The Smaller Cruise Ship World

A large body of water with a city in the background

Cruise ships are massive passenger ships, often used mostly for vacationing. Unlike ocean liner ships, which are primarily used for transportation, they tend to embark on multiple round-trip journeys to several ports of call, in which passengers can then head on tours called “shore trips.” Cruises can be either an individual vacation or a group holiday. The length of a cruise ship’s journey may vary depending on the destination and the size of the ship.

While some cruise ships have gone into drydock in a number of locations around the world, most cruise ships leave port with guests onboard and proceed on to their ultimate destinations. All standard cruise ship amenities are provided onboard. In most cases, these include air-conditioning (with temperature controls in most rooms), elevators, widescreen TVs in all guest areas, cruise ship casinos, internet access, and meeting facilities for activities such as sports and parties. While many destinations have their own restaurants, all meals are usually served on Deck 6, the formal dining deck located above the salon area on Deck 8. While most staterooms have full-sized beds, daybeds and lounges may be provided.

Cruise Ship

A large ship in a body of water

Each guest will receive a map of their room upon arrival, as well as a list of the things they need to bring on board. Meals are generally provided in the dining room, but sometimes other areas will have onboard catering services. When going on shore, guests may be able to access the guest services offered by the cruise ship’s staff at reception desks located near stateroom floors. These services vary from place to place. Some offer full service on the ship, while others focus on shore excursions and shopping opportunities.

The most popular activities on a cruise ship include visiting ports around the world. Cruise ship crews are very familiar with local customs, transportation methods, and budgeting tricks of the locals. All amenities on an onboard ship are subject to change according to what is convenient to the guest. However, all dining options are located near the dining room onboard.

Smallest Cruise Ship

A boat is docked next to a body of water

As mentioned above, all stateroom amenities are available on these large ships. However, the majority of dining options have been centralized around the dining rooms on larger ships. There are also smaller, more casual restaurants located near the bars, decks, and pool decks on smaller cruise lines. Many of these restaurants cater to children and families.

A few drawbacks to these types of cruises are the long periods of time that passengers spend on the port. While some cruise ships provide entertainment activities for after the ship docks, most passengers will not be permitted to leave the ship. If one of these cruise ships were to allow passengers to leave at any time, it would severely reduce the number of people on board each day. For this reason, most cruise ships place restrictions on who may leave and go onshore and how long they may stay ashore. Some even put limits on when passengers may eat while onboard!


Although smaller cruise ships do leave longer, more centrally located harbors, the majority of cruise ships sail to different parts of the world. Because of this, passengers on ocean liner ferries rarely see the same sights that passengers on a larger ship may. It is not uncommon for people on an ocean liner to only see the sun and the clouds for two hours or so per day.

Summing Up

Ocean Liner cruise ships are much smaller than their alternative counterparts. They generally only carry about 200 or fewer guests. This lower number makes it harder for companies to find a place to pack everyone in. In addition, when these cruise ships are leaving from the middle of the Pacific to Alaska or from Florida to Canada, most passengers are to be boarded onto an onboard ship. Because of this, there is a greater chance that people will have an opportunity to interact with one another.

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