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Cruise Ship Sizes

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. When it comes to choosing the right cruise for you, the perfect cruise ship size depends on what you're looking for.  If it's visiting off-the-beaten-track destinations such as the polar ice caps, or the most intimate ports of call, small ships are the only option. Alternatively, you may prefer an elegant ship, visiting popular ports, but nothing too crowded, which is where mid-sized ships come into their own. Or, if you love the idea of having everything you could ever need in a holiday all in one place, and with a new destination each day to discover and a few sea days to make the most of what's onboard, the big ships are for you. Our cruise blog gives an insight into what's on offer (in our article, How Big is Your Ship?), and making the right choice, but it's really down to you. 

Small Cruise Ship Size Comparison

Small ships are generally considered cruise ships carrying less than 1000 passengers. Celebrity Xpedition, carries only 92 passengers, weighing 2329 tons, with even lighter ships such as Star Clipper and Star Flyer, of the Star Clippers' fleet, weighing in at ust 2,298 tons. Fred Olsen's Braemar carries the highest number of passengers in the small ship category, with 929 guests on board, but weighs only 24,344 tons, compared to the Regent Seven Seas Mariner, which reaches 50,000 tons and only 750 passengers.

Smaller ships tend to offer a more intimate experience, with an attentive and personal feel to service. With fewer passengers on board the crew will soon learn your favorite beverage and how you take your coffee! These smaller cruise ships can also offer a more boutique atmosphere, with club-style cruises increasingly popular with cruise companies such as Azamara and Oceania.


Medium Cruise Ship Size Comparison


Medium-sized ships are generally considered as ships carrying between 1,000 and 2,400 passengers. Once considered big ships, they are now seen as a more refined option for those wanting a small ship feel with the onboard activities of a larger vessel. Medium-sized ships, from 1,000-passenger Hurtigruten ships, which sail along the Norwegian coast carrying goods, mail and passengers as well as providing a cruise experience, to P & O Cruises adult-only Arcadia offering 4 * British-style cruises, are increasingly popular.

Medium-sized ships offer the advantages of the choice you would see on a large vessel, such as speciality restaurants, luxurious spas and a fantastic selection of lounges and bars. Medium-sized ships usually have a theatre that shows West End and Broadway-style productions, a showroom with everything from dance lessons to cabaret and exciting shore excursions to unbeatable destinations around the world.


Big Cruise Ship Size Comparison


The Big Ships offer the biggest disparities in size, from 2,450 Millennium class passenger ships courtesy of Celebrity Cruises and 3,600 onboard P&O Cruises' Ventura and Regal Princess to the awe-inspiring Oasis class ships from Royal Caribbean that can carry up to 6,200 passengers, 2165 crew and weigh 225.282 tons.

The big ships will take you away in a world of cruises where every aspect of your holiday is covered, from the 4 stars, the family oriented ships, to the amusing, sumptuous Allure of the Seas and Norwegian Epic, to the refined, sober glamor of Cunard's Queen Mary 2.

So, when it comes to weighing up cruise ship sizes, the things to consider are the onboard experience, the style of service and the atmosphere you are looking for. Use our guide to help find the perfect cruise ship for you and get ready to enjoy the holiday of a lifetime. 

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