A cruise ship is meant for leisure trip on the waters. These types of ships are usually used for pleasure voyages wherein the voyage itself and the various amenities are an integral part of the experience. Over the years, cruising has become an important component of the tourism industry and has found much favor with the people who love to travel and enjoy the experience out on the huge water bodies.
Earlier the ships used to carry passengers to different destination but strictly as a means of water transport. There were fewer amenities provided as compared to today. With the rapid growth and technological advances, the cruise industry also saw major changes in terms of the ships used and the amenities and services being provided. It is easy to reach the farthest part of the globe on a cruise liner which is better equipped to carry long distance journeys.
The first vessel to be built exclusively for cruising was the Pinzessin Victoria Luise which was designed by Albert Ballin who was the General Manager of Hamburg-America Line. He was the first person to send his transatlantic ships on long southern cruises during the worst winter season. Others followed suit. Earlier the transatlantic crosses did not take less than four days. But it changed after the advent of such cruise liners.
Earlier the passenger ships did not have too much of amenities. But the competition to attract more and more passengers on board led to major changes and the ocean liners started adding many luxuries to it. One of the best examples of this is the Titanic, which had all the facilities for fine dining, luxurious staterooms and means of recreation and entertainment.
Until the late 80s, most of the cruise liners offered shuffleboard, deck chairs, drinks decorated exotically and little else. As of today, the ocean liners have become luxury hotels & resorts in themselves which give dozens of amenities. They are equipped with a complete hospitality staff in addition to the ship's crew.
With the demand on the rise for cruising, there are different types of vessels which serve this purpose. There is a wide choice in the cruise industry, from the ocean liners and luxury riverboats, to specialty sailboats and yachts.
There are various types of liners which ply the oceans and they can be differentiated on the basis of their size, the number of passengers that they carry, the amenities and services they can provide and the destinations that they traverse. The main categories of cruise liners could be described as follows:
Conventional Cruise Ship: This is the kind of ship which is commonly known to most people. It is a huge hunk of a thing which can carry up to 3000 passengers on board. There are facilities for recreation and entertainment apart from the standard resort facilities like the restaurants and bars, theaters and cinemas, casinos, personal care salons etc.
Small Cruise Ship: Small cruise liners can vary in sizes and load carrying capacity. There are ships carrying less than 500 passengers to some of the yachts which can accommodate only 10 people. These small liners are becoming more popular as they can access to some of the more remote locations which becomes a bit difficult for the large ocean liners. Moreover, the passengers and the crew members enjoy a more intimate relationship as opposed to the larger vessel.
Luxury Cruise Ship: These ships are motor or sail powered and are also equipped with the most sophisticated and technologically advanced systems. The features and amenities in these liners are designed to meet the special demands of an exclusive clientele.
Expedition Cruise Ship: This is a totally different set of ocean liners which are designed with specific functions in mind. Such ships are used by the researchers and expedition teams who like to visit the farthest and the most inaccessible portions of the world. These vessels are equipped with the desired materials needed for research study and exploration. This can not be possible in the conventional cruise liner which is designed more for pleasure rather than function.
River Cruise Ships: Such types of ships are much smaller in size as compared to the sea faring ones. They can carry a maximum of 100 passengers and are specifically designed to navigate through rivers and inland waterways. The Amazon, Nile, Rhine, Seine, Mississippi and Yangtze are some such rivers which have such types of water transport.
The most popular cruise destinations include Western Caribbean Cruises, Eastern Caribbean, Mexico Cruise, Alaskan Cruises and European Cruises. One can really enjoy the wonderful journey through the waters with a variety of cruise lining companies which also offer good deals and packages on travel.