I got the opposite impression. Because they could break up into small groups and not be anywhere near communication range with each other, it made the ship feel big to me.I think Dark worked because the characters where never much in a place where there would be large crowds.
1899 felt off because the ship never felt BIG. Other than a single scene in the fancy dining hall there never seemed to be more than 15 or so people in any shot.
It's not bad, but I'd recommend a lot of movies/shows before it.
EDIT - Actually both big and claustrophobic, at the same time.