Having just came off the Explorer and looking at the way RCI are going making larger and larger ships all the time, I'd like to know if they every intend to make go sub 100k again.
These large ship are nice and great way of "hooking" new cruisers with all the bell and whistles, however I'd like to see RCI produce a smaller newer vessel for people who have cruised before and don't want to sail on an older ship to experience what cruising is all about, not just ice skating and golfing etc.
I realise there is the Vision class and Radiance class, but the last one launched was 2002, and it looks like they won't make these type of ships again.
So what's all your option?
The Genisis class ships will be even larger that the Freedom class. To me, it doesn't look like they'll ever build anything smaller again. They just spent millions refurbishing the Sovereign class ship. Soon there will only be the Majesty and Monarch left of those class ships.
I don't expect RCCL to build any new vessels that are smaller. If the Azamara brand is successful for them, I can see them investing in new small ships for that brand and possibly for their Celebrity line. RCCL is moving more and more toward the ship bieng the destination. I personally like the floating cities. I love the ice shows and constant entertainment options. I like their food and service as well. If I want something different occasionally, I book with another line. I do like variety as well.
Yes, RCI's niche is the mega-ship and they will stay with it. I don't see them getting any larger than the Genesis class, but also don't see them going any smaller than the Voyager class again. Branding is the important factor. Celebrity and Azamara will handle those who want a different experience.
If you haven't already then I suggest that you treat yourself to the 'Radiance' class ships. My personal favorite is Brilliance of the Seas. I've been on the bigger ships just to say that I've tried them but in the end, like you, I prefer the smaller ship. While the Brilliance is not exactly "small" in terms of physical dimensions, compared to her larger sisters, she just has a 'better' feel to her.
While everyone has personal choices on what they desire, I for one could care less about ice skating, rock climbing or surfing onboard. For me it's about getting away from the masses of people that drive me crazy on land to begin with. Why sail with them? I just want to sleep in, eat, drink, get a massage, do nothing, etc.
Anyway, again the Radiance class ships are really nice and seem to be geared towards the experienced, educated crusier compared to the bigger ships that are used to lure in the first time cruiser.
Having been on both the AOS and ROS, I must say, I did not find the AOS to be any more crowded than the ROS. In fact, I'm pretty sure that on the Adventure, my wife and I never had trouble finding a public place on the ship to be alone. I will say that while in the Rhapsody, we did miss the Royal Promenade. The indoor mall just adds a character to the ship that the smaller ships don't have.
We were on the Voyager of the Seas last March and she was just the right size...bigger isn't always better....but then again...any ship is the right size while you are cruising on it...Happy Cruising to one and All...