Size Matters When Picking a Cruise Ship… But it’s Not Always the Priority
Royal Caribbean International’s long-awaited Harmony of the Seas started sailing this month! We have quite a few excited clients; some couples and also a family group celebrating a vow renewal, who are all booked to sail on her in the next year.
Harmony is a “sister ship” to Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. They are the largest cruise ships, each capable of holding over 6,000 guests plus crew.
A distinction specific to Harmony is that she has dual ten-story dry slides that end on Boardwalk called Ultimate Abyss along with her three 3-story water slides over Central Park. You won’t catch me on them, though you might find me sitting near the bottom and so I can watch others on these slides!
With all of the current talk about these largest cruise ships, I was reminded of a conversation I had last weekend. I was visiting with friends, MaryAnn and Art. They love cruising and have sailed on Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas multiple times. It’s been a perfect ship for them— a convenient home port from which she sails, itineraries of interest to them and she has all of the features and amenities that they’ve wanted. She’s also been the right size for what they’ve wanted as she holds around 2,400 passengers.
Art asked me a good question, one that I’ve been asked by others in the past. “What about the really large ships? I think they’d be too big . What do you think about those?”
So I told him, “You know, in 2009 Oasis came out and I received an invitation for a couple of nights for an agent inspection. I really debated internally whether or not I wanted to do it. I didn’t know if I wanted to put out the time and the money to go on a ship that I really was going to hate. I didn’t see any reason for ships to have to be this large. After debating it for a while, I decided that I really needed to go on her for work. That she was innovative enough, unique enough that I needed to see her so I could talk about her to clients.”
I went on to explain to my friends that I went on Oasis, totally expecting to dislike her. And guess what?! I ended up loving her because of the “neighborhoods” breaking it up from feeling like it’s a huge ship, the many areas in which to eat, the many restaurants to choose from, all of the different types of activities and a lot of choices for entertainment.
These “Oasis class ships” (Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas) all have seven distinctive neighborhoods- Central Park, Boardwalk, Royal Promenade, The Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, the Youth Zone and the Entertainment Place.
Now, on the flip side, one of our agents is sailing with her husband on Azamara Club Cruises’ Azamara Journey in the Mediterranean this week. Journey holds about 700 people and, for her husband’s taste, this ship is much too big. They sailed last year on Princess Cruises’ Pacific Princess which was the same size. In fact, both of these ships were “sister ships” when they were built for the now defunct Renaissance Cruises in around 2000. Oceania Cruises is another line using the beautiful “Ren” ships.
He’s not looking for all of the bells and whistles that come with being on most cruise ships. He’s interested in the ships primarily for transportation, lodging and prefers the 50-150 passenger exploration ships which specialize in educational destination talks and can get into very small ports. So why did they book on these “big” ships? Because of the itineraries. These two most recent cruises had the itineraries they wanted.
When it comes down to it, we have ocean liners, cruise ships, barges, sailing ships, yachts, steamboats and paddlewheelers. There are passenger ships on every ocean and major river. Ships which come in all different flavors and personalities. What works best for you is the ship that is going to meet all or the most of your needs and interests.
I invite you to contact us the next time you are ready to “navigate the waters” (sorry, couldn’t resist!) so we can assist you in creating that cruise you’re dreaming about.