The Pros And Cons Of Cruising On A Large Ship

Last updated on April 30th, 2024 at 02:08 pm

Is bigger always better? We take a look at the pros and cons of sailing on the biggest cruise ships at sea.
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Large cruise ships, often referred to as mega-ships or floating cities, come with both advantages and disadvantages.

In general terms, we speaking of cruise ships that hold in excess of 4000 passengers with features that you won’t see on smaller cruise ships.

Here are some of the pros and cons associated with large cruise ships:

The Pros Of Sailing On A Large Cruise Ship

Variety of Amenities

Large cruise ships are like self-contained resorts, offering a wide range of amenities such as multiple restaurants, bars, pools, theaters, fitness centers, casinos, and more. Passengers have access to numerous entertainment options without leaving the ship.

Because of the number of passengers, cruise lines tend to offer more enhanced amenities to keep complaints at bay.

For example; Royal Caribbean’s mammoth new ship, Icon of the Seas, is making sure that all of its guests can have the same listening experience in the Royal Theater onboard.

Listen EVERYWHERE is state-of-the-art assistive listening system that will give guests with hearing aids or cochlear implants will benefit from this enhanced listening experience. 

Listen EVERWHERE allows all guests to stream live audio directly to their devices, like a smartphone or tablet using the ship’s Wi-Fi network. 

It can also help passengers with translations, providing speech in their chosen language from anywhere onboard. 

Luxurious Accommodations

These ships often have spacious and well-appointed cabins with modern amenities, providing passengers with comfortable living spaces during their journey.

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Entertainment and Activities

With their large size, these ships can offer an array of entertainment options, including Broadway-style shows, live music performances, water parks, rock climbing walls, and even virtual reality experiences.

Diverse Dining Options

Mega-ships typically have multiple restaurants serving various cuisines, catering to different tastes and dietary preferences.

Cruising Economies of Scale

Due to their large passenger capacity, these ships can offer economies of scale, potentially resulting in lower per-person costs for accommodations, meals, and entertainment.

Destinations and Itineraries

Large cruise ships can travel longer distances and visit a wider variety of ports, allowing passengers to explore multiple destinations within a single trip.

NCL Getaway

The Cons Of Sailing On A Large Cruise Ship

Crowds and Lines

The most prominent drawback of large cruise ships is the potential for crowded common areas, long lines at dining venues, and congested pool decks. This can lead to a less relaxing experience for some passengers.

Environmental Impact

Large cruise ships have been criticized for their significant environmental impact, including air and water pollution, and their potential to damage fragile marine ecosystems in port areas.

Limited Port Access

While these ships can visit a variety of destinations, their size may limit their ability to dock at smaller ports, requiring passengers to be transported to shore via tenders (small boats), which can be time-consuming.

Homogeneous Experience

The sheer size of these ships can sometimes result in a homogeneous onboard experience, where the ship’s design and amenities might overshadow the uniqueness of the destinations being visited.

Safety Concerns

While modern cruise ships adhere to stringent safety regulations, the sheer number of passengers and crew members can make emergency situations more complex to manage.

Cultural and Local Impact

In certain ports, the influx of large cruise ships and their passengers can lead to concerns about the preservation of local culture, overcrowding, and strains on local infrastructure.

Health Considerations

Large cruise ships can be conducive to the spread of illnesses due to the close proximity of passengers and crew members. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted this concern, leading to cruise industry shutdowns and increased health protocols.

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The Anatomy Of A Large Cruise Ship

Large cruise ships, often referred to as mega-ships or floating resorts, are massive vessels designed to accommodate thousands of passengers and offer a wide range of amenities and entertainment options.

These ships have become a hallmark of the modern cruise industry, offering a unique way to explore various destinations while enjoying luxurious accommodations and onboard experiences. Here are some key features and aspects of large cruise ships:

Amenities and Entertainment On Large Cruise Ships

One of the defining characteristics of large cruise ships is the vast array of amenities and entertainment options they offer. These ships function as floating resorts, providing passengers with a wide range of activities and experiences, including:

– Multiple restaurants offering diverse cuisines

– Bars, lounges, and nightclubs

– Broadway-style theaters hosting live performances

– Pools, water parks, and water slides

– Fitness centers, spas, and wellness facilities

– Casinos and gaming areas

– Sports courts and activities like rock climbing and mini-golf

– Movie theaters and outdoor movie screens

– Shopping areas with boutiques and duty-free shops

– Art galleries and exhibitions

Accommodations On A Large Cruise Ship

Large cruise ships feature various types of accommodations, including interior and ocean-view cabins, balcony staterooms, suites, and even luxurious penthouses.

These cabins often come with modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs, minibars, and Wi-Fi access. Suites may offer additional perks like private balconies, butler service, and exclusive access to certain areas of the ship.

Dining Options On A Large Cruise Ship

Mega-ships typically offer a variety of dining venues, ranging from main dining rooms to specialty restaurants. Passengers can experience a diverse range of cuisines, from casual buffet options to fine dining experiences. Specialty restaurants may focus on specific cuisines like Italian, Asian, steakhouse, or seafood.

Onboard Activities On A Large Cruise Ship

In addition to entertainment and amenities, large cruise ships provide a wide range of onboard activities to cater to passengers of all ages and interests. These activities can include cooking classes, dance lessons, trivia contests, art auctions, wine tastings, spa treatments, and more.

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Itineraries and Destinations On A Large Cruise Ship

Due to their size and range, large cruise ships can embark on a variety of itineraries, visiting multiple destinations during a single voyage. Passengers have the opportunity to explore different ports, cultures, and attractions, making it a convenient way to travel and experience diverse locations.

Crew and Service On A Large Cruise Ship

To cater to the needs of thousands of passengers, large cruise ships are staffed by a significant number of crew members, including housekeeping, dining, entertainment, and hospitality staff. These crew members work to ensure that passengers have a comfortable and enjoyable experience throughout their journey.

The 12 Largest Cruise Ships

Royal Caribbean Icon of the Seas

Due to set sail in 2024:

Gross Tonnage: 250,800 tons

Length: 1,198 feet

Passenger Capacity (Double/Max): 5,610/7,600

Royal Caribbean Wonder of the Seas

Gross Tonnage: 235,600 tons

Length: 1,188 feet

Passenger Capacity (Double/Max): 5,734/7,084

Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas

Gross Tonnage: 228,081 tons

Length: 1,188 feet

Passenger Capacity (Double/Max): 5,518/6,680

Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas

Gross Tonnage: 226,963 tons

Length: 1,188 feet

Passenger Capacity (Double/Max): 5,479/6,687

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas

Gross Tonnage: 226,838 tons

Length: 1,187 feet

Passenger Capacity (Double/Max): 5,602/6,771

Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas

Gross Tonnage: 225,282 tons

Length: 1,187 feet

Passenger Capacity (Double/Max): 5,484/6,780

MSC World Europa

Gross Tonnage: 215,863 tons

Length: 1,093 feet

Passenger Capacity (Double/Max): 5,400/6,762

Costa Esmeralda

Gross Tonnage: 185,010 tons

Length: 1,106 feet

Passenger Capacity (Double/Max): 5,224/6,554

Costa Toscana

Gross Tonnage: 185,010 tons

Length: 1,106 feet

Passengers (Double/Max): 5,224/6,554

P&O Cruises Iona

Gross Tonnage: 184,700 tons

Length: 1,130 feet

Passenger Capacity (Double/Max): 5,200/6,600

P&O Cruises Arvia

Gross Tonnage: 184,700 tons

Length: 1,130 feet

Passenger Capacity (Double/Max): 5,200/6,600

MSC Euribia

Gross Tonnage: 184,001 tons

Length: 1,087 feet

Passenger Capacity (Double/Max): 4,816/6,335

Is Bigger Always Better – You Decide

In essence, the choice between a large cruise ship and a smaller vessel depends on individual preferences and priorities. Some passengers prioritize the abundance of amenities and activities, while others seek a more intimate and authentic experience that smaller ships or boutique cruise lines can offer.

There are plenty of options out there to choose from, but if you can, it would be great to cruise on both a large and smaller ship to really experience the difference.

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About Jonathon Hyjek

Jonathon is the tech guy behind When he's not stuck in front of his computer, Jonathon enjoys travel & cruising (even after being on a cruise ship that caught fire - a story for another day!)


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