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For decades, cruise ships have been taking passengers on journeys to all corners of the world. From the classic liners of the 1930s to state-of-the-art 21st century smartships, we’ve put together a run-down of the top 7 famous cruise ships of all time.
Quantum of the Seas – Royal Caribbean
While some cruise ships have gone down in history, Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas is making history. After 17 months under construction at Germany’s Meyer Werft shipyard, the 18 deck smartship finally cruised out of the dock bound for North Sea ocean trials. According to RCI, the vessel is “the world’s most technologically advanced ship ever to sail.” On-board passengers will find a plethora of cutting edge facilities that put onshore entertainment complexes to shame. Activities include a RipCord by iFly virtual skydiving experience, FlowRider surf simulator, indoor ice rink, bumper car track, rock climbing wall and elevated London Eye style glass pod which offers passengers 360 degree views of the open ocean. Virtual balconies offer inside cabin dwellers spectacular sea views, bionic bartenders shake up an impressive menu of cocktails and Broadway style shows deliver nightly razzle dazzle.
RMS Queen Mary – Cunard
Launched on May 27 1936, Queen Mary went down in history as one of the most illustrious vessels to sail the seas. She primarily serviced the North Atlantic Ocean and was Cunard’s flagship vessel for over a decade. The ship’s interior oozed old world elegance and incorporated lavish features such as polished wood, floor to ceiling windows and specially commissioned artwork. The vessel was a pioneer of its time and treated passengers to two indoor swimming pools, libraries, lecture rooms, beauty salons, music studios, dog kennels, tennis courts and a grand Art Deco style lounge. Today, Queen Mary is permanently moored in California and boasts a listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
Prinzessin Victoria Luise – Hamburg America Line
According to historic records, Prinzessin Victoria Luise was the world’s first purpose built cruise ship. She was launched in 1900 and operated by the Hamburg America Line. With a target audience of wealthy European and American travellers, the vessel was designed to resemble a private yacht. With a crisp white paint job, elaborate clipper bow and two towering masts, she was a sight to behold. As well as cruising the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, the Prinzessin Victoria Luise was famous for her transatlantic crossings. Almost just years of service, her career came to an abrupt end when she grounded herself on rocks during a West Indian cruise. The captain put a gun to his head and the passengers were successfully rescued the following morning.
RMS Titanic – White Star Line
A list of famous cruise ships wouldn’t be complete without a nod to Britain’s RMS Titanic. While the ship was technically a passenger liner built to ferry people between Southampton and New York, it featured all the on-board luxuries you would expect to see on today’s purpose built cruise liners. From luxurious grand ballrooms to lavish balcony suites, a first class ticket bought you a five star experience. Tragically, the Titanic never completed her maiden voyage and sunk in the freezing North Atlantic Ocean after colliding with an iceberg.
RMS Queen Elizabeth – Cunard
During the ‘Golden Age’ of cruising Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth was the reigning monarch. The luxury ocean liner was launched in 1938 and was capable of carrying 2283 passengers. After initially aiding the war effort as a troopship, she eventually began her service as a cruise vessel in 1946. With air conditioning, an outdoor swimming pool and an ultra-luxe interior, RMS Queen Elizabeth was a forerunner of her time.
Allure of the Seas – Royal Caribbean
According to Royal Caribbean, size does matter. The line’s iconic Allure of the Seas is the world’s largest cruise liner, measuring in at a colossal 360 metres long! The vessel has a maximum capacity of 6296 passengers who enjoy access to 18 decks and seven distinctive ‘neighbourhoods.’ From the tranquil greenery of Central Park and the cosmopolitan feel of the Boardwalk to the activity buzz of the Sports Zone and the upbeat vibe of Entertainment Place, Allure of the Seas is essentially a floating city!
Island Princess aka ‘The Love Boat’ – Princess Cruises
While she’s due to retire at the end of this season, the Island Princess will live on as the star of Aaron Spelling’s hit TV show, The Love Boat. The show ran for a consecutive 10 years and was filmed largely on-board the Island Princess, which now sails under the name of MV Discovery.
While several of these ships are no longer in service, Cruise 1st offers fantastic deals on Quantum of the Seas and Allure of the Seas voyages. Cunard continues its classic cruising experience with luxury vessels such as the Queen Mary II while Princess now boasts an 18 ship fleet, including 2014’s latest addition, the Regal Princess.
Image Source: Titanic
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons and history.com. Credit: Michael McDonough, Robert Pratt, Rune, Robert Wallace, Old Images, history.com, Lucas Shiel, Todd Lappin