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Joanandjoe

QM2-Monster or Great Ship?

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Since we live in the suburbs of NYC, we see ships docked at the pier almost every time we go into the city. Nothing, however, prepared us for the sheer size of the Queen Mary 2, which we saw on our way home yesterday. The ship is a monster: it seemed much larger than even the megaships from Carnival and Princess that were docked next to our ship when we sailed into NYC in September. It also seemed much larger than the old, familiar Queen Elizabeth 2, which just became the longest serving ship (over 36 years) in the history of Cunard.

Is it just us, or have the biggest ships gotten much, much too big? We wonder whether our views are unusual, or whether others see size as a good thing. We'd particularly welcome comments by people who have sailed on this immense ship.

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I think you bring up valid points. However, I prefer to withhold an opinion at least until I can get a personal look at the size. It is scheduled to be in Los Angeles in February and we will most likely go down and take pictures of her and try and get a feel for the enormousness’ you say you experienced.

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We enjoy the bigger ships. We've sailed on Voyager and Adventure. They are approx 142,000 GRT compared to the QM2 at 151,000 GRT. It'a amazing how uncrowded they are compared to the relatively smaller ships. We look forward to sailing on Freedom, which is even bigger than QM2, at 158,000 GRT.

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Crazies, keep those comments coming. Joan and I have an admitted small ship bias: we loved the Wind Surf (308 PAX) and Radisson Seven Seas Navigator (490 PAX), liked (but not loved) the Horizon and Rotterdam (which we referred to as "the Monster"), both with around 1,300 PAX. We also loved the 1200 PAX old Noordam, but that was our first cruise, so of course we loved it! We had issues with the lines for everything on all three larger ships, our inability to get the early dinner seating we wanted on the old Noordam despite booking a year in advance, and the inability to get seats in the main showroom on the Horizon. So our "big ship" experience has been mixed, at best; and what we think of as big ships are now regarded as medium size ships (1200 to 1400 PAX).

We certainly did not feel crowded on the Wind Surf or Navigator! Those may be smaller than what jbond refers to as small ships.

Our next cruise will be on the new Noordam (1900 PAX) and we're viewing it with crossed fingers. We wouldn't even consider a 3,000+ PAX ship at this point.

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I did say "relatively smaller ships". :grin:

When comparing ships I feel that it's unfair to evaluate ships such as RSS Navigator and Windsurf with regular run of the mill cruise lines like HAL, Celebrity etc.

You most certainly wouldn't feel crowded on the Navigator or Windsurf, especially Navigator. It has approx 65 GRT/passenger. That's a lot of space. Windsurf has approx 48, so it's still quite high. The old Noordam has 28 grt/passenger, which is pretty low, the new Noordam has appprox 43, so even though there are over 50% passengers, you should find the ship much more spacious. QM 2 is very spacious at 57, Freedom of the Seas still pretty good at 44.

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When I first began to cruise, my first sailing was aboard the Holiday, about 45,000 grt. In those days, it was the largest ship afloat, and considered a “monster.†About as big as a cruise ship should get, I reckon….

Then, I sailed on the Dolphin, Britanis, Caribe I, etc; Ships in the 25,000 to 30,000 grt range. While they didn’t offer the variety of activities you find on a larger ship, they had a certain cozy, warm feeling to them. A few days into the sailing, you knew most of your fellow-passengers and many members of the crew, especially the Cruise Director and his/her staff. And, you were never at a loss for something to do.

Now, the Fantasy Class ships, at 70,000 grt are considered “small,†and most new ships are well over 100,000 grt. They offer all sorts of amenities undreamed of a decade ago…

So, which is better? No comparison can be made because each, small and large, is unique.

Only one small ship is still in regular service, the Regal Empress (Caribe I; Olympia). It still offers a ‘classic’ cruise, but has made some concessions to today’s market. They have enlarged the buffet and offer buffets for dinner, which you never had on a ‘classic’ cruise. You ate in the dining room, or your cabin.

Personally, I thought the Holiday was perfect. It was still small enough to be warm and comfy, but large enough to offer plenty of activities.

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After this post, I'll wait for more comments before replying.

Yes, space per passenger is important--that's why we have a suite on the Noordam, and just turned down a chance for a nice sounding river cruise in a 110 square foot cabin (we'd get claustrophobic). However, a ship with 3,000 plus PAX, no matter what the space ratio, changes the entire cruise experience. We don't need wave pools, 17 bars, climbing walls, or most of the reasons people cite for loving large ships. We want quiet elegance, with just enough things to do.

The sheer numbers of people on huge ships overwhelm the types of small ports we like. Ketchikan, Alaska, Charlottetown, PEI, or Sete, France are fairly small places: including crew, a large ship may have more people than the town! In some ports, the ship has to tender, where a smaller ship could dock. Onboard, that's a lot of people trying to squeeze into the Lido, or wait for the tenders, or try to disembark. The QM II is so large it can tower over a town. Maybe those are intangibles, but they are reasons why we probably won't try a huge ship.

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In 2001, I was at both ends of Carnival's spectrum. We were on their smallest ship, The Tropicale, in January. 1022 passengers. Then in September, we were on the Victory, then their largest ship. Except that we only had 756 people on board, due to 9-11 happenning the previous week. We still had line-ups for breakfast, for the popular slot machines, for disembarking. It doesn't matter how big the ship is, you will still have line-ups. That's just the nature of cruising.

We found the Grand Princess less crowded feeling with 3000 passengers, than we did with the old Westerdam 4 years earlier with 1100. Except in the cabin of course, which was much bigger on the Westerdam. Of course, we don't spend much time there, so I'd rather they use the space for more public areas to disperse people than having bigger cabins we don't do much other than sleep and shower in.

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I've seen Queen Mary 2 in person. Three other ships were docked nearby the same day, including Crystal Symphony in the next berth. Talk about extremes! :smiley:

I don't know how I'd feel about sailing on such a large ship. A lot depends on how the ship is laid out, in my experience. Number of passengers matters, too. The new Freedom of the Seas can hold close to 4,000 pax (3,700 double occupancy). QM2 holds 2,600. IMO, it's not the size of the ships that's getting too large, but the passenger capacity. It doesn't matter as much with liners, such as QM2, but cruising is a whole other story. I wonder how long it would take to tender 3,700 pax ashore.

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Dan- You're absolutuley right about the Grand Princess. I never once felt like I was on a mega-ship when I sailed her. She's beautifully designed. All the large public rooms ar broken up, have several levels and planned so that it was like several small rooms instead of one large room. They even achieved this in the dining room.

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