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Large Cruise Ship or Small: Which Is Better?

by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)

Are you better off vacationing on a huge ship, like Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas, or on a smaller ship, like Oceania’s Insignia? Hey ... it depends on what you’re into.

Different people, different answers.

Planning Your Next Cruise

Yep, it’s time to start thinking about how you are going to get away from it all... to leave your proverbial troubles behind. And, taking a cruise sounds like a fabulous answer. But, should you book a cabin on a big monster ship or on a small, intimate ship? Allure of the Seas, owned by Royal Caribbean is still the biggest cruise ship in the world (as of this writing), beating out Oasis of the Seas by 2 inches, so I'll be using Allure as our archetypal large ship. However, this is a good time to start asking yourself if bigger is always better or if good things come in small packages.

Is a Bigger Ship Better?

best cruise shipsPaul Motter shares some thoughts about the ship-size dilemma in his article “When Picking a Cruise Ship: Is Bigger Better?” at FoxBusiness.com (see Resources). And, while I agree with many of Motter’s points, it is unlikely that he and I will ever end up seated together at dinner. Motter likes the big razzle-dazzle, high-energy experience, while I like the quiet, zen-like sound of the waves hitting the side of a small vessel… where I can pretend I'm living in the 1800s, sailing the ocean blue. (Except for the fact that I'm reading from an Android tablet instead of a book.)

Pros of Big Ships for Children and Grandchildren

Big ships are great if you’re cruising with kids (or grandkids) or if you're a kid at heart. Giant vessels have so many things to do that you will seldom notice you are at sea. Or, as Carolyn Spencer Brown phrases it in “What’s Your Ship Size?” at CruiseCritic.com, “(Large ships are) like a big resort hotel, with lots of variety and activities aplenty, from hairy chest contests to computer classes.”

Here are some of the things you'll find on Allure of the Seas:

  • Ice-skating rink and ice-skating shows
  • AquaTheater for water acrobatic shows. (Oh, I knew my life was missing something.)
  • Miniature golf course
  • Rock-climbing wall
  • Fake-surfing pool
  • Carousel (Sounds like fun in rough weather.)
  • First-run 3-D movies
  • Parades and shows with DreamWorks-costumed characters like Shrek and Kung Fu Panda (see preview below)

  • Central Park! Okay, it’s not really Central Park. This "Central Park" doesn’t have groups of strange dudes playing congas and smoking weed. This "Central Park" is an open-air section of a ship... and it has about as much soul as a shopping mall. So, I have to quote the song from Green Acres, "Darling I love you but give me Park Avenue." (see preview below to judge for yourself)

I'm not sure what to think of this ship. Allure of the Seas is big enough that you won't even know you're at sea.

However, it is also big enough that you can pretend you have no kids. And, that in itself may be the “allure of the seas”. (article continues)

Hey ! There is more to this article. Keep reading about large cruise ships versus small ships on page two.

Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire) is a Baby Boomer born at the end of 1952. Her mission is to make the internet a kinder and gentler place for Baby Boomer women around the world. Tina's specialty is fashion for women over 50.

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