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Dwindling Balcony Size

Dwindling Balcony Size
June 30th, 2013 5:44 pm     A+ | a-
Repeat cruisers love and anticipate when a new ship comes out.  After all, the ship itself is one of the main reasons that people love to cruise.  This year both the Norwegian Breakaway and the Royal Princess began sailing.  These ships are a new design for both cruise lines.  Repeat cruisers are finding that both ships, even though they offer new features and designs, have disappointed them.
 
Balcony size is one of the major complaints.  Many regular cruisers will spend hours hunting down the perfect balcony for the cruise.  The cruise lines are putting less emphasis on the balconies on the new builds and therefore cruisers are often left with limited choices for regular balconies and they are often very narrow and tight.
 
It is not that the cruise lines can not design larger balconies for these new ships.  It is that the cruise lines underestimate the value of larger balconies to repeat cruisers.  For many of these repeat cruisers, the balcony size is a deal breaker.  Based on balcony size alone, some repeat cruisers have decided to stay clear of these new ships.  There are plenty of other ships out there with much larger balconies.
 
It is disappointing that the cruise lines don't appreciate the value of certain features to repeat cruisers.  From their standpoint they prefer to say, "Look at all the other things we gave you instead."  However, for a repeat cruiser who loves to sail in a balcony cabin, the balcony is a haven.  It is the one place on the outside of the ship where they can claim as their own.  It is a place where they like to relax each day and sip a glass of wine, or read a book, while watching the sea go by.  It is a place to unwind and stretch out your legs.  But on these new ships, stretching the legs can be quite a challenge.
 
We often think that cruise lines will make the best choices for their passengers.  The truth is that they don't always.  Profit remains the number one motivator for a cruise line and the loyalty of repeat cruisers is only second place at best.  For the cruiser who knows what they want in a ship and will take a stand, I applaud.  It is only by speaking up and letting the cruise line know or choosing not to cruise these new ships, that the cruise lines might pay more attention to the needs of repeat cruisers and design even better ships in the future.

Years ago, it was very rare to find even one balcony on a cruise ship.  Cruise lines discovered the value of the balcony to the repeat cruiser and began building new ships with balconies.  Those balconies grew in size over the years and have become a factor in choosing a cruise ship to sail on.  Princess and Norwegian seem to be taking us back to a time when the balcony was not a factor.  Hopefully that trend will not continue.

Steve Millay, ACC
12 Comments:
cruise2sea
#1
July 4th, 2013 3:31 am
Princess really messed up on the new ship. They either got lazy or greedy. The ship has some neat design elements to it, but really is poorly designed in other areas. The lack of pools, the awkward aft lounger area, the lack of a forward viewing deck or public room, the split up promenade deck. These things are all a sign that Princess isn't doing a good job with ship design.
tobigforfun
#2
July 5th, 2013 3:49 pm
These mega ships are a joke. This is not cruising, it is not fun. Instead it like being stuck at a mall. A wall of people everywhere. These mega ships are giving cruising a bad name and frankly they will turn many away from ever cruising again. Cruise lines should go back to 90,000 to 110,000 ton size. Those seem to work the best.
everythingissmaller
#3
July 5th, 2013 3:54 pm
Everything is smaller on these massive ships. They have smaller pools, smaller balconies. They lack deck chairs, they lack seating in shows, they lack space in dining rooms. The cruise lines have gone mad and have created ugly ships in the process. I will never cruise on these large ships. I think Princess is going down hill fast. Norwegian has screwed up with all the new ship design since the Jewel class.
henry
#4
July 6th, 2013 1:15 pm
NCL and Princess need to leave the large ship business to Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean is the only cruise line that can do a big ship well. They don't cram the cabins together, they don't skimp on the balcony size, they provide plenty of pools and large hot tubs. Princess and NCL really have cheapen their product by building these mega ships that don't work for 4000 passengers.
turnedoff
#5
July 24th, 2013 10:34 pm
I really think the cruise lines who make these mega ships end up turning people off to cruising. They may entice people to get on the ship the first time. But in the end because the experience is lousy on these large ships, they make sure these people never cruise again. It is sad to see the industry turn to over-sized crowded cruise ships. I would love a cruise line that would keep the size smaller and increase the space ratio and number of pools. Stop treating us like a herd of cattle!!!
Big Al
#6
August 5th, 2013 6:55 am
Funny how inside cabins & outside window cabins have not shrunk...balconies for us give us a connection to the sea that other types of cabins don't have. I also LOVE the fact that we don't have to fight for a space on the crowded sun deck- I have a reserved space right here on my balcony...I don't like balconies under 45 square feet...new ships by NCL & Princess have then around 32-35 square feet..my friend was on the Breakaway, and although he liked it, he said the balcony was too small...he said you could not even face your chair directly towards the sea, you had to sit sideways because it was too narrow..and yes, why on earth do these cruise lines with 3500-6000 passengers build pools for about 50 people?? Not to mention the water is freezing 90% of the time..at least on RCI's Oasis ships, they have 8 pools scattered all along deck 15....RCI has announced that the new Quantum class will have BIGGER cabins and decent balconies..I applaud that...on my recent Liberty Of The Seas cruise, we had a cabin with a 58 SF balcony- unlike the new ships, my wife & I were able to have breakfast on our balcony..one of our favorite things to do on a cruise....
Chuck D.
#7
November 22nd, 2013 6:34 pm
Senior management and executives at Princess and NCL certainly spent a great deal of time studying and planning before they confirmed the architecture. What were they thinking; that they are out of touch with their customers.
Kmac
#8
February 22nd, 2014 7:24 pm
What IS the deal with the pools on these ships ? On a sea day everyone is cramed in 1 maybe 2 pools and no one can move...! Why have so many people on your ships if you can't accommodate half of the favorite thing on the cruise SUN AND WATER !!

Please you guys need to fix this ..stop building MEGA SHIPS and fix the ones people enjoy being on or can afford to be on. The price for the mega ships are Crazy !

Also I'm told all the pools have heaters. Well Warm them up for gods sake.. You can see half the people want to get in , but it's to Damn cold!
rick91
#9
April 17th, 2014 1:42 pm
I will consider an ocean view cabin on a 5 night or less cruise. It is always a balcony or better on a 7+ night cruise and it comes to balconies 45-50 sq ft is marginal. Anything under 45 sq ft doesn't even get considered.
LeeRB
#10
August 27th, 2014 9:52 pm
I am booked out on the Royal Princess in Sept 15 during the Lunar Super Eclipse. After doing a lot of research; it was the cruise that best met my requirements to try and get pictures of that eclipse.

I went into the booking knowing about the dinky balconies, but was lucky enough to get a cabin with one of those odd shaped over sized balconies in the middle of the ship. Since I am flying solo, it should be large enough to get the pictures I want, weather permitting.

After that cruise I will be going back to my normal standards for balcony size and probably not be sailing on that ship again.
DonEisen
#11
September 26th, 2014 4:29 pm
My wife and I booked and put a deposit down on a Caribbean cruise to celebrate our anniversary on board Royal Princess. We have cruised 7 times on Princess Grand/Crown class ships. We love them. After reading on line all of the negative reviews about Royal (smaller balconies, fewer pools, lack of elevators) we cancelled. We have adjusted our dates a bit and will be sailing on the Ruby Princess. We look forward to that but will never sail on Royal or Regal. Wake up Princess.
JuliaJoy
#12
September 15th, 2016 2:26 pm
Very sad that cruise lines seem to feel 'more is better' ... it's not necessarily, not when it comes to a really enjoyable trip. Our first cruise was on the old Crown Princess in 2001 (1,596 passengers); then ms Amsterdam (1,380); Sun Princess (2,010); Norwegian Dawn (2,340); Norwegian Star (2,348); Tahitian Princess (max 826); Royal Princess (777); Ocean Princess (826); and Pacific Princess (826).

The first cruise was a good one, the ship felt spacious and not too crowded, lots of fun. Amsterdam and Sun Princess were also good trips, but the two Norwegians were crowded - and EVERYWHERE was NOISY! Noise from one section (bingo in the forward lounge, say) competed with noise from the next area - like being in a department store. Since then all our cruises have been on Princess' small ships.

We like the small ships; they may be too quiet and perhaps 'stuffy' for many cruisers, and not offer attractions like a climbing wall or zipline, but they suit us. It's great to meet people you like and know that you'll encounter them many times during the trip. These ships also seem to have a larger proportion of non-USA passengers, and I really enjoy meeting them (and crew members) and finding out about their lives and countries.

We've cruised in a window stateroom, a balcony (decent size), a stern suite with double-width balcony, and a Garden Villa on Norwegian Dawn - which was FABULOUS even though the ship atmosphere wasn't that enticing (just a balcony stateroom on Norwegian Star, with crowded balcony). We choose suites on the small ships as we spend so much time in the cabin, so a balcony is extremely important to us; for us that's a deal-breaker in choosing what line to cruise on - or whether to cruise at all. Hopefully the cruise line owners/managers will get the message that people who choose a balcony stateroom WANT a decent balcony. As mentioned above, on most ships it would be the only space for peace and quiet with sun and ocean views. Hear us, cruise lines!
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