Cruise ship

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MV Pride of Aloha docked in Port of Nāwiliwili, Kaua‘i in the Hawaiian Islands

A cruise ship, or less commonly cruise liner, is a passenger ship used for pleasure voyages, where the voyage itself and the amenities of the ship are considered an essential part of the experience.

Cruising has become a major part of the tourism industry, with hundreds of thousands of passengers each year as of 2004. The rapid growth of the industry has seen nine or more new-build ships catering to a North American clientele added in each of 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004.

The practice grew gradually out of the transatlantic crossing tradition, which despite the best efforts of engineers and sailors into the mid-20th century, rarely took less than about four days. In the competition for passengers, ocean liners added many luxuries - most famously seen in the Titanic, but also available in other ships - fine dining, well-appointed staterooms, and so forth.

In the late 19th century, Albert Ballin, director of the Hamburg-America Line was the first to make a regular practice of sending his transatlantic ships out on long southern cruises during the worst of the winter season of the North Atlantic. Other companies followed suit. Some of them built specialized ships which were made for easy transformation between summer crossings and winter cruising.

With the advent of large passenger jet aircraft in the 1960s, nearly all travellers switched from ships to planes, but there were some who actually enjoyed the few days of enforced idleness, so while the ocean liner transport business crashed, the cruising voyages never stopped altogether.

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Later other cruises were introduced, such as to the islands of the Caribbean, and through the Mediterranean, and new ships were built to accommodate the growing demand.

The 1970s television show The Love Boat, featuring Princess Cruises' since-sold ship Pacific Princess, did much to raise awareness of cruises as a vacation option for ordinary people in the United States.

As of 2004, several hundred cruise ships, some carrying over 3,000 passengers, and displacing over 100,000 tons - placing them among the largest ships ever built - ply routes all over the world. For certain destinations, such as Antarctica, cruise ships are very nearly the only way for tourists to visit.

Present-day cruise ships are organized much like floating hotels, with a complete "hospitality staff" in addition to the usual ship's crew. It is not uncommon for the most luxurious ships to have more crew/staff than passengers.

As with any vessel, adequate provisioning is crucial, on a cruise ship consuming several thousand meals each seating, three times a day even more so. The amount of food and beverages consumed by a cruise ship on an average 7 day voyage is staggering.

Many older cruise ships have had multiple owners over their lifetimes. Since each cruise line has its own livery and often a naming theme (for instance, Holland America ships have names ending in "dam"), it is usual for the transfer of ownership to entail a refitting and name change. Some ships have had a dozen or more identities.

See also


  • Douglas Ward, Berlitz Ocean Cruising and Cruise Ships, published annually, with extensive background in addition to ship descriptions and ratings

External links

ja:クルーズ客船 nl:Cruiseschip


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