We are trying to decide on a cruise. Having never before cruised we are looking at the 7 day eastern Caribbean cruise or the 5 day western Caribbean cruise. Both by Carnival. I prefer the 7 day choice but wife is thinking the 5 day might be better for a starter. She’s really worried that herself and the kids (teenagers) will get sea sick. So, my question is this. Do the smaller older ships have stabilizers and is there more of a chance in getting sea sick on a smaller ship such as the Imagination as compared to a larger ship such as the Glory?
No differences. They all have stabilizers. I have never been able to tell much difference between ships regardless of size. When it comes to important things as far as ship handling - draft being a big factor - most cruise ships have similar handling characteristics.
Question for Dave:
Dave, I'm not familiar with the Carnival ships; what is the difference in GRT between the two that dhornick mentioned--Imagination and Glory.
I ask, not to be argumentative, but only to point out my experience has been somewhat different from yours.
The first ships I was on, the original Sun Princess and Island Princess were roughly 17k and 20k GRT and they sometimes "bobbed like corks", as we use to say, and not just in heavy seas. Compared to the Grand Princess and Sapphire Princess at 109k and116k GRT respectively, which most of the time you are not even aware you are on a ship.
So I guess what I'm asking is, what is the range in size in which you would not find much difference? Because the smaller ships I have been on are a lot more fun (yes, I like to feel the sea).
I've noticed little difference personally in ships of different sizes. If the seas are rough, you're going to feel it on any size ship, even with stabilizers. We were recently on the Carnival Triumph (same class as the Glory) and the first two days the sea was pretty heady. We rocked and rolled! Even walking down the corridors, you felt drunk even when sober! By the third day, the seas calmed and it was like being ashore in a hotel again.
Tip: Cabins on lower decks don't rock as much as cabins on upper decks and cabins amidship are more comfortable than fore and aft cabins in regards to motion discomfort.
One thing to note is that many people confuse GRT with displacement. A ship with 20k GRT does not weigh 20K tons. Actually, the larger ships such as Freedom Of The Seas, Carnival Glory, etc, have a large amount of "sail area" because of their physical size - think of those huge slab sides as sails. This causes them to be more affected by wind than smaller ships.
Some older ships simply had poor designs as compared to newer ships, and therefore rode like corks. Given the physics of the situation, sure, a smaller vessel will be more affected by large waves than will a larger vessel. But in sea conditions that are generally considered calm, vessel size is not a major factor. One of the worst cruises as far as ship rocking for us was the Carnival Legend. This was over New Year's two years ago. The seas were not bad but the trade winds were a steady 30 knots or more, and constantly abeam to our course and caused the ship to "bob like a cork" (all that sail area). A lower profile vessel would not have had the same problem.
Sometimes modifying the ship can ruin it's handling. The previous Westerdam is a good example. It was originally the Homeric for Home Lines. HAL bought it and stretched it. It rode like a wallowing pig after it was stretched.
I have found the amount of rocking of the ship depends on 2 factors - how rough the seas are and how fast the ship is moving (and the amount of force caused by the water it is displacing)
I sailed on the Victory in April 2006 on the Western Itinerary. It was a 7 day cruise that would have taken 5 days at full speed, so the ship was moving very slowly and I could not feel any rocking motion until we left our final port of call in Ocho Rios and then they really cranked the engines and could feel the ship rocking a bit
I noticed the same thing on my second trip on the Fascination to Nassau - it is a short hop to the Bahamas, so they move slowly in the daytime and faster at night
I havn't been on any 'small' ships. The smallest was the Spirit. I was on the Glory last time out and one night we had rough seas and my wife felt it a bit. However, Dramamine works, but best taken before you get sick. So if you or your wife have doubts of your seaworthyness take the stuff when you board. The ships infirmary has generic pills for free but bring your own, you don't want to be looking for the infirmary and getting a pack of pills when you could be up on the Lido deck listening to steel drums, dancing and having fun.
Green apples are much more appealing than sardines and mustard!
More comments on ship size and design: the draft is really important when it comes to how a ship rides. The Norway had a great ride. Why? Because is has a draft of 35 feet. That is 35 feet of ship below the water line. Modern cruise ships have lesser drafts - especially those built with Caribbean cruising in mind - since many ports can't handle deep draft ships. This was the reason Norway had to tender everywhere.
I served on three naval vessels. The first was a WW2 vintage destroyer. It rode like crap. It had an 18' draft. At full speed we actually had seawater coming over the fantail since the main deck sat so low in the water. The second ship was a nuclear powered cruiser - really just a large destroyer - and it had a 31' draft. The ride was good except when we had to ride in the troughs for missile targeting reasons. Then comes the USS Nimitz. 37' draft and displacing 97,000 tons. Rode like a Cadillac on an interstate.