In the modern world of cruising ships come in every shape and size, from the 2,298 tonne Star Clipper to the 220,000 tonne Oasis of the Seas. Not everyone wants to be on a ship that offers everything and more, some people prefer mid-sized ships with a good variety of entertainment and spa treatments, and others prefer smaller, stripped down ships that concentrate on the destination.
When is comes to choosing the right ship for you, the size of the ships is very much a personal choice. You may be looking to visit off-the-beaten-track destinations, the polar ice caps, or the most intimate of ports — for which small ships are the only option. You may prefer an elegant ship, visiting popular ports, but nothing too crowded — which is where mid-sized ships come into their own. Or you could love the idea of having everything you could ever imagine needing in a holiday, all in one place, and with a new destination each day to discover, or a few sea days to take it all in — if that's the case, the big ships are for you. Our cruise blog gives an insight into what's on offer, and making the right choice, but it's really down to you.
Small Ships are usually considered to be cruise liners that carry under 1000 passengers. Our smallest ship, Celebrity Xpedition, only carries 92 passengers, weighing 2329 tonnes, with our lightest ships, Star Clipper & Star Flyer, coming in at as little as 2,298 tonnes. Fred Olsen's Braemar, carries the most passengers in this category on our site, with 929 guests onboard, but only weighs 24,344 tonnes, compared with Regent Seven Seas Mariner, which comes in at 50,000 tonnes and only 750 passengers.
Smaller ships tend to offer a more intimate experience, with a more attentive feel to the service— with less passengers onboard the crew soon learn your favourite tipple and how you take your coffee. The more intimate ships can also offer a more boutique feel, with club-style cruising becoming more and more popular with cruise lines such as Azamara and Oceania.
Mid-sized Ships are generally thought of as ships that carry between 1,000 and 2,400 passengers. These were once seen as big ships, but are now seen as a more refined option to the super liners of today. Mid-sized ships from the 1,000 passenger Hurtigruten ships, that trawl the Norwegian coastline delivering goods, post and passengers as well as offering a cruising experience, to P&O Cruises ever popular Arcadia, offering 4* British-style cruising.
The mid-sized ships offer the benefits of choice that you would see on a large ship, such as multiple speciality restaurants, fully functioning spas and selection of lounges and bars. Mid-sized ships will usually have a theatre that shows West End and Broadway-style productions, a show lounge with everything from dance classes to cabaret and the always popular 24 hour buffet restaurant.
Big Ships offer the largest disparity in size, from the 2,450 passenger Millennium class ships from Celebrity Cruises, to the 3,600 passenger Ventura, from P&O Cruises, to the quite magnificent Oasis class ships from Royal Caribbean — that can carry up to 6,200 passengers, 2165 crew and weigh a massive 225,282 tonnes.
The large ships will whisk you away to a world of cruising where every aspect of your holiday is covered, from the 4 star, family orientated ships, to the entertainment-filled, glitzy Allure of the Seas and Norwegian Epic, to the classy, understated glamour of Cunard's Queen Mary 2.
So, when weighing up which size of ship you are looking for, consider what onboard choice, style of service and atmosphere you are looking for, then find a style of ship that suits the location you are looking for and enjoy the holiday of a lifetime.