The size of the ship contributes significantly to the atmosphere. Cruise ships range from small, adventure-type vessels or yacht-style options to megaships that carry thousands, and will have multiple dining venues, many types of entertainment, cutting edge gyms and elaborate spas. Size also dictates the social atmosphere aboard the vessel. Do you want, or do you need, to be with people and, if so, in an intimate daily setting or only on an occasional basis?
On a small ship, there’s no escape: The people you meet on a 22-passenger or even a 100-passenger vessel are the ones you’re going to be seeing every day of the cruise. The truth is that it will impact your vacation if they turn out to be boring, or bombastic, or slow-witted, or in some other way not to your taste. Personal chemistry plays a big part in the success or failure of any cruise experience especially the small-ship cruise experience.
Some people may think that the megaships are too big, but they do have at least one saving grace: On a 2,000- or 5,000-passenger ship, there’s plenty of room to steer clear of people who turn you off. And because all these big, newer ships have lots of alternative restaurants, it’s even easier to avoid those types at mealtimes, something that’s not so easy on a smaller ship.
The hotel director on a Holland America ship once noted, If you want to stay out until 4am, gamble wildly, and pass out in a lounge, you don’t come on Holland America. And he’s right. Picking the ship that’s right for you is the key to a successful cruise experience.