For cruise-ship lovers, bigger can be better...but not always.
For cruise-ship lovers, bigger can be better...but not always. Gary Gerovac/Masterfile

I’d been on the world’s longest megaliner, Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, for two days shortly after its maiden voyage in December 2010. As I rode a glass elevator up, up, up through the ship’s expansive atrium, two women chatted about how much they loved the ship.

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“You know,” one excitedly said, “I haven’t even seen the ocean yet!”

To some, that might be the ultimate indictment of the new trend toward cruise ships such as the Allure, which could contain almost five Titanics. But for those women, sailing the Caribbean on a floating megalopolis (that atrium, named Central Park, boasts a tree-studded football-field-size glen with a meandering path) was perfect.

I long ago decided that when you figure in the costs of lodging, food and transportation, cruising is by far the most economical way to see the world in comfort — even with a family in tow. What’s more, because cruise ships come in all shapes and sizes, if you scan the horizon long enough, you’ll spot a vessel that’s perfect for you.