On cruise

Since the first notions of floating hotels and state yachts took root in the nineteenth century, deep-sea ships have been viewed as being capable of providing round-trip pleasure voyages as an alternative to their original role of offering swift and reliable passages across the world's oceans seas.
 Although some notable early ships were specifically fitted out for cruise services alone, sometimes only on a seasonal basis, the mainstream of passenger shipping activity continued to stress line services. Cruising was seen by many as essentially a diversion to keep ships and crews busy during the off-season of their regular trades

The imperial yacht HOHENZOLLERN built in 1892 at Stettin (Vulcanwerft) 116 m long  and 14 m width, 21.5 knots, 9500 hp, the ship had sailed over 1600 days until the WW1, with the Kaiser Wilhelm II on board ; she will be broken in 1923. She will serve as model to the liner PRINZESSIN VICTORIA LUISE. 

DANNEBROG, royal yacht built in 1931 at Copenhagen is used as royal residence when the sovereigns are visiting foreign countries and during summer cruises in the Danish waters.
2 B&W diesels coupled with 2 screws give a speed of 14 knots. 

The 1920/1930 years will see the first developments of cruising activity with liners used for some cruises.

The Compagnie Maritime Belge (C.M.B.) contributes to the development of exchanges with Belgian Congo and orders in 1928 to Ateliers et Chantiers de la Loire ALBERTVILLE, reconverted in cruise ship.

The liner ANDES, built for 1330 passengers (in 3 classes) in 1913, becomes ATLANTIS in 1929 with 450 passengers in single class.

176.6 m long, MONARCH of BERMUDA is built in 1931 by Vickers-Armstrongs Shipbuilders Ltd, in the Newcastle-upon-Tyne for the service New York - Bermuda; with two classes of passengers and a limited freight capacity, she is addressed largely to customers of holidays, just like in 1933, QUEEN BERMUDA -22,575 T cruises from Miami. QUEEN of NASSAU, built in 1926, links Boston to Yarmouth the summer, and cruises the winter from Nassau. She will sail until 1966.

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Cover of SS America

ARANDORA STAR, one of the most popular vessels of cruising of the Thirties, accommodates 400 passengers. Planned for the North Atlantic, on August 10th, 1940 SS AMERICA starts a career between New York and the Antilles which will continue after 1964 under Chandris flag (as Australis: 2300 passengers in single class)
WILHELM GUSTLOFF is one of the first ships built as from 1934 in a programme of maritime voyages for deserving workers:
195 m long, 1465 passengers in single class ; her speed was limited to 15 knotsso that the passengers can benefit from the entertaining equipment on board.

After having been used as floating hospital, on January 30th, 1945, she leaves Gdynia (Poland) for Kiel with 173 crew, to evacuate many soldiers as well as civilians refugees before being torpedoed by a Soviet submarine; 1216 survivors returned but 6000 to 10000 people perished.

During her service on the Atlantic run, CARONIA passengers were divided into First and Cabin class. On her many cruises, however, Caronia was converted into a single-class ship and an extremely luxurious one at that.

In 1949, for Cunard, CARONIA must be attractive for cruise without reducing its utility in the transatlantic service. After maiden voyage on January 4th, she links together 4 cruises in the Caribbean. Divided into 1st and cabins, CARONIA is converted for cruises into single ship of class. In 1956 Cunard brings into service on the road from Liverpool in Montreal SYLVANIA; used as from 1967 completely in cruises; after several name changes, under the name of ALBATROSS she sails until 2003.

The years 50/60 will see the construction of prestigious units, planned for the line and cruises like FRANCE (started in 1957, launched in 1960) CANBERRA (1960) or QUEEN ELIZABETH 2, ordered in 1964, inaugurated in 1969 and always in activity in 2006. However, competition of the plane is strong increasingly and the regular maritime lines of passengers will close. The old liners are reconverted in single class.

Messageries Maritimes TAHITIEN is sold in 1972 to Aphrodite Cruises and becomes ATALANTE. 
The same year, FUNCHAL, on the Portuguese lines since 1961 is also reconverted.

The former cargo PORT SYDNEY de 1954 is transformed in 1974 for 503 passengers as DAPHNE. Greek yards convert in 1972  ZION from 323 passengers originally in 1955 to 780.

SHALOM of ZIM is built in  St Nazaire. Inaugurated in 1964 on Tel Aviv / New York, she is sold in 1967 before going to cruises. 
GALILEO GALILEI, Lloyd Triestino liner of 1963 (Italia-Australia) is transformed in 1979. Renamed GALILEO in 83, then MERIDIAN in 1990.

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Postal stationery depicting Costa Playa

The ferry BLACK PRINCE (1966) realises cruises in winter to Canaria islands before a total conversion in 1986.
The ferry FINLANDIA (1967) is converted in cruise-ferry in 1978 then cruise liner (Innstar, 1981). After several transformations and changes of name, she becomes in 1995 COSTA PLAYA. Since 2000, she proposes casino cruises from Hong Kong.


In 1968, Hamburg, renamed MAXIM GORKY in 1974,has been the first large liner built from 30 years in Germany. 
BAHAMA STAR, ex-JERUSALEM, sail under this name from 72 to 79; she sinks when towed towards the scrappers in 79.
EMERALD SEAS is successively transport of troops, liner then cruise liner from 1944 to 1999.
ORONSAY is built for the Europe-Australia service.
OCEANIC planned for the transatlantic service, will change several times of name, for several cruise companies.
FLAVIA built as cargo and passenger vessel (Media, 1947), transformed into liner (1967) then taken again by Costa in 1968

The old Cunard launches in 1974 CUNARD COUNTESS then buys in 1983 VISTAFJORD

During the 80's,with the increase of maritime tourism, several ships are reconditioned by the hull extension.

SONG_of_NORWAY, first Royal Caribbean International ship has her capacity increased from 724 passengers to 1024 after a 85 feet lengthening in 1978. 

ROYAL VIKING STAR in service in 1972, then one year later, ROYAL VIKING SKY are lengthened of 27 m in 82. 

The silhouette of the liner will change with frayed bows and corpulent bodies propelled by diesel engines, with propellers with variable steps and directional blades..

SONG OF AMERICA, built in 1982, as ECSTASY, 2604 passengers, built at Helsinki en 1991 is over 200 metres, the size of Concorde place in Paris.

ORIANA, 260 m long, is arranged with 914 cabins by 535 . CRYSTAL HARMONY, 241 metres long, propose high standing cruises with 461 external cabins on 480.

With the growth of the cruises market, the number of new cruise liners is increasing and ships are build according to the segment of the market: navigation in short cruises in Caribbean countries, trans-ocean voyages, trips in Antarctic.  



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