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About Cruiseline History

Cruising the Past is a historical and contemporary look at social history, cruise ships, hotels, ocean liners and Pullman streamliners.

Many aspects of modern day cruising are much more comfortable than these earlier ships. Cabins are larger and there is a much wider choice of accommodations and activities. But certain aspects of social interaction are absent. Cruise-ships and travel in general have felt the curse of Facebook, texting and the obsession with the internet. There is no longer a feeling of gentility on most cruise ships. Most of the time, when you are not taking selfies, you think you’re stuck in some strip hotel in Vegas that’s been dropped down in the sea.


The cruise industry owes THE LOVE BOAT TV series for the dramatic popularity of cruising starting in the 1970s.

  • For those not old enough to recall the ABC-TV series, “The Love Boat” debuted in 1977 and lasted until 1986.
  • The series showcased cruising to the mass market.
  • It is safe to say that ‘The Love Boat’ single handedly introduced the concept of vacation cruising to the masses and was responsible for over a billion dollars in revenue for passenger travel by ship.
  • It could be called the greatest dramatic info-commercial of all time.

P&O Lines, the former owner of Princess Cruises, emphasized in a early 1990s financial press release that the LOVE BOAT had probably generated over a billion dollars in revenues for the cruise lines.

Carnival Cruises, owner of Princess Cruises, wouldn’t exist if “The Love Boat” had never happened

Robert J. Thompson, Professor of Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, owes his increasing stature as one of the country’s reigning experts on popular culture to “The Love Boat” – known in many circles as one of television’s silliest shows.

  • As a graduate student at Northwestern University, earning a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in radio, television, and film, he wrote an article for The Journal of American Culture on “The Love Boat: High Art on the High Seas.”
  • His premise was that television was a new, modernistic art form that people watched while doing something else—unlike novels or ballet, which demand full attention.
  • Viewers could tune to “The Love Boat” at any point and follow its plot, which, he noted, “broke down into an algebraic equation.”
  • Thompson recognizes that “The Love Boat” was a lightweight show, but says, “TV as an art form was at its best when it was at its silliest and frothiest.”
  • Travel by ship prior to the 1960s, was a more serious and demanding experience.

You had to have social skills because much of the entertainment was based on the social-interactions of the passengers.

There were large lounges where people met and conversed, passenger lists to see what friends were aboard, formal ballrooms, officers tables, the ship’s pool and ceremonies when you crossed the Equator.

Today, when you see a napkin-folding contest you know times have changed!

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