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, at Newcastle-upon-Tyne for New York-Bermudes service; with passengers in two classes and a limited fret capacity, is largely dedicated to holidays customers, as in 1933, QUEEN BERMUDA -22 575 t- in charge of cruises from Miami.
QUEEN_of_NASSAU, built in 1926, links Boston to Yarmouth on summer, and cruising during the winter months from Nassau. She will steam until 1966.

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Cover of SS America

ARANDORA STAR, one of the most popular cruising vessels in the 30's, takes 400 passengers.
Planed for the North Atlantic, on 10 August 1940 SS AMERICA starts a new carrier between New York and Caribbean islands which will continue after 1964 under Chandris flag as Australis with 2300 passengers in single class.

WILHELM GUSTLOFF is one of the first ships built from 1934 in a schedule of maritimes trips for meriting workers:
195 m long, 1465 passengers in single class ; her speed is limited 15 knots so that passengers may use recreatives equipments on board.

After serving as floatting hospital, on 30 January 1945, she leaves Gdynia (Poland) for Kiel with 173 crew, to evacuate a lot of soldiers and also des civilians refugees before being torpedoed by a soviet submarine; 1216 survivors came back 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 reduccing her utility in the transatlantic service After her maiden voyage on 4 January, she links up 4 cruises in Caribbean. Divided in 1rst and cabins, CARONIA is converted for cruises into a single class ship.
In 1956 Cunard put in service on Liverpool to Montreal route SYLVANIA; used from 1967 totally in cruises; after several change of names, as ALBATROS she sails until 2003.

The years 50/60 will see the building of prestigious units, designed for the line and cruise as FRANCE (started in 1957, launched in 1960) CANBERRA (1960) or QUEEN ELIZABETH 2, ordered in 1964, launched in 1969 and always in activity in 2006.
Meanwhile, the competition with the aircraft becomes stronger and the regular passengers maritimes lines will close. The former liners are converted into single class ships.

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

The former cargo PORT SYDNEY from 1954 is transformed in 1974 for 503 passengers as DAPHNE. The Greek yards convert in 1972 the cargo-liner ZION wich increase from 323 passengers originaly in 1955 to 780.

SHALOM from ZIM is built at St Nazaire. Christened in 1964 on Tel Aviv / New York, she is sold in 1967 for cruises.
GALILEO GALILEI, from Lloyd Triestino (1963, Italy-Australia) is transformed in 1979. Renamed then MERIDIAN in 1990.

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Postal stationnery depicting Costa Playa

The car ferry BLACK PRINCE (1966) is used for winter cruises to Canaries before a total conversion in 1986.
The ferry FINLANDIA (1967) is converted into a cruise ferry in 1978 then into a cruise ship (Innstar, 1981). After several refurbishments and changes of name, she becomes in 1995 COSTA PLAYA. From 2000, she is used as casino starting from Hong Kong.

In 1968, Hamburg, renamed MAXIM GORKY in 1974,the first large passenger ship built for 30 years in Germany.
BAHAMA STAR, ex-JERUSALEM, steams from 72 to 79; she sanks being tugged to breakers in 79.
EMERALD SEAS is successively trooper, liner then cruise ship from 1944 to 1999.
ORONSAY was on Europe-Australia service from 1950 to 1975.
When laid down the intention was to use OCEANIC in the transatlantic service, but she is fitted out as a full cruise vessel.
built as a passenger cargo ship (Media, 1947), transformed into a full liner (1967) then owned by Costa in 1968

The old Cunard company launches in 1974 CUNARD COUNTESS then boughts in 1983 VISTAFJORD
During 80's, with the increase of maritime tourism, several vessels are reconditionned by hull lengthening.

SONG_of_NORWAY, the first ship built for cruise line Royal Caribbean International. has 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 ship silhouette will change with streamlined bows and postbellied bodies powered by Diesel engines with controlable pitch propellers and stabilizers.

SONG OF AMERICA, built in 1982, as ECSTASY, 2604 passengers, built at Helsinki in 1991 are over 200 metres long.

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 built according to the segment of the market: navigation in short cruises in Caribbean countries, trans-ocean voyages, trips in Antarctic.
A new step comes with the building of floatting coplexes
, culminating for instance with QUEEN MARY 2 : 148 000 tons, 345 m long, 3000 passengers

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