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jcu1210

Smaller ship vs larger ship

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I liked the Getaway, lots of things to do and it had the solo cabins.

 

That said, I loved the Spirit !  The layout and options on the spirit, including the open air aft was great.  I liked the Jade better than the Dawn, but it was good as well.

 

I guess I prefer the smaller ship experience better than the larger ship, but like them both.

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Two cruise totalling 25 nights on the Sun in the aft penthouse was my idea of heaven.  And my mom’s too.  Anything larger wore her out.  
 

Loved the DOS on the Epic too.  But all things considered I choose the smaller and more intimate Sun. 

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Been on 5 NCL cruises, 3 smaller ships (Dawn, Jewel, Jade) and 2 larger (Epic & Escape). They both have their good points and bad. Smaller ones are more quaint, you get to know the crew, no reservations for shows, ect. The larger ones have more to do (more restaurants, bars, slots if you are into that, entertainment, ect. Only ship I didn't like was the Epic, mostly due to the design. Favorite was the Dawn with Escape right behind it.

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Been on RCCL's Freedom and Brilliance,  NCL's Sky (2X), Sun, Epic and just recently,  the Bliss over Thanksgiving week. Way too big for me. Give me the 5 day Sky and Sun cruises anytime. Destinations are not important to me. Floating in the tropics poolside with a cold drink is all I need. 

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I do not even look at the ship when I book a cruise since I am all about the destination and I prefer more ports than sea days. That being said I do prefer the smaller ships, I loved the NCL Spirit, but I will cruise any size ship if it goes to where I want to go. I have been on the Bliss and have a cruise booked on the Encore next year.  

Edited by jlabs03

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We love the smaller ships.  We don't like having to make reservations in advance or wait in stand-by lines for shows while we are on vacation.

 

For us, that is the opposite of a relaxing vacation.   While the Escape was beautiful, and we had a great time (we always do), we MUCH prefer the Gem sized ships and the freedom to NOT make reservations or stand in line.

 

 

 

 

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On 12/15/2019 at 12:30 AM, jcu1210 said:

What’s everyone ‘s preference? And why?

 

I like the size of Dawn but if we ever will cruise on NCL again it will be on a ship with Havenrestaurant so the newer, bigger, ships is our only option!

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On 12/15/2019 at 11:04 AM, cementhands said:

Just got off the gem and it was nonstop fun.
Have enjoyed the epic when brand new. Same with anthem. For us it’s the activities staff. Had a wonderful experience transatlantic on smaller visions of the seas. Been on the Dawn 4 times out of Boston and all great. 
If my wife has zumba or similar activities and dance opportunities and a great live band it’s blissful. Speaking of bliss it’s our next cruise. February.
So now we try and network with cruise activities staff and see what’s available on certain ships. We’ve enjoyed Ncl a lot recently. Band prism was outstanding on gem.

I think we would get along if we were on the same cruise! DH and I love spending time with the activities staff and found them best on the smallest ships. Also loved their dance classes better. The Zumba on The Sun and Dawn were half an hour each morning in the Spinnaker with lots of space. On The Escape they were 10 minutes long and in the crowded atrium. Not a great experience. We also had Richard Matic on both The Dawn and The Sun. He is a great leader with awesome staff. Both ships had a super fun sing along with the activities staff that ended with a balloon drop. We never had anything like that on The Escape, Gem, or Jewel. Not sure if it was Richard, or just a small ship thing.

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We will be sailing the Sun in 2021. 10 day cruise with great stops.  This will be our first smaller ship on NCL.  In the past we loved the Radiance class on RCCL.  We are on the Escape in February and we are excited to try this ship.  Prior we sailed Epic and Bliss.

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Much prefer the larger ships because of the entertainment options.

 

The smaller ships we've done we found there was usually only 1 option for something to do. For example at 1pm there'd be Bingo. If you didn't want to go to Bingo, you could sit in a lounge somewhere and wait for the next event at 2pm. We'd find ourselves sitting in our room watching netflix waiting for something fun.

 

On the larger ships there'd be Bingo plus 2 or 3 other options. Much easier to find something that fits our style and makes for more enjoyable time on board.

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Im back to small ships.     I've sailed most of the NCL fleet.   5 years ago I was attracted to the large ships....more to do.....I thought.    I had younger teens, I thought they'd do more.   Turns out we really didn't do it all.   Turns out after 3 or 4 runs down the water slides we'd all grown tired of them.   Turns out kids didn't love the ropes course, didn't miniature golf, etc.   Turns out we really don't take advantage of all the extras of the big ships.

 

Then I got to thinking about the amount of people packed on the bigger ships.    The deck space is so jammed tight on the bigger ships.   I enjoy daytime outside on the deck with some space and no so many people.   You don't get that on the big ships.   Not by the pool definitely but also not on any of the upper decks either.   Its so packed lounger to lounger to lounger there isn't a spare square inch!     You definitely get more space  on the decks on the smaller ships.    I also feel like the interior of the smaller ships were made more for lounging, socializing, enjoying.   The smaller ships have windows out in the public areas.    The larger ships have so completely maximized the interior and exterior for more cabins....packing more people onboard.    Whats lacking on the big ships is space, interior public spaces and deck space.   My family has all learned that this is what we care about.

 

 

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We tend to stay with larger ships, but for me I'm attracted more to shiny and new than size.  For NCL We sailed on the Peal when it was new and the Gem when it was fairly new and loved both (I remember when bowling onboard was a big perk).  Sailed the Dawn after a refurb and it was nice.  We are doing the Bliss in March and this will be our first time on one of the NCL Megaships.  I like that there is such a variety of things go to.  To me cruising is about the destination but also about the ship (which you will much more time on than your destination)  If it's just about the destination why not just fly there and spend more time there?  I've done the Carnival Horizon when it was new and there was a lot to do, and also the Anthem which is one class down from their largest ships but still pretty large.  I won't do the ancient tugboats like what's in Baltimore.  The one exception would be the Spirit of American in Hawaii, which IS really about the destination first (but still a cruise).  That's on my to do list.

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I find it interesting that so many more responders seem to prefer the smaller ships. That's true for us as well, and we've sailed all the classes of NCL ships. When NCL first introduced the Haven on the larger ships, I felt as if it was an attempt to give a "small ship" feel to the larger ships...at a premium price, of course.

 

What would be an ideal ship for us would be a Jewel class ship, with more Haven style suites and a Haven style restaurant. Yes, I know...that's Regent Seven Seas. But we'd like it with the more informal vibe of NCL. And while they're at it, do the Haven style restaurant the way Celebrity does their suite class restaurant: With a menu that changes every night. 

 

Guess I'll just have to get a yacht, huh? 😁

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We have found that smaller ships are good for port intensive cruises, and larger ones for transatlantic or lots of sea days itineraries. We did transatlantic on the Star and found that it got a tad boring after 6 days at sea. We then did a Mediterranean cruise on the Epic and had 6 ports in 7 days. We didn’t have time to see and enjoy a lot of the ship. So we we are doing another transatlantic next April on the Getaway and looking forward to having days to explore, enjoy and relax 

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I like the people-flow of the smaller ships, but all the variety of the larger ships. Depends on what I want out of the particular itinerary/vacation. If there are a lot of sea days, give me a bigger ship because I like the variety.

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I guess I'm a "traditional cruiser." On NCL, I have sailed Pride of America, Dawn, Star, Epic (x3), Getaway, Jewel, Pearl (x5), Sun, Sky and Spirit. My cruise priority is to sit by the pool most of the day, and sit in a bar or a restaurant most of the evening. I do try and get to the gym, and I love a good spa. I drink, I smoke the odd cigar, and I avoid the buffet like the plague. So, my ideal ship is really a mid-size HAL ship, but I'm not fond of their demographic and they keep screwing around with their entertainment.

 

I love that I can create a small-ship experience on NCL's bigger ships by dining exclusively in specialty restaurants, spending outdoor time only at Spice H2O, and getting a spa pass. But, NCL keeps raising the price for all of the above, so that dynamic is pushing me to smaller ships at other brands, like MSC. Leonardo might bring me back, but if appealing spaces on Leonardo class require substantial additional fees, that will likely count me out.

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I really wish I liked the Sun - but I just didn't.  I really missed having an O'Sheehan's for 24 hour snacking!  My fave so far is the mid-size ships.  I enjoyed both the Star and the Pearl - it hit that sweet spot of being small enough to have a different show in the main theater each night while also having the pub.  I have also sailed on the Getaway and Breakaway.  They were enjoyable, but I preferred the midsize.

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For me it depends who I am cruising with.  If it's my DH and another couple I would choose the 2,200 +/- ships - I love that size, just big enough with good entertainment options.  If I'm with my adult children or my crazy group of girlfriends I'd choose the larger ships because of the entertainment options and fun - but the huge drawback is the amount of people, the need to schedule events, be in line early and elevators.  

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