46 Fascinating Cruise Facts
Though cruises are now seen as the pinnacle of luxury vacation by many, the multibillion-dollar cruise industry was originally born out of necessity. Serving as the primary means of trans-continental passage in the early 1800s, cruise ships moved cargo and ferried immigrants across the Atlantic for years before modern cruise lines took shape.
As transport was initially the main objective, conditions were less than glamorous. In the early 1840s, one of the first “amenities” offered by Cunard’s steamship, Britannia, was the addition of a cow that supplied passengers with fresh milk and three cats to keep the rats away. Later, faced with competition from air travel, cruise companies were forced to evolve; catering to passenger comforts and more emphasis on the voyage itself. Fast forward to today, wayfarers can opt to watch a movie in 4D, drink a molecularly-enhanced cocktail, or ice skate over the Mediterranean.
A recent outlook released by The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) projects a significant increase in cruise travel next year, with an expected 25.3 million travelers worldwide, up from 24.2 million in 2016; and almost a 200% increase since 2007’s 9.5 million. This continued growth shows no signs of decline in what is projected to grow to a $57 billion industry by 2027.
Often forgotten, an industry this big certainly has its own secrets and subculture. As we glide into fall, Stacker has dug up some of the most interesting facts about the industry, its evolution, and inner-workings. We’ve consulted cruise data, historical texts, and industry experts to compile the most interesting factoids that surround this thriving, niche industry.
#46. Cruise Ships Have Morgues
Most travelers don’t labor over the ominous possibility of death while booking a vacation, but as history has shown, death doesn’t discriminate. What happens to the suddenly deceased aboard cruise ships far from port? Some crews will use the phrase “Operation Rising Star” to signal the death of a passenger. According to Cruise Critic, by law all cruise liners are required to keep body bags onboard and maintain morgues to house the deceased until the nearest port is reached and the body can be repatriated in accordance with the docking nation’s laws.
#45. A Titanic Replica Is Set To Take New Passengers in 2019
Perhaps the most iconic cruise ship of all time, the RMS Titanic has been reimagined. The main attraction of the forthcoming Romandisea Resort in Sichuan, China, the replica’s designers have labored over the exact details of the original in an attempt to accurately depict everything from the light fixtures to the original European cuisine. Su Shaojun, one of the ship’s financiers told The China Daily, "Many blueprint fragments found their way into the hands of collectors or remained missing. We spent many years collecting the blueprints from many parts of the world and managed to obtain most of them." Passengers can expect to pay around $400 a night for an economy cabin and into the thousands for more luxury accommodations.
#44. Mark Twain Boosted The Early Cruise Industry
In 1869, Samuel Clemens (under the pen name Mark Twain) wrote the most notable book of his career, The Innocents Abroad, a candid depiction of his five month voyage from Europe to Jerusalem onboard the Quaker City. The release of the book changed the face of travel writing and sparked major interest in “pleasure cruising” after the American Civil War.
#43. Men Prefer Cruises
It’s hard to say why men are more often lured by cruise travel over women, but recent findings have shown this to be true. During a Statista study done in April of this year, regular travelers were asked, "How likely are you to go on a cruise in the next two years?" Of the 965 respondents, 41% of men answered “Very likely” compared to only 26% of women. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) also released its consumer outlook which revealed that 74% of men showed general interest in cruising compared to just 54% of women.
#42. Don’t Forget Your Magnets
According to Cruise Critic, while the walls of your cabin may not look magnetic, they function like a big refrigerator door. Since a ship is essentially a sailing metal entity, passengers can stick conventional magnets around their cabin to display appointments, itinerary notes, or personal decor to make that cozy room feel more like home on longer voyages.
#41. Launching a Cruise Liner
Throughout history seafarers have sacrificed fine wine, animals and even their fellow man to invite good luck and safe voyage aboard new ships. In 1891, Queen Victoria smashed a bottle of champagne - the more aristocratic option - against the HMS Royal Arthur and it’s remained the tradition of choice ever since. Due to the pressure inside, it’s fairly difficult to smash a bottle of champagne, but failure to do so is often seen as a bad omen. In 2007, The Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla) failed to break a bottle of champagne against the Queen Victoria and nearly 80 passengers came down with Norovirus during the ship’s maiden voyage, later coined the “The Curse of Camilla.”
#40. Talking In Code
While each ship line has their preferred jargon, many crews share the same secret code names and terms for people, places, and events onboard. According to Cruise Critic, an FOD or “Friends of Dorothy” meeting is a covert invitation for members of the LGBTQ community to mingle with other like minded passengers aboard the ship. Coined after Alcoholic Anonymous founder William Wilson, “Friends of Bill” signals an AA meeting for cruisers seeking support and anonymity.
#39. The Amenities Keep Getting Bigger
While a small number of cruise companies dominate the market, it remains a competitive industry. Onboard amusement parks, ice rinks, and live concerts have become the norm, and each year new amenities and extravagances are added to up the ante. Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 has it’s very own planetarium, Carnival Vista has an-800 foot SkyRide cycling track, and this year Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of The Seas will introduce the first sky-diving simulator at sea.
#38. Rise of Celebrity Chefs
As society has become increasingly food conscious, cruise ships have had to retire the troth-style dining days of ol’ in exchange for more gastronomic options. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) attributed a recent spike in cruise sales among millennials to the rise in celebrity chefs serving up their famous fares onboard. Some notable restaurateurs include Guy Fieri, Angelo Auriana and Jose Garces among others.
#37. Retiring At Sea
More and more seniors opt to spend their final days at sea as the cost of living is comparable to constant cruising. This year, the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research revealed the average cost of assisted living facilities at $3,500/month, while permanent stay in a nursing home at around $7,000/month. A savvy cruiser can find voyages that average just $50/night, and while they don’t (yet) offer medical assistance, healthy seniors can retire at sea with fewer expenses than they’d have to maintain on land. The World offers permanent “residences at sea,” but this option comes at a cost; studios and apartments range anywhere from $1 million to $13 million.2018 All rights reserved.