Anthony Nicolas on why small is sweet…
Modern cruise ships seem to expand faster than the Chinese economy these days. With rock climbing walls, parks and multiple hot tubs and eateries, each new one seems to ram home the idea that ‘big is best’ with more force than a pneumatic pile driver, and even less subtlety.
Yet the small ships prove the truth that less is definitely more in terms of the value you get from a cruise. With far fewer passengers, you get an infinitely richer and more ritzy return for your hard earned cash and, more to the point, the chance to snuggle close up to the kind of peachy, picture perfect ports of call that those bigger floating theme parks cannot loom into.
Yes, there’s a real, rare intimacy about being on a smaller ship, but accessibility like this does not mean scaling down on luxury or personal space. The opposite is true; you almost always find bigger cabins and suites on the smaller ships, mostly with private balconies, and almost all so suffused with soft furnishings and smart hardware that they become real hazards to any kind of activity.
Less is more
Less is also more in terms of food and service. It is always much easier to prepare real, gourmet quality food for a select couple of hundred than it is on a floating mall carrying around five thousand. Choice and presentation on smaller ships massively overshadows the opposition. Small is chic, and impossible to beat for style and quality.
And you still get all the good stuff. There will be gaming, a couple of lounges and indoor/outdoor bars. Sure, it will be lower key, but if you can live without bingo and hip hop, then your ship has surely come in.
If you still doubt me, might I suggest champagne in the hot tub at midnight as you swing idly at anchor in the starlit bay of summertime Saint Tropez, or merely mull over a martini on some moonlit terrace deck in Antigua?
If the ships are small, then the options truly are enormous. Short on crowds but high on style, space and sheer fun, a small ship will spoil you in ways that a floating Babylon never could. Why become one of a crowd when you can leave the crowds behind altogether?
At the end of the day, that’s what a real break from normality is all about.
Do you agree with Anthony or do you prefer the facilities and buzz of large-ship cruising? Let us know your thoughts in the replies!
Read more: Small ship cruises