We have categorised Resort cruise ships as those carrying more than 3,000 passengers of which there are more than 50 in service around the world with many more to come. The Resort style cruise ship is the future with the majority of cruise companies now ordering and building cruise ships with capacity for between 4,000 and 6,000 passengers.
Resort style ships currently in service, average 3,660 passengers and will typically carry 2.5 passengers to every crew member with a larger than average space ratio of 36 (cubic feet) – although smaller ships have a higher space ratio – typically because most are at the luxury end of the market. A space ratio gives you a flavour of how much enclosed public space there is on a ship by dividing the Gross tonnage of a ships by the number of passengers. So a ship size of 90,000 gross tonnage with 3,000 passengers would have a space ratio of 30.
As the name implies this is a virtual floating resort and increasingly, the ship is being seen as a destination in itself. These new mega ships will offer a great variety of entertainment and activities as well as a number of restaurant options - usually over 20. There will be casinos, bars, nightclubs and theatres, luxury spas - entertainment to suit all moods all tastes.
Generally resort ships are preferred by families and younger clientele, as the price is often lower and there are dedicated programmes tailored for children as well as good sized swimming pools, often with some fun water features. You may be assigned a tables in the dining room and buffets can be crowded at peak times but with so many specialist restaurants to try, you can avoid this. There will be a dining experience to tempt every palate and all cruise lines are really upping their game when it comes to gastronomy. Service will probably be more impersonal unless you choose one of the ‘ship within a ship’ concepts such as Norwegian Cruise Line’s Haven or MSC’s Yacht Club which offer you personal service more akin to a smaller ship.
You are less likely to meet fellow travellers every evening because of the diversity of dining and entertainment facilities. A quiet spot for a deck loungers may be in short supply but with so much to do, you probably won’t want to just lie down. Bigger ships used to have a reputation for longer embarkation/disembarkation and tendering but these issues are being addressed both ships side and port side now.
One of the challenges larger ships can have is finding ports to accommodate their size. This means some itineraries may be rotated or have limited ports of call. However they will still tend to have the most popular and iconic ports and destinations. These magnificent ships have so much to offer though, the cruise itinerary may become secondary to the activities on the ship.
The brands offering Resort style ships are typically Royal Caribbean, MSC, Norwegian Cruise Line together with some Princess and Carnival Cruise ships and of course P&O’s Britannia.