• Jay Hicks

Big Ship or Small? A Good Question.

Updated: Apr 23


Merry-Go-Round Wonder of the Seas

Let’s say is your first time to take a cruise. Among the many choices such as where to go and where to get on, you may also have a choice on whether to board a large ship or smaller ship. How do you know whether you would like to take cruise on a large ship or small ship.


First of all, unless you’re going on a river cruise, there aren’t many small tourist ships left at sea. So what does that mean? By way of comparison the titanic was 883 feet. Most smaller ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet are between 900 to 1000 foot range. The Majesty the Empress of the Seas are the only two boats in Royal Caribbean fleet that are shorter than the Titanic. Royal Caribbean‘s Oasis class ships, which are currently the largest passenger ships at sea at the moment for passengers are about 1188 feet.


So how do you know what you would prefer? That’s difficult as individual preferences very greatly. But here are a few of the attributes.

Central Park - Wonder of the Seas

If you like lots of open spaces to visit, to include parks and outdoor boardwalk areas, you will love the very large Oasis class ships. The largest ships have more offerings for eating, drinking, and fine dining. Generally they have more pools and activities for children. At the same time they have larger spaces for adult only activities. However, some think that open areas resemble a shopping mall.

Joshua Greenfield
Schooner Lounge - Brilliance of the Seas

However, if you prefer a more intimate environment, and a desire a more traditional ship board experience, you would probably prefer one of the smaller ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet. The atrium on the Royal Caribbean's Radiance class ships are both beautiful and glamorous.

Atrium Brilliance of the Seas - Trip Advisor

The biggest con of a large ship is the passenger count. Even though the Queen Mary 2 is in the 1100 foot range, its passenger account is only little over 2600. Whereas, the new Wonder of the Seas has a capacity of just under 7000. So how does that translate? Even though the passenger count is very heavy on the Wwonder of the Sseas, facilities and amenities accommodate.

Party Crowd on Oasis Class Ship - Jim Walker

The problem is if everybody decides to do the same thing at the same time on a large capacity ship, that event will be overrun. To cope with the situation, most shows and events take place multiple times on a cruise. But to organize it, Royal Caribbean has developed an phone app and you have to reserve your seating or you can’t go. Once reservations on the app are filled up for a particular event, you can no longer request a reservation for that event at that time. This can be a frustration for some folks, especially if they’re not technologically savvy.

This situation is really another big pro for folks liking the older ships. Generaly does you will not have this problem on an older ship, as passenger capacity generally will not overrun areas like the theater for major events.

Light Capacity on the Wonder

However, if you like the novelty of having boardwalks, parks with real trees, classic cars parked indoors on the promenade, merry-go-rounds with real carved wooden horses, ice-skating rings, numerous venues for eating and drinking, and shows where cast members high dive from 100 feet, you will not want to miss traveling on an Oasis class ship from Royal Caribbean.

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