There is a lot to be said for smaller ships. We had two great cruises recently aboard some older Royal Caribbean ships that hold fewer people, as well as a great cruise last summer on the Carnival Elation. In all 3 cases the ships are similar in size...around 2000 or so passengers.
The bad news for those who use mainstream cruise lines is that the trend is to higher density ships. Royal Caribbean's newest design - not yet built - will be around the same size ship as the Freedom-class but will hold more passengers at double occupancy. Look at the Norwegian Epic for some perspective.