HMS Cardiff

Things You Did Not Know About Cruise Ships

There are some things that pop into one’s mind when saying words such as “extravagance”, “sea”, and “entertainment”. One of these would be a cruise on a large ship. Before starting to portray yourself sunbathing and having a fancy cocktail, you may be wondering how did all come to this.

The Beginnings

Leisure cruising stretches as far back in history as the beginning of the 19th century. It is the Peninsular & Oriental Navigation Company that gave birth to passenger cruising services in 1844. The first tours ever made transported travellers from Southampton to destinations like Malta, Athens or Gibraltar. Even though at the beginning only the aristocracy could afford a cruise, the conditions were far from the luxury we are used to see today. It was not until 1889 that electric lights were introduced on a ship!

Since then, the practice of luxury steadily grew to the point that services included fine dining and well-furnished staterooms. Of course Titanic is renowned for its passenger facilities. It is the first ship to convey the impression that passengers were accommodated in a floating hotel. The First Class was equipped with a swimming pool, a gym, an electric bath and a café.

The mid-20th century forced the cruise business to take a step even further. As jet aircrafts gained popularity, new ways of keeping clients interested had to be found. Thus, the development of “megaship” cruising. Today’s ships are often described as “balcony-laden floating condominiums”. Oasis of the Seas holds the record for the world’s largest cruiser. It’s so massive it has its own replica of Manhattan’s Central Park!

It is true that the era of ocean liners is long gone, but cruise ships seem they are here to stay for now. As one can observe, technology enables man to accomplish his wildest dreams – even if that means piloting a floating “island”.