Cruise ships vs Ocean Liners


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Aug 8, 2004
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Is it just me or do the new cruise ships look like giant boxes? They leave a lot to be desired on the exterior. Anyway I think with the exception of the Grand Princess Queen Mary 2, that they just don't compare in the slightest to the older ocean liners.
 
Jun 20, 2004
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I agree with you. They don't have that elegance (same with the interiors) of past ocean liners. I also think some cruise ships today look too top heavy as well. I wish cruise ships today had sterns like Titanic's. Most of them look like they've been chopped off at the back!
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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Well, visually they do take some getting used to, externally. But, take it from someone who has been aboard (since 1972) liners both classic (1928) and contemporary, the modern ships are far superior in terms of average accomodation, amenities, and passenger comfort than the older ships were. As recently as the 1990s there were still major ships in service with bathroom-less cabins which, if I may be blunt, was a mode of travel equivalent to one of the inner circles of hell
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Funny thing is, as early as the 1920s one can find references to How Ugly Modern Ships Have Become Just Like A Row of Flats Why Don't They Make Ships Look Like Ships Anymore, so I am assuming that in a generation or so, todays boxy liners will be replaced with something radically different causing a new group of ship buffs to decry how ugly things have become.
 

Scott Newman

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Jun 16, 2004
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I agree with Jim...one could imagine what some from the "really old school" might have been saying when the beautiful wooden sailing ships were slowly replaced with steam and steel.

I had the opportunity to take the "Monarch of the Seas" on a Mexican Baja cruise a few weeks ago. This ship is a little older as far as cruise ships go, so it was probably not as elegant as they come. Her comfort, however, was much better than some of the ships I was able to see on the cruise. While the Queen Mary's elegance was remarkable, many areas of the ship seemed damp and cramped. The "Rose", the small sailing ship used in Master and Commander, was awesome! I loved touring the ship, but you just don't get the idea of how small and cramped this ship was until you board her yourself!

While modern cruise ships lack elegance in some cases, they do provide comfort and entertainment...and, of course, an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet!
 

Lucy Burkhill

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Mar 31, 2006
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>>Funny thing is, as early as the 1920s one can find references to How Ugly Modern Ships Have Become Just Like A Row of Flats<<

Gerald Aylmer, in his book RMS Mauretania: The Ship and Her Record certainly did not seem impressed with the appearance of the latest liners in the early 1930's...

He compares unfavourably the modern ships with the "Grand Old Lady of the Atlantic"...

"As to her appearance...Be as critical as one may there is nothing that offends the eye. Two distinctive features are at once apparent, namely, the four tall, well-raked, evenly-spaced funnels, so different from the latest squat affairs, and the absence of deck upon deck of top-hamper amidships, which gives to so many modern ships the appearance of a block of tenement dwellings that had somehow slid off the land.
The long graceful sweep of her lines gives an impression of speed and of a greater length than she actually has, and her stern is of the elegant "counter" design and not the ungainly so-called "cruiser" stern so much in vogue today. The Mauretania, the Aquitania, and the Olympic...while outclassed as they may be in certain other respects, are credited with being by far the most elegant of the large liners running to-day."

Even Franklin D Roosevelt got his twopennyworth in...

In his 1936 essay about the Mauretania, entitled "A Queen with a Fighting Heart", he dismissed the latest superliners, such as the Normandie (which, ironically, many today consider to have been the most beautiful liner of all time), as being "nothing more than floating Atlantic Cities", whilst he considered the Mauretania as being a proper "ship".

Just goes to show that there's nothing new under the sun!!!

Lucy
 
Dec 3, 2005
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Terrifying to think about what they'll look like in 50 years. Imagine designers going for maximum space efficiency and sending out a huge egg to lumber its way around (narrow end is the bow of course). She'll have 30 decks (the highest 10 made of balsa wood painted with brushed aluminum for stability and that ultra-tacky finish that goes with those Korean cars that think that standard leather seats makes an elegant ride. Each cabin will have a 30-foot high, 10 foot wide bundle of fiber-optic cables to resemble a neon waterfall. She'll have a 330 foot beam (to accommodate the ever-increasing beam of her passengers, if the media is to be believed). Even with all that puffiness, she'll still be a two-compartment ship, so keep an eye out for icebergs (in the Caribbean). Carnival and the Royal Navy can jointly come up with a name....Carnival Unperturbability? Carnival Solipsism?
 
Jul 9, 2000
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If anyone cares to get really extreme, I suppose that given enough time and materials, there's no reason why somebody couldn't build a ship in the billion tonne range, but I don't think it's going to happen until we start building ships that go to the very stars themselves. (Assuming our species even survives that long.)

When you get down to it, the limitation on the size of a ship is dictated by what's practical, such as the need to use existing port and passenger facilities. Somebody may solve the engineering problems and have the means to build a ship displacing tens or even hundreds of millions of tonnes, but I doubt anybody would be willing to pay for the infrastructure need to support it.
 

Aly Jones

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Nov 22, 2008
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My vote goes too the ocean liners,they would have to be built more gracfully (which i perferr) than a cruise ship that as got night cubs and heavy mental,not my cup of tea (heavey metal music)that is.
 
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Ellen Grace Butland

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Ah, the Mauretania, she did look racy (and could beat most of the modern cruise ships for speed) But alas, as Jim said, most cabins did not have bathrooms. In fact, many of Canberra's cabins did not have bathrooms, they were "down the hall" That is one advantage the modern cruise ships have over older ships. As for entertainments, I saw the Rhapsody of the Seas in Auckland last Sunday and she has a rock climbing wall sticking up right at the stern, it looked rediculous.
 

Aly Jones

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Nov 22, 2008
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Hey Grace. Who are you replying too? If it's not me,i'm still going to answer you. lol

The mrdern passenger liners arn't bad at all,they have to be built luxuish cause to compete with Airliners,the two are competing in the same market.

The cruise ship does not have too compete with the airliner because the too are for different purpose roles,so therefore arn't built in the same luxuish way as a passenger liner is.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>they have to be built luxuish cause to compete with Airliners,the two are competing in the same market.<<

Actually, they're not. The liner as a competitor to commercial aircraft hasn't been viable for over half a century now. What the few remaining liners do is cater to what's known as a niche market where the voyage itself is the vacation.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>I was talking about the Queen Mary that does the Southampton to Newyork run,<<

So was I, and not just the Queen Mary Two but the Queen Victoria as well. Liners as an important means of travel from point A to point B have not been commercially viable for anything but that niche market I mentioned for a very long time now. Even when they were, the really big vessels tended to lose money without some lavish subsidies from their nations governments.
 

Allen R. Hall

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Mar 8, 2009
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Well, I think the QM2 is gorgeous, personally, but do we call her a liner or a cruise ship?

As for cruise ships, I just think they all look pretty much the same on the outside. Not really ugly, just not distinct; you can't really identify one ship from the next without reading the name. They're certainly not elegant like the Normandie and others; the lines of the Titanic and her sisters were stunning from the curves of her bridge wings to the arrangement of her vents. Today's ships are just more function than fashion, with their jarring, cheesy lines.. okay, yeah, they're ugly. ;)

My main nitpick is the front of the superstructure. To me, that's essentially the ship's face. It's the main part that makes her stand out. But new ships.. they're just blank clones.

I was on Holland-America's Westerdam in Alaska last July. The choice was Princess or Holland-America, and I suggested Holland-America because they'd been around for so long.

They certainly took good care of us, but the ship herself was something of an eyesore on the outside and a tacky, jumbled mess on the inside. And the really weird thing, I thought, was how small she was on the inside. I understand that most of the volume of a passenger ship is dedicated to cabins, and that interior designers only have so much room to work with, but I still thought it strange that a ship with a volume of the better part of a million cubic feet should feel so small.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Well, I think the QM2 is gorgeous, personally, but do we call her a liner or a cruise ship?<<

Yes to both since she was designed to work in both trades.

>>Today's ships are just more function than fashion, with their jarring, cheesy lines.. okay, yeah, they're ugly. ;) <<

Actually, you'll find that both apply in spades. The long forecastles are long gone because there is no need for an express liner or cruise ship to carry cargo or the mails. The first goes by container ship and both high value cargos and the mail go by air. What that leaves the designer with is the problem of maximizing the design to carry as many passengers as possible and making the ship flashy enough to cater to whatever tastes and trends are en vogue.
 

Joe Russo

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Apr 10, 2006
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>>The long forecastles are long gone because there is no need for an express liner or cruise ship to carry cargo or the mails<<

Doesn't a long bow help the QM2 and the ocean liner in rough weather? I thought that there was a purpose to this besides extra cargo space.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Doesn't a long bow help the QM2 and the ocean liner in rough weather?<<

It may but it's not really all that long in relation to the superstructure. I would expect the bulbous bow below the waterline helps a lot more in terms of bouyancy as well as hydrodynamic efficiency.

>>I thought that there was a purpose to this besides extra cargo space.<<

Perhaps but form in the end always follows function. What you see now is optized for carrying people, not freight.
 
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