A Prospective Captain

I’m currently in the process of acquiring a ship, and I was wondering if there’s really any difference between them? Other than the Bizzare or Respectable bonus?

Eh. They each unlock a nice card or two, or a couple of options on other cards, while out on the Unterzee. But they’re definitely luxuries, and probably not worth the expense of acquiring in the first place.

I’d strongly recommend the Tramp Steamer for your first ship, and then upgrade later. Sometime when you’re not in a big hurry.

Well, the Tramp Steamer is by far the cheapest, the Zee Clipper has a Card dedicated to it, while you are at Zee, to gain progress, and unlocks other cards useful to gain progress.[li]
The Zubmarine is worth a +1 Point to Bizarre, so it is also useful in London. At Zee you’ll have some opportunities to submerge and observe what hides under the Zee.
The Yatch is worth +2 Points of Respectable and also unlocks some cards. Getting it costs a little fortune, also.
People who possess Zubmarines and Yachts can tell you more on that, I found the Zee Clipper to my liking, but your taste and needs may differ.
You will need to get rid of your ship if you’ll want to get another, in the future, as you can only possess one.

The Clipper is fairly painless to acquire if you spend some time as an Enforcer and collect your weekly rewards, so depending on how soon you want to go to zee, this could be a good option.

I can’t comment on the difficulty of getting a yacht, but I can say that it isn’t really that useful once you’re out to zee. It stops one menace card from being a problem and gives a nice boost to one card in the zee of voices, but generally it won’t help you get to your destination any quicker.

On the other hand, zailing doesn’t take THAT much time and the zee menaces aren’t that nasty to deal with as long you’re sensible, so the +2 rep is actually pretty nice.

The best single bonus you can have for zee travel is a five-card lodging at home.

Well, the Yacht is not terribly fast in conparison to the other twom but is does give more BDR and adds a nicely profitable option to “A Steamer Full of Passengers” and an opportunity card that provides 1x Sapphire, 50x Drops of Prisoner’s Honey, and 10x Relcis of the FOurth City.

The Yacht wasn’t inexpensive, but I really enjoy mine. And seem to get its opportunity card that nets the items listed above with a regular frequency.

When you’re actually zailing, the clipper seems to be the best to have. When you’re in London, the Yacht seems to be the best to have. The Zub helps a little bit either way.

Clipper is the best. I’ve had all three, started with Clipper, went to the Yacht,currently have the Zub. I’d go back to the Clipper in a heartbeat if I didn’t have to go through the whole process again, but I’m currently trying to grind for an overgoat so I’m not concerned too much with zailing.

Can’t speak about other ships, but I LOVE the process of acquiring the yacht. Sure, it’s a luck check and you may lose quite a bit, but I get to win with a freaking TENHO hand in mahjong. And I love the FL translation of that. Heaven’s Mandate! Do you realise how RARE that is in RL? You practically have to cheat in order to get that! And it’s only HEAVEN if you are the dealer! (It’s Earth otherwise)[li]

As far as I remember, even Mahjong God Akagi didn’t get this.
edited by Lumyire on 4/7/2014

The Zub is nice for the BDR points, but the text it unlocks at zee is far less interesting than I was hoping. The clipper is relatively cheap and fast – unless you need one of the others for a specific purpose don’t bother with anything else.

I somewhat regret the imbalance in BDR points - or conversely, occasionally appreciate the yacht on the alt to whom it belongs. So I would advise against the clipper on that ground; the Zub is only +1 Bizarre but is also just cool :-)