5 Reasons You Should Consider an Older Ship

by Aaron Saunders

5 Reasons You Should Consider an Older Ship

by Aaron Saunders

When it comes to cruising, the buzz is always about the newest ships. These bigger, better ships often carry more people — and offer more attractions — than your local theme park. But like a great '80’s hit that’s gone around the sun a few times, older cruise ships are suddenly becoming popular again. The reason? Many cruise lines are embarking on ambitious refits to help their older vessels look their best, and these well-loved ships tend to attract a loyal following of experienced cruisers. Here are five reasons you should consider sailing on one of these ships for your next cruise vacation:

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Is an older ship for you? / Princess Cruises
Carnival Imagination's Serenity Lounge
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1. Better Rates

Right off the bat, your per day rates tend to be lower on an older ship, compared to a newer ship operating a similar itinerary. Why? The newest cruise ships always have buzz about their cool new features (picture giant sliding boards and that drives demand up which naturally drives the price up. But the fact remains that a ship launched a decade (or two) ago can offer a great cruise experience to the same ports of call for, in most cases, far less money. We’ve even seen ocean-view staterooms on newer ships going for the price of a mini-suite on older ships on some Caribbean runs.

Right off the bat, your per day rates tend to be lower on an older ship, compared to a newer ship operating a similar itinerary. Why? The newest cruise ships always have buzz about their cool new features (picture giant sliding boards and that drives demand up which naturally drives the price up. But the fact remains that a ship launched a decade (or two) ago can offer a great cruise experience to the same ports of call for, in most cases, far less money. We’ve even seen ocean-view staterooms on newer ships going for the price of a mini-suite on older ships on some Caribbean runs.

Oceania Regatta in Quebec City
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2. Short Cruises, Long Cruises

Tired of the seven-day run to the Caribbean? Older ships typically offer more variety, as newer ships take up the prime runs (think seven days to the Eastern Caribbean out of Miami). That leaves older ships to operate shorter weekend jaunts to the Bahamas, or longer runs to more exotic destinations. So whether you’re looking for a five-day run to Bermuda or an 11-day journey through Canada and New England, older vessels tend to offer more varied itineraries. 

Tired of the seven-day run to the Caribbean? Older ships typically offer more variety, as newer ships take up the prime runs (think seven days to the Eastern Caribbean out of Miami). That leaves older ships to operate shorter weekend jaunts to the Bahamas, or longer runs to more exotic destinations. So whether you’re looking for a five-day run to Bermuda or an 11-day journey through Canada and New England, older vessels tend to offer more varied itineraries. 

Norwegian Sky cruising to Cuba
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3. Interesting Itineraries

Cruise lines can’t afford to take their latest-and-greatest off the staple runs that they know will make them money, so they experiment more with their existing fleet. Royal Caribbean did this when it sent Empress of the Seas to Cuba as did Norwegian Cruise Line with Norwegian Sky. Carnival Cruise Line followed suit by sending the 1998-built Carnival Paradise on a similar run. 

Cruise lines can’t afford to take their latest-and-greatest off the staple runs that they know will make them money, so they experiment more with their existing fleet. Royal Caribbean did this when it sent Empress of the Seas to Cuba as did Norwegian Cruise Line with Norwegian Sky. Carnival Cruise Line followed suit by sending the 1998-built Carnival Paradise on a similar run. 

Prinsendam in Istanbul
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4. Loyal Guests

Holland America Line’s Prinsendam, built in 1988 as Royal Viking Sun, specializes in long itineraries to exotic ports of call around the world. As a result, Prinsendam has built up a following. We notice that when we sail on a tried-and-true ship, like Prinsendam, that there’s a feeling of community that’s tough to replicate. Even on Royal Caribbean’s older Majesty of the Seas you’ll encounter folks who have been sailing aboard her for two decades, and there’s something intangibly comfortable about a ship when people feel at home onboard.

Holland America Line’s Prinsendam, built in 1988 as Royal Viking Sun, specializes in long itineraries to exotic ports of call around the world. As a result, Prinsendam has built up a following. We notice that when we sail on a tried-and-true ship, like Prinsendam, that there’s a feeling of community that’s tough to replicate. Even on Royal Caribbean’s older Majesty of the Seas you’ll encounter folks who have been sailing aboard her for two decades, and there’s something intangibly comfortable about a ship when people feel at home onboard.

String quartet
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5. Nostalgia

Older ships tend to be smaller. They carry fewer passengers. And they typically offer more than a healthy dose of how cruising “used to be,” from shuffle board courts to popular card rooms and even nautically inspired decor. If you’re looking for all the latest bells-and-whistles, this may not be for you. But if you prize windowed observation lounges and quiet nooks and crannies, these ships may just delight you.

Older ships tend to be smaller. They carry fewer passengers. And they typically offer more than a healthy dose of how cruising “used to be,” from shuffle board courts to popular card rooms and even nautically inspired decor. If you’re looking for all the latest bells-and-whistles, this may not be for you. But if you prize windowed observation lounges and quiet nooks and crannies, these ships may just delight you.

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