoped. Perhaps the danger a company treads by debuting a new ship right before Christmas. People are distracted.

The Oasis elevators were very efficient. I also liked how they took some of them and programmed them for express service for passengers returning to the ship from Labadee. That certainly helped keep crowding and wait times down as people returned to the ship. For those wondering what I am talking about, for the last couple of hours at Labadee the Oasis had some elevators that were programmed to only go from the gangway deck and up. Once they had gone to the highest deck selected by passengers they returned to the gangway deck to pick up more passengers. They even spoke to you if you tried to board on other decks "do not enter this elevator, it is on restricted access" (or something like that). Pretty cool.

Paul Motter December 16th, 2009 05:50 PM

That is correct on the elevators, and i personally think it speaks volumes on how well RCL planned people movement throughout the ship. There was a LOT of pre-debut discussion about how crowded the ship would be, etc. I said all along it depends on how well RCL decides ti coordinate things. Well they seem to have pre-planned a lot of great ideas like those pre-programmed elevators. I was also impressed.

hockeynut December 17th, 2009 12:37 AM

I've been on the Princess Grand class ships only and really like the size of these ships and always said I would be afraid to try anything bigger. When I first heard about the Oasis I wondered how the "crowds" would be. Are the buffets overcrowded? How about the shows and even the dining rooms? I'm sure they staff:passenger ratio is the same so hopefully staff don't become over burdened.

I know on the Princess ships sometimes things can get busy (popular shows, pools, buffet lines, elevators, etc...) but overall I never had an issue as things do move along quite well. I'm assuming with there being so much to do on the Oasis, that the crowds would be distributed fairly well and you might not even notice it.

All that being said, I think I would love to try it once just for that “wow” factor but don't think I would want to do it all the time.

katlady December 17th, 2009 10:05 AM

Oasis of the seas and Allure of the seas coming out within a year of each other seems like too much to me. It's the economy right now. I remeber NCL putting these 3 ships in Hawaii and it felt like over expansion in that market. Sure enough 2 of the ships were moved out of Hawaii.

RCL is flooding the Caribbean market. One of two things will happen RCL will move one ship either Oasis, Allure, Liberty and/or Freedom out of that market. Or it will squeeze out the other cruiselines and RCL will have a monopoly of the Caribbean market. I don't think the monopoly will happen, Carnival is to much of a value to be driven out. This will be interesting to watch.

I'm not against Oasis of the seas I would love to cruise on her. However, I'm looking at it from a business point of view. I think they should have released the Oasis of the seas and held off on Allure or put Allure in another market. Now if they could add Cuba to the list of ports this might change things.

DayvidB December 17th, 2009 03:16 PM

If it’s the only way to make cruising economical for the masses, then it is the right way to go for the industry unless people are prepared to pay more than they do today for something more like the more “traditional" experience.

Personally, I don’t like them, not because they are too big and what they offer in services, but because they are too busy and with that I mean the number of people I am sailing with and the crowd that can generate.

There are other lines out there that have not went down this route, and for some the space per person can come at a premium, and with that the ship may not be so modern or hi-tech, but to me they can offer a “warmth” in my personal experience. That’s what I look for, and you will not get that “warmth” or “intimacy” on the ships they are building today for bulk cruising.

Put it this way on ships 60-90 size I could walk up to the bar and the bartender after a few days they already knew my name, Hi David how you doing etc. Now they have to look at your card for your name, not their fault, but they deal with so many people it’s nearly impossible to remember who is who, just an example.

I can only compare it to being used to shopping in your small local mall and shops, to suddenly shopping in Mall of America, yes there is more choice but at what cost?

Paul Motter December 17th, 2009 04:15 PM

David - while gree with you in principle, when I think back to my cruises on 60-80,000-ton ships I actually think of them as "colder." I think it is the somewhat dilapidated and worn interiors that get to me, like when visiting an older house.

I get more of a charge from being surrounded by the newer.

But I DO agree about the "crowded" issue. If I had to pick a ship for a relaxing cruise, it would be the Solstice or Queen Mary 2; big but also bot crowded.

The smaller ships i don't personally gravitate to much are the oldest Celebrity ships (Century, Mercury). They just don't have the same panache as the newer CXC ships, or even the Millie-class.

I really like the HAL Eurodam as an example of a "right-sized" ship.

I have to say our Crystal cruise was MOST excellent, also. There is a bigger ship but still with exemplary service and great food.

I enjoy Silversea and Oceanua a great deal - but these are always destunation oriented cruises - which truly are my favorite. That to me is the true definition of a cruise - getting away on a smaller ship to great ports of call.

But if you want the 7-day family break where dad wants to walk away the "hero" for his teenage kids, you cannot beat the Oasis and other mega-ships.

Dave Beers December 17th, 2009 04:40 PM

Let me add that on the Oasis the bartenders remembered me and my preferences and this was just a 4-night cruise. It wasn't just me either. I observed many passengers being called by their first name as they approached different bars. Granted these were all people with lots of experience, so they are perhaps better at the name game than others, but regardless I felt welcome and "special".

A good crew is more important to making a ship inviting and warm than it's size.

Paul Motter December 17th, 2009 05:09 PM

How could a bartender forget a name like Dave Beers?

Dave Beers December 17th, 2009 05:53 PM

The funny thing is I don't drink much beer anymore. I prefer to sip a rum and coke or a rum runner. But, my last name probably does make me more memorable to a bartender.

momofmeg December 19th, 2009 04:26 PM

I am not interested in any of those ships.

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