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wheels36

Real Ships

11 posts in this topic

I note that in their advertising Fred Olsen refer to their smaller scaled vessels as "real ships traditionally built".

This seems to be a sleight on the newer larger ships, but poses the question as to what are the relative advantages and disadvantages of large and small ships.

Land Ahoy likes this

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Hi  Although I don't know the true definition of a "real" ship (it may not even exist) I myself refer to small vessels as real cruise ships.  I consider the large new builds to be multi-purpose holiday resorts which happen to float.  I consider most if not all smaller ships to offer a more imitate atmosphere and better personal service.  However, I can understand why some cruisers prefer larger vessels they offer many more facilities and 24/7 entertainment is important to some cruisers.  The largest ship I have experienced is the QM cruise and I certainly had a good cruise but I have had better service and food on the much smaller ships operated by Azamara.   I have never believed there is the best cruise line only the best at meeting your expectations but I do believe that you generally get what you pay for, the lines I rate highly are usually more expensive.

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It all depends on personal preference we were berthed alongside Black Watch in Bergen in 2000 when we were on Aurora she looked tiny compared to Aurora and even then looked very dated and run down. Sailing back across the North Sea we had a terrible storm which Aurora handled very well even though all shows were cancelled and damage was done to parts of the ship glad I wasnt on Black Watch who followed us out of Bergen back to the UK.

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Do you think the cruise industry will swap the Oceana's Aurora's Sea, Princess's etc when they are finished with other 'mid sized' ships or is the future Britannia, Quantum Oasis et al, and The current Larger ships becoming mid sized ships?

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The main advantage, in my opinion, of the smaller Fred Olsen ships is that they can get into smaller harbours, nearer to the cities visited. Last year, I went to the Baltic and we got right up to the first bridge in St. Petersburg whereas the bigger ships were miles away. I have only been with Princess before and liked the intimacy of only having 850 passengers.

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Most big ships can get where the small ones can unless restricted by length as the draught of most are very similar which is why quite often an older smaller ship will ride a swell better than the new large ships. Ships are definitely set to get bigger and, with the exception of the boutique lines, are the future. NCL have 4 new ships on order, all 163,000 tonnes and MSC have 2 at 154,000 tonnes and 2 at 167,600 tonnes whilst RCI have another 2 Oasis Class at over 225,000 tonnes on order. Very few ocean going ships on order under 95,000 tonnes. Big ships per passenger are cheaper to operate and have better amenities. We need to remember that the world of cruising is changing with a new type of clientèle being attracted. They are a younger generation who don't want set dining times, formal nights and the other cruise traditions. They want land based facilities and dress codes at sea. What therefore is the attraction of cruising to them you may ask. The answer is the new ships have the facilities of land based resorts and indeed some ships have better ones, the food is usually of a better quality which is waiter served rather than buffet and they see many different destinations in a short space of time and only unpack once. 

Land Ahoy and wheels36 like this

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It depends what you are looking for. For example we had just as good a holiday on Ventura as we had on Balmoral but for different reasons. We've been on the NCL Spirit which is one of their smaller ships and I'm travelling with friends on Anthem this year which is as big as it gets! I'm not going to list all of the ships we have been on but they all range in company and size and I think it is great that there is such a choice!

I love the formal nights as it is the only time I get to see my husband in a suit and genuinely think you cannot compare a ship with a land-based holiday. Having tried a "fly and flop" style all inclusive holiday this year  - whether it's a large or small ship as long as it's a cruise holiday I am happy lady!

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With over 300 cruise ships out there belonging to 60 plus cruise lines there is a ship for everyone. I personally prefer ships that do not have formal nights but that is simply because I get fed up with packing my DJ for every cruise I go on.

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I dont think this is meant to be a sleight on other newer vessels but when you look at some of the mega ships now being built some do resemble a modern block of flats and lack the character of an older traditional build. The obvious answer I can see for smaller or midsize ships is that they can travel to smaller destinations and ports where infrastructure is in place to cope with less passengers than the larger ships would bring in, whilst they would probably love more tourists a sudden hit of 3500 to 5000 people would just be too much for the locality to handle. At least with all sorts of designs and sizes everyone has the freedom of choice to pick what they want from their holiday

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Most big ships can get where the small ones can unless restricted by length as the draught of most are very similar which is why quite often an older smaller ship will ride a swell better than the new large ships. Ships are definitely set to get bigger and, with the exception of the boutique lines, are the future. NCL have 4 new ships on order, all 163,000 tonnes and MSC have 2 at 154,000 tonnes and 2 at 167,600 tonnes whilst RCI have another 2 Oasis Class at over 225,000 tonnes on order.

 

I suspect that the financial managements within cruise companies may well be pushing the ship designers towards larger vessels, at a rate that the designers may well not be comfortable with. A basic element of design is to check calculations and test bed results in the field, but the rate of change could well be faster than is healthy by not giving "field data" sufficient time to be analysed and understood.

The point that you make about older ships riding the swell better is directly related to the draught, the ship snapping back into position quickly as a result of dead weight with too little resistance below the water level to slow the return. Most ships have to cross the Atlantic to suit the cruise seasons, so it could well be the limitations on stabiliser design for testing conditions that eventually limits the overall sizes.

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