Caribbean Cruising:
Big Ship or Small Ship?

Your decision: Is bigger really better?

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Large vs Small Cruise Ships

There is a big emphasis today in building large ships vs small cruise ships. With mega-liners ready to carry up more than 5,000 passengers, or the population of a small town, cruise ships seem only to be growing in size.

For the most part that's true and for good economic reasons: It's more cost effective to put a lot of people aboard one ship instead of building a sizable fleet.

Larger ships can offer many more attractions, such as ice skating rinks, rock climbing walls and shopping arcades. These activities are intended in part to attract people who've never cruised, which is about 90% of the population.

Unfortunately, the emphasis on size has helped standardize Caribbean itineraries. Look at the large ships and you'll see they all tend to go to the same ports, such as George Town, Grand Cayman.

The ships target the same ports because not all islands have the docking facilities or the infrastructure to accommodate big ships or thousands of passengers all at once. (See Large Ship Disadvantages)

Personally, I suspect the emphasis on gargantuan will come back to bite the cruise lines in their collective behinds. When everyone is pretty much visiting the same destinations, what incentive is there to take a third or fourth cruise?

The ?been-there, done-that? philosophy is too well ingrained in many people, even if shore excursions in those destinations expand.

The trend is likely to be this: large ships will introduce people to cruising. On later cruises, these same people will take smaller ships to where the the big ships can't.

I mean, how many times can you go to Hell (in Grand Cayman)?

Yet small ships have their own set of disadvantages. For one, they simply can't offer the variety of depth of activities as the big ships. A big activity variety is important for families sailing with kids.

Which size best suits you?

Big Ship Advantages

Big Ship Disadvantages

Small Ship Advantages

Small Ship Disadvantages

There's really nothing good or bad about ships sizes. It's about which type suits your vacation needs better.

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