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taylorray

Are smaller ships nice?

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My husband and I have been on 4 cruises, all on the conquest class. We're taking our 7 year olds on their first cruise next year and are considering a smaller ship. How are the smaller ships?

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My husband and I have been on 4 cruises, all on the conquest class. We're taking our 7 year olds on their first cruise next year and are considering a smaller ship. How are the smaller ships?

 

The smaller ships, obviously due to less space, will have fewer on board amenities compared to the larger (and newer) ships. Which ship are you considering for your family cruise? Look to see what on board amenities and activities there are. Is there enough to keep your children happy and entertained? As parents, you already know that you don't want to hear your kids whining and saying "We're bored! There's nothing to do!"

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My wife and I who are both in our 60 love the smaller ships. It easier for use to get around. We do look for one's with the 2.0 upgrade.

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My 8 year old loves the Fascination. It just got the 2.0 upgrades. The only downside for me is that it has no steakhouse, but the MDR food is good so it is not a big deal. The waterpark area is small. We actually rarely get off the ship even in port (we live in the Caribbean and have been on this itinerary multiple times) and he never gets bored. :) Good luck!

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Smaller ships are good for port intensive itineraries or for those who don't really care if there's 18/7 entertainment options hustling for their time and attention. Port intensive cruises (few or no sea days) on larger ships leave some feeling they missed out on some shipboard activity. Other cruisers just want the relaxation that comes with being on a ship and disconnected from the world.

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For an older, smaller ship the Pride is really nice. It has the 2.0 upgrades and is a lot of fun. I sailed her this past summer and enjoyed her more than I thought I would. She is a little tacky, but not nearly as tacky in person than it appears on video. I really have no complaints about the Pride. Great staff and a lot of fun.

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We love the Conquest class ships. Sail on the Conquest herself a lot! But the smaller Fantasy class ships are really nice for their own reason. Not all the bells and whistles, but they are much "quieter" and the staff on these ships are always exceptional.

 

Seem to get more "personal" service onboard the smaller ships.

 

Traveling with a young one it might limit all the "extras" for them, but with the pool, water slide, Camp Carnival, arcade, etc. still plenty to do

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I also love the smaller ships, and prefer them over the latest group of mega-ships. Less people, less fluff. Less activities = more time to enjoy being on the ship!

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I also love the smaller ships, and prefer them over the latest group of mega-ships. Less people, less fluff. Less activities = more time to enjoy being on the ship!

+1

 

90K GT are the biggest we'd travel on, and we're not overly enthusiastic about them..........rather have half/a third that size or less......as for the monster ships.....they'd have to pay us, and even then I doubt we'd board them..yuk.

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As you can see, many of us prefer the smaller ships. Those of us that do like the fewer number of passengers and are cruising simply to cruise, not for the ship experience. I will also confess I miss the steakhouse on the Fantasy class ships but it wouldn't stop me from sailing if there was an itinerary I wanted.

 

My sons (then 13 and 19) just did a week on the Fascination and had a great cruise. It was so port intensive that the youngest didn't even bother with Circle C and was in bed by 10 every night.

 

So, it really depends on your family and your cruising style. If you need a wide variety of options to be entertained 24/7, then you perhaps will be disappointed, but if you are just happy to be on vacation, then they are a great option.

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I stopped sailing Carnival's oldest, smallest ships a dozen or so years ago . Like the OP I just preferred the Conquest class ships and now I like the Dream and Vista class better. Less rust more space and smoother sailing on the bigger newer ships.

MO. YMMV.

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I'll buck the overall trend here. We have sailed on ships as small as 40,000 tons holding 1,200 people to over 200,000 tons holding over 6 thousand people and everything in between.

 

While we do enjoy the more intimate experience on smaller ships, we have found crowding actually less of an issue on mega ships (Oasis of The Seas is a perfect example, never waited in any lines and could obtain a chair near the pool even in the middle of a sea day) then on some of the smaller ones.

 

And if we are going to book a ship now considered to be on the smaller side, it will not be a Carnival one. We are not loyal to any one line but if Carnival is in the mix for our next cruise it will be Dream class or Sunshine only. A few years ago we reluctantly booked a cruise on Fantasy as the dates were good, at the time we lived 20 minutes from the port of embarkation and to be blunt, cost was the number one factor. Fortunately we are no longer driven only by price so we can step it up a bit. While the overall experience was ok (food and service were typical Carnival, no complaints) everything about the ship felt cheap, (not too surprising considering this guy in his mid 40's was a senior in high school when that ship first sailed). It was tired, worn, decor 80's tacky. Just not our thing.

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I have sailed most of the classes on Carnival (not Vista)....As i general rule i will always pick the Fantasy/Spirit Class over any other class for one reason.....crowds. On the Fantasy Class ships, i have NEVER experienced a crowd for literally anything. I have been on Dream class ships that you had to line up 45 mins - 1 hr to get in to see the comedy shows. Fantasy class ships, go 5 mins early and there are seats. People on larger ships seem to love going to GS....Try going to the GS desk on these ships and there are 100 people lined up (not talking last night to remove tips). I may have gone to GS 5 or 6 times. On Fantasy class ships, if there are 3 or 4 people ahead of you, that is "busy". Try getting to the bar on the Lido deck or the Atrium bar around dinner time on a Dream class ship....Its 3 deep with people. Fantasy class ship there are always seats available at the bar. It makes sense, the larger ships are carrying roughly double the people that the Fantasy class ships carry. Reading the reviews of the Vista, i am holding off booking a trip on her. While i hear its a beautiful ship, the one common theme is lines, lines, lines for EVERYTHING. I find it remarkable that people will stand in line for 90 mins or so to see a ship line comic when there are dozens of other things to do on my vacation than stand in line. I am just not wired to do that. The Fantasy/Spirit class ships are the best kept secrets in the Carnival line. I love when cruisers say "I will only sail the newer and larger ships"....I say GOOD!!!! have fun standing in line....LOL

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The Seabourn Odyssey is only about 33,000 tons with 450 passengers, it was a great ship to cruise on, prefect service and staff. Small ships can be very enjoyable it all depends upon what you are looking for. If you want great service I would look at smaller ships. They also can enter many small ports that the big cruise ships cannot or stay away from. I have cruised on the largest ship in the World and many in between, for overall value, service, etc I like the mid size ships 70,000 to about 100,000 tons.

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Only done smaller ships. Until now, Triumph was the biggest. I’m very nervous about the Magic. I really love the small ships. I hope this isn’t a nightmare.

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For an older, smaller ship the Pride is really nice. It has the 2.0 upgrades and is a lot of fun. I sailed her this past summer and enjoyed her more than I thought I would. She is a little tacky, but not nearly as tacky in person than it appears on video. I really have no complaints about the Pride. Great staff and a lot of fun.

 

I couldn't agree with you more! LOVE the Pride. We have sailed on her 5 times with the 6th booked for January (will be our second 14 day cruise on the Pride). I have no interest in the Mega ships! I will keep sailing the smaller Carnival and/or Royal ships and have a great time! Don't knock them until you try them! :D

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I booked a professional group tour in 2005. It was to Greece, and involved a four day cruise to the islands. I was concerned about the small size of the ship, as the smallest I had ben on was Fantasy, and the largest Star Princess. Calypso was 11000 tons. Well, she was a very basic ship, but the food was excellent and the wait staff outstanding. And you really don't miss anything on a ship that visits six islands in four days. EM

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The smaller ships, obviously due to less space, will have fewer on board amenities compared to the larger (and newer) ships. Which ship are you considering for your family cruise? Look to see what on board amenities and activities there are. Is there enough to keep your children happy and entertained? As parents, you already know that you don't want to hear your kids whining and saying "We're bored! There's nothing to do!"[/quo

 

 

Thanks. We ended up booking for the CaeniCar Sunshine. Slifhtly smaller than the other ships we've been on but has everything we think will make our kids first cruise memorable.

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Just want to say I enjoyed this discussion very much. Nicely done.

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I have liked all the ships I’ve sailed on, but I have a feeling it will be a long while before I venture into the Vista class. If I am sailing with just my husband, I’d sail any size ship as we don’t need much in the form of “entertainment” to enjoy a cruise. If I am taking the girls, I’ve learned that they need a few more amenities than we do. They’d be happy with Waterworks and the Dive In Theatre. If fantasy class ships installed those we’d be happy with smaller (which almost always means cheaper).

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I love the smaller ships. On the Elation cruise last December, they did show a movie one night in the comedy club area(maybe ran out of comedy??) but it was nice to sit and watch a movie. I try to catch at least one in the cabin on a cruise because, I don't have time during the week to go to the theatre.

 

The smaller ships do have less people, and you are bound to run into new friends that you make. DH does not walk well, so the smaller ships cut down on extensive hikes to get from point A to point B.

 

That said, all the bells and whistles are not why I cruise, I cruise to see as much as I can in my lifetime. So in order to travel more, I need to pay less per cruise, and the smaller ships offer me that.

 

I hope that you have a great cruise!

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