Perhaps it is because over 70% of the world’s surface is covered with water that we have a natural draw towards it, and many of us naturally gravitate to it, usually the oceans, for our leisure and holiday time.
In Britain, as an island, perhaps we see things differently to the mid-west farmer, or the central Asian herder, who maybe have never seen the sea, but popularity figures speak for themselves, and especially for those who love water that much, they want to be surrounded by it and choose cruising for their holidays.
The days of the ocean liner per se, are long gone. To book a passage to New York, or to Cape Town, one books, not a berth, but a seat, on an aeroplane. The ocean liner, like the steam locomotion engine, is not part of today’s travel scene, but their descendants most certainly are.
The cruise liner is the leisure time queen of the seas, and for those who cannot or will not fly, a cruise of one sort or another can still convey passengers from seaport to seaport.
The cruise business is big business indeed, and the huge ocean liners of the past, become minnows when compared with today’s cruise ship behemoths. The ocean liners that plied commercial routes, such as the Atlantic crossing, were built to withstand the demanding conditions deep ocean voyages could throw at them.
The hulls were super strength to stand up to storm waves and pressures. The ships carried a deep keel for stability in deep water turmoil. Speed was highly important, and levels of luxury were not necessarily available to all classes.
As the aeroplane took over the business of crossing oceans, it was realised that cruise liners could be built in a very different fashion. Not having to face the mid-ocean pressures, these ships could be built with less dense and deep hulls and less powerful engines, allowing access to smaller ports, while supporting huge superstructures enabling far more passengers and crew to be accommodated.
These huge floating villages normally start and finish cruises in the same port, the most recognised, in the relatively sheltered waters of the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.
Not all today’s cruise ships are the safe-water giants, as many now, answering popular demand, cruise more hardy sea lanes, taking in fiords, perhaps Norwegian, perhaps New Zealand, or perhaps whale watching off the Alaskan coast, or off the wilds of Antarctica.
Around the world, the seven seas are ready to surround you with water, and cruise you almost anywhere you want to go.