Posted February 18th, 2018, 09:35 PM
I don't think I'd ever want to sail on a 400-500 passenger ship, as I believe ships that small (unless they are special-purpose cruises like expeditions etc) would cater overwhelmingly to couples. Not friends, not family, but married/romantic couples - and as I cruise solo I prefer a mix of passenger types. I'd love to hear I'm wrong, of course. And, I really prefer port-light transoceanic cruises, and I'm not sure I'd be as comfortable traveling across the ocean in that "small" a boat (re: rough seas).
You may have the wrong idea about small "ships" First, there are wonderful programs for people that are traveling "single" and there are plenty of people traveling with their "adult" (emphasis on adult) family. Although luxury cruise lines range from under 400 to over 700 guests, the experience is the same. Since there is open seating, many people (singles, friends, etc.) opt to sit at large tables where they can mix and mingle with other passengers.
Being mainly a Regent cruiser, we have done many transatlantic cruises on what you consider a small ship. Some are better than others but, for the most part, they handle the seas quite well (especially if you select a suite that is mid-ship). Being on a smaller ship means fewer lines, crowds, easier embarkation and disembarkation, etc. Regent passengers has the mix that you speak of. Couples, families, solos, people from other countries, etc. Since Regent includes some excursions in every port, this is yet another opportunity to mix and mingle with other passengers.
In my opinion, the most important part of being on a luxury cruise line is that there is no "class system" - everyone is treated the same once they are onboard the ship. And, passengers are so laid back - most talk about their traveling experience, the excursions they took that day, etc. They are a very friendly group. On the other hand, on longer itineraries and transatlantic cruises, the age skews rather high. This bothers some people but most of the passengers that I've met are upbeat and lots of fun!