Ship Size ~ What does
Coffman, with Armand Mantia
Why size matters
Seven Seas Mariner seems "just right" at
Don't let anyone convince you that
size doesn't matter in terms of your overall cruise experience. Ship
selection is possibly one of your most important decisions and your
lifestyle and expectations should be major considerations when
making this choice. This is one instance where size really matters
and can make or break your vacation.
Entertainment, activities, dining,
and even ports of call can and do differ based on a vessel's size.
It stands to reason that the larger the ship, the more room there is
for amenities like alternative dining venues, huge show lounges and
casinos, multiple swimming pools with water slides, and spa
facilities. On the other hand, there are intriguing ports of call
that only the smaller cruise ships can visit because of docking or
tendering considerations. Keep your priorities in mind while you are
examining cruise line brochures.
Ships - Range from approximately 70,000 tons and up.
These are the megaships that include the features modern passengers
have come to associate with a cruise. Look for non-stop activities
designed for all interests, high energy Las Vegas or Broadway music
revues with sophisticated lighting and dazzling costumes, a variety
of restaurants and lounges, dicos, well-rounded children's programs,
and more. Royal Caribbean's largest vessels even include rock
climbing walls, ice skating rinks, and Flow Rider surfing simulators. Carnival
ships boast some of the largest and most lavish spas and exercise
Ships - Range from approximately 25,000 to 70,000 tons.
There is no lack of entertainment and facilities on these ships,
although they tend to not have some of the more lavish facilities.
Alternative dining is generally an option, as well as traditional
daytime activities, nightlife, casinos, shows, and spas. By
necessity, they are usually on a smaller scale but no less
satisfying. Sometimes these ships have a higher passenger space
ratio, meaning there is more room per person and it isn't difficult
to find a deck chair by the pool on a sunny day. Smack in the middle
of this range is Radisson Seven Seas Cruises' Seven Seas Mariner—with
one of the highest space ratios available, you'll wonder where
Ships - Range from "mega yachts" at under 5,000
tons to ships of approximately 25,000 tons. On smaller vessels,
passengers tend to entertain themselves rather than be entertained.
For instance, due to their diminutive proportions, lounges are more
intimate with cabaret-style entertainment. Intriguing itineraries
are more often the focus of attention, including some ports of call
unattainable by larger ships. Restaurants often accommodate all
guest in a single open seating. Gracious service and fine dining is
paramount, such as on Silversea Cruises' vessels where signature
china, European crystal, and Christofle silver grace Frette linens.
Good things do come in small packages and a well-kept secret is that
Windstar Cruises' super-yacht Wind Surf has one of the
largest spas at sea for a ship of her size.
diminutive Seabourn "yachts"—at less than 10,000
tons—can't float onto a scale
How is a ship's
weight determined? Ask a female to
divulge her weight and measurements and you may get your face
slapped. Quite the opposite is true of cruise ship
"ladies"—their owners proudly display their dimensions
in brochures and tout their size to entice passengers.
Have you ever
wondered how they come up with those size statistics in regard to
cruise ships? Length, from front to back, and beam, the measurement
from side to side are simple matters; however, there isn't a scale
on earth that a passenger vessel can float onto to determine her
So, how do they
"weigh" them? And why does size matter anyway? Armand
Mantia is the one who explains it best.
the weighty riddle: "This is probably
the most confusing thing we ship junkies ever have to deal with,
other than perhaps trying to justify the logic behind continuing the
Passenger Services Act.
In the case of passenger ships, the
word 'tonnage' is a measurement of space, NOT of weight. GRT (or
Gross Registered Tonnage) measures the amount of enclosed space
within the confines of the hull and superstructure. The problem is
further complicated because there is no one universal standard of
measurement for this. Americans measure gross tonnage by one set of
criteria, the British use another, the Panama Canal has yet a third
way for toll purposes, and the Suez Canal sets its own standard.
Caribbean's megaships weigh in at a hefty 160,000 tons (and
In order to find out what a ship
would actually weigh if put on a gigantic bathroom scale, you need
to ask for the 'displacement tonnage.' That is the amount of water
'pushed aside' by the actual weight of the ship sitting in it. The
two are vaguely equal. If a ship displaces lets say, 50,000 tons of
water, that is the actual weight of the steel, wood, aluminum,
engines, etc., although the gross tonnage may be much higher.
Passenger ships are measured by
gross tonnage, but naval ships are always measured by displacement
tonnage. There is also a third measurement called 'deadweight
tonnage' but let's not go there." ~ Armand
No matter how
it's computed, size DOES matter!
How does your choice "size
up" to other ships? Check the index of
Cruise Ship Fun
Facts for the stats.
Also factor in your lifestyle and
expectations. Find out what you can anticipate in Cruise
Line Profiles and Cruise