Big Ships Versus Small Ships - You Decide!

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Next month, Royal Caribbean will welcome its newest ship to the fleet, Symphony of the Seas. Her maiden voyage will take place on March 31, and the 230,000 ton behemoth will divide her time between Barcelona and Miami. Carrying a whopping 5,535 guests, Symphony will be larger than the current size leader in the cruise world, also a Royal Caribbean ship, the 226,963-ton Harmony of the Seas. That makes her the new world’s largest cruise ship. Symphony is an Oasis Class ship like Harmony, but she will be different from her older sister, and the other Oasis class ships, in a number of ways, with more cabins including a first-of-its-kind, two-deck-high family suite, and new features including a New England-style seafood restaurant, a sports bar spanning the ship’s rear-facing Boardwalk area, and a new casual Mexican eatery. Like her older sisters, however, Symphony will have a trio of outdoor facilities including multi-deck water slides, four pool areas, two FlowRider surf simulators, a mini-golf course, a towering zip line, and a nine-deck-high twin tube plunge, as well as a Bionic Bar where the drinks are served by robot bartenders, a concept which debuted in 2014 on Quantum of the Seas. Symphony of the Seas is set to eclipse her predecessors as a floating mega-resort akin to a Las Vegas pleasure palace, however, as cruise ships get bigger and bigger, many are asking if there is such as thing as too big? 

There is no definitive answer, as it all depends on what a person wants from a cruise holiday. I have met cruise guests who book the cheapest inside stateroom as they don’t plan to be in their accommodation much, while others book spacious suites with balconies for privacy. I have also met cruise guests who book the best stateroom on a mass market big ship because they want choice; in dining venues, daily activities, places to drink, and broadway style entertainment every night. Conversely there are others who book the least expensive stateroom on a small luxury ship, because they want quite the opposite. When we recently posted a video on our Facebook page of Symphony of the Seas, it drew a lot of attention, with comments ranging from “wow, looks amazing” to “can’t think of anything worse”. While some cruise fans will shudder at the thought of being on such a huge vessel, others will be clapping their hands with glee. What is important with big ships, however, is that new cruises are aware of the pros and cons (ditto for small ship luxury cruising) so they don’t make a mistake, and end up with holiday from hell instead of a bucket-list experience. Our advice? Do your research, and if you’re not sure about super big ships, or super small ships for whatever reason, play safe and opt for something in between - at least the first time. 


Joanna Hall