Cruises and cruise deals – large, medium or small ships It’s your choice

Cruise liners come in every shape and size: from gigantic ships to super- luxury, intimate yachts. Based on the number of passengers, these ships can be divided into large, medium and small. As the size of the ship will significantly influence your experience on board – larger cruises offer more amenities and entertainment options while smaller ships excel in personalised service and attention to detail – it’s worth giving it some thought.

Cruises on large ships A large ship can carry 1,500 passengers or more. These ships are ideal for families and those travelling on a budget as there are often cruise deals and last-minute offers available. Several decks and cabin options (a lower interior cabin will save you 25% or more when compared with an ocean view cabin) also mean that you can take advantage of what the ship has to offer without spending too much on accommodation.

On a large ship you can expect to find several restaurants, indoor and outdoor pools, playgrounds, activities (often referred to as -clubs’) for children and teenagers, computer rooms, a movie theatre, a gym or health centre, various shops and, in general, all the amenities that a small town could offer.

Carnival, a giant in the industry, promotes its cruises as -fun and friendly’ and boasts to have the largest choice of recreational facilities and family entertainment. Disney cruises have also become popular with families – their ships can carry up to 3000 passengers with -Disney-style’ entertainment and dcor.

However, if you don’t care much about entertainment and you’re after something more sophisticated and quiet you’re better off selecting a medium-sized or small ship.

Cruises on medium-sized ships Medium-sized ships carry 500 – 1,500 passengers. These cruises offer the comfort of larger ships – without the noise. You will still have access to various dining options, live music, gym, shops, classes and activities but, with less passengers on board, you’ll experience a more sophisticated and tranquil trip.

Naturally, this comes at a price. Medium ships are more expensive than their larger sisters (unless you’ve landed a great cruise deal) and cater mainly for couples, 45+ travellers and for seniors.

Holland America Line specialises in medium ships and has many repeat cruisers who love the consistency and traditional nature of the experience: these cruises are perfect if you’re after a quality product, traditional cruising and tailored shore excursions. However, they’re not so perfect if you’re travelling with four children or are after late night entertainment – in this case Disney or Carnival cruises might be a better option!

Cruises on small ships Because small ships don’t need to stick to deep and open water, they will take you to off-the-beaten-path destinations, smaller ports, and you’ll be able to enjoy some amazing scenic routes. No wishful thinking: small ship cruises are the most expensive on the market, but if you’re in for a treat and your budget allows it, this is the ultimate sailing experience.

With 500 passengers or less the focus is all on exclusivity, service, atmosphere and elegance. For example, Silversea offers a -personal butler’ service while companies like Compagnie du Ponant and Windstar provide ultra-modern luxury yachts with sails that unfurl at the click of a button.

Whatever your choice, you can be sure that these cruises will be a memorable experience, well worth the expense. They are recommended for honeymooners or for anyone who has something to celebrate in style.

And what about you, travelling with four children? Don’t worry – one day they’ll grow up and you’ll be able to enjoy the pleasure of cruising on a small ship too!

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