Lesson 9_Notes - Miami Beach Senior High
Student Resource 9.1
Reading: The Evolution of Cruises
In the hospitality industry, many boats or watercraft are used for entertainment or recreation. Travelers
may take harbor or river boat cruises or rent kayaks or other watercraft for fun.
For millennia, people have used boats to transport goods and people. The first colonists who came to the
United States arrived in clipper ships, much like the one in the top left corner.
Today, container ships (top center photograph) are used to ship goods all over the world. Many cities are
built near a bay, a lake, or an ocean. In those cities, people may use the ferry to commute to work
(bottom center photograph). In Venice, Italy, the entire city is built on canals, and people move between
homes, businesses, and so on by using boats. Gondolas, long flat-bottomed boats like the one shown
above top right, are the most famous way to travel through Venice, and they are often a highlight of a trip
to that city.
Cruise ships (bottom right corner) are one of the most common types of boats in the world today, and
cruises are a large part of the hospitality and tourism industry. We are going to focus on cruises as a key
component of tourism.
From about 1850 to 1950, ocean liners were the primary means of travel between Europe and the United
States. These ocean liners were huge ships that could hold over 1,000 people. For rich people, ocean
liners were a luxurious, floating hotel. They slept in large rooms, had fancy dinners, and listened to live
orchestras play music so they could dance. Poorer people could travel on the liners as well—in steerage
class. They had to bring their own food and sleep in large, crowded, and not very clean rooms on the
bottom of the ship. Steerage was unpleasant, but it was the only way for most people to travel.
Because these ships were the main form of transportation, when something happened to one of them, it
was a big story in the news. Almost everyone has heard of the Titanic, the huge “unsinkable” ship that hit
an iceberg and sank during its first voyage in 1912. Over 1,500 passengers died because there weren’t
enough life boats to save people from drowning. Above, the Titanic is pictured on the right.
Another famous ship sinking occurred a few years later, during World War I. In May 1915, the British
ocean liner Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U-boat (submarine). The Lusitania was on a trip from
New York to England, and many Americans were killed or injured. This incident helped motivate the
United States to get involved in World War I. The Lusitania is pictured on the left, above.
During World War II, many of the big ocean liners, including the Queen Mary, were converted to troop
transport ships to help bring soldiers from the United States to Europe. Flying across the ocean was
possible, but it was pretty rare, and the planes couldn’t move as many people as the ships did.
But after World War II, airplanes started to become more and more popular. Planes could make the trip in
hours, while the luxury liners took days to cross the ocean. Ocean liners still offered all the luxury—fancy
dinners, shops, and so forth, but they couldn’t beat the convenience or speed of planes.
By the 1960s, ocean liners were a thing of the past. But that didn’t mean that having fun on a big ship was
no longer appealing. Cruise ships would begin to replace ocean liners.
Image from Wikimedia Commons
Cruise ships look much like the ocean liners of the past, but their purpose is different. While an ocean
liner primarily transported people from one side of the ocean to the other, cruise ships are more like
floating resorts. They usually offer itineraries that let you stop at one or more ports of call before taking
you back to your point of origin, which is where the cruise started. Cruise ships frequently sail to or near
the Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Europe, and the Mediterranean. The Caribbean is the most
popular cruise destination in the world.
Cruises started to grow in popularity in the 1970s and 80s, thanks to a TV show called The Love Boat.
This show presented a highly fictionalized version of life on a cruise ship that entailed comic antics and
romances between the ship’s crew members and passengers. It was such a big hit that people started to
want to take cruises themselves.
Today, the cruise industry generates more than $40 billion a year. Millions of people take a cruise each
Everyone hears about how large the Titanic was, but today’s ships are even bigger. Look at the image
above. It compares the Queen Mary 2, a modern cruise ship, to the Titanic, an Airbus A380 airplane, a
bus, a car, and a person. Today, even the Queen Mary 2 isn’t the biggest ship around; some cruise ships
can accommodate over 5,000 people.
Smaller ships, which may hold several hundred people, are also available. Guests need to choose what
kind of experience they want. The cruise industry in general seems to think bigger is better, so a lot of the
newer ships are larger, with more amenities and things to do.
Image from Wikimedia Commons
For decades, cruise ships have been dumping waste into the ocean. They have also been causing
serious environmental damage to delicate marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs. Now that there are
hundreds of giant cruise ships operating every day across the globe, some people are finally trying to get
the cruise ship industry to pollute less and be more environmentally sensitive.
In 2008, US Senator Dick Durbin introduced legislation that would help to protect the oceans and lakes of
the world from cruise ship pollution, but the Clean Cruise Ship Act never became law. The Clean Cruise
Ship Act of 2009 has not been passed either. Fortunately, the public has begun to put pressure on cruise
lines to stop indiscriminate dumping. Several states have passed laws that prohibit dumping of sewage
and wastewater within several miles of the coast, but much stricter regulations are required.
Oceana is an international marine conservation organization. In 2003, it put a lot of pressure on the Royal
Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the second biggest cruise company in the world, to change its practices. In 2004,
the cruise line installed wastewater treatment technology on all of its ships. That was a good start. Instead
of dumping raw sewage into the sea, the new technology puts wastewater through a process that makes
Today, many cruise lines are adopting more environmentally friendly methods. For example, the Holland
America Line has also installed a wastewater purification system. In addition, this cruise line has waste
and recycling programs and uses biodegradable cleaning products.
Customer expectations have changed. Today, many travelers care about the impact their vacation has on
the environment. In response to that, cruise lines are making changes to more than their wastewater
Many ships train their staff and show videos to their guests on how to be environmentally conscious while
on board—everything from turning off lights when they leave their cabin to recycling their trash or using
their towel repeatedly before asking for it to be washed.
Cruise lines are exploring ways to improve their ships’ efficiency, including new types of fuel and even
using special paint that helps the ship move through the water more smoothly, which reduces fuel usage.
Some ships are testing out the use of solar or wind power as well. Some ports offer shore-based power
for when ships are docked. Shore-based power creates fewer emissions than power produced by the
The more cruise ship passengers ask for and expect these steps, the harder cruise lines will work to take
care of the environment.
A cruise ship today is a resort, an amusement or entertainment source, and a means of transportation, all
rolled into one. Nowadays, cruise guests expect a variety of foods and entertainment, including all the
latest trends and technology. Ships have wireless Internet and Wii-playing parties for people who are into
technology or video games. Cruises offer a wide range of dining experiences, from formal meals (think
tuxedos and evening gowns) to casual pizza parlors and cafés. Some ships even have franchise
restaurants, like Johnny Rockets, on board.
A typical ship will have a spa for beauty and relaxation treatments, as well as a gym for people who want
to work out. The ship may have basketball courts, rock climbing walls, rollerblading rinks, or even circus
classes, which teach passengers things like how to swing on a trapeze. Guests stay amused playing
shuffleboard, ping-pong, and numerous other games. Classes in everything from cooking to napkinfolding are offered, too. The ship also offers pools, boutiques, casinos, and more that are available
continuously throughout the voyage. Children’s activities include pajama parties, scavenger hunts, arts
and crafts, and even special classes, like how to be a DJ. Evening activities are also available for all
ages. These include live performances, dancing, and even outdoor movie screenings on large LED
screens. Imagine swimming in the pool while watching the latest Hollywood blockbuster in the middle of