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Nostalgia - Was Cruising Better In The Past?

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Hi  Older cruisers (me included) sometimes remember that traditional cruising thirty years or more ago was a better experience than the mass market product delivered by today's huge corporations, but was it better?  Here's some pro and cons about cruising in the past.



Better personal service and dining

Headline acts you have heard of

No high pressure sales to increase your onboard spend

Lower alcohol prices

Lower gratuities

Elegant surroundings no glitz



Hardly any cabins had a balcony

Some cabins had shared bathroom facilities

Boarding fares were more expensive allowing for inflation

Soot from the funnel fell on the outside decks

No Hot Tubs and they had limited daytime entertainment with little for the young at heart

No 24/7 dining

Set seating and times for meals

No alternative dining venues


Variable depending upon your lifestyle

Smoking allowed in nearly all the public rooms including the dining areas

Formal nights were adhered


From my observations it would seem to me that modern day cruising is in many ways much better than that I experienced in the past but I still hanker after the "old traditional" cruises;  maybe it's just me but I believe good food service is vital for good cruise experience.  What's your take on the recent changes in the cruise market?

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I reckon it was better in the past because there won't have been that many cruise ships or cruise lines and the cost was probably only afforded by a few. Cruising was an elite way to take a holiday. There are things which are better such as no smoking and no soot on the deck etc. However, now there are so many lines and ships all fighting for a slice of the cake and it seems to me that cruise lines have assessed the market and done things to appeal to a wider clientele, such as 24/7 dining, movies under the stars, and having freedom dining and other alternative dining venues. I agree that in some ways modern day cruising is 'better' but I believe that standards were better in the 'old days'.

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I bet those that travelled in steerage don't hark back to the good old days...

I'm not old enough to remember and I know that not all progress is good progress but surely in this case the fact that more people can now afford to cruise can only be a good thing.

Even the top 5 and 6 star lines are now affordable to a larger number of cruisers than ever before...rather than the few that could afford it before.

That to me means that living standards for all are improving.

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I agree with terminator as well, I definitely prefer cruising now rather than how it was in the past.  Not only because its more accessible to a wider audience but its also far more flexible and open to personal preferences.  The amount of choice these days is amazing when you think about it.  The amount of dining choice and entertainment is incredible and that suits me down to the ground as I'm not one for repetitiveness, I like freedom of choice when I'm on holiday.

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Hi  I do agree with the class distinction point  but I have noted that those who opt to cruise on the 6 star cruise line are, not surprisingly, from a wealthier background  than those cruising on mainstream lines so although the class thing (Cunard, MSC Yacht Club excepted) is diminished in most vessels it's definitely evident between cruise lines.  Also even on this forum some of the contributors look down their noses of those passengers who enjoy Thomson's cruises, the "class" divide has just moved on but it is still here.

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I will soon be reaching 40 years cruising and for me the best years to cruise were the late 1990's. Cabins had become more comfortable there was still a very high staff to passenger ratio.The entertainment was variable and good quality. The food was varied and definitely not what you would eat at home,game on the menu daily, a separate fish course,and a choice of cheeses on the cheese board. A wine waiter who knew what he was talking about and reasonably priced drinks. Ships cruised at a faster speed enabling more interesting itineraries.

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I don't agree with a class system and certainly wouldn't want to see 'steerage' what I meant was that in the past cruising was more exclusive and I don't mean that in a snobby way but it seemed to me to be a rather special way of taking a holiday. Nowadays cruise lines are catering for the masses which I think has watered the product down. There are upmarket cruise lines with prices at a premium and you will probably find that the standard etc is pretty much as it was in the old days. But every company whatever it is selling is in it for the money.

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So many things have changed in the last thirty years ...not just in cruising. ...

However there was no such thing as anti viral hand gel on board when I first cruised ...I cannot really remember when it was first introduced on board ship ....can anyone ?

It was also rare to see more than one cruise ship in most ports.

yes I remember cruising over 30 years ago and you are right there was no hand gel on board in those days, but I don't remember ever hearing about norovirus on board either.  could it be that in those days everyone was more aware of the need of more regular hand washing than we are today??? I remember being brought up to not put hands in mouth but these days I think that most people, including myself, do this whilst thinking of other things.

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On a personal basis i prefer the more traditional cruising like the bygone days when you dress up for dinner, and would'nt be seen dead in jeans ans trainers, t shirt etc on a ship, sadly most og that has gone. cruising in days of grandeur how loveley.

Hi  A few cruise lines do still adhere to the dress code during the cruise namely Silversea and Crystal, if you cruised in the past the prices are similar to those charged by other cruise lines in the past(allowing for inflation), unfortunately high levels of service and "better" dining don't come cheap as the adage says you get what you pay for

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just like a ship to look like a ship. The newer larger ships may have more facilities to offer but look like a floating block of flats.


Not a lover of the deluxe balcony cabins on D deck on Ventura & Azura either. There is no privacy, as those on the decks above can look down on you.

They can also be dangerous. On one occasion, I had a near miss from a cricket ball that had 'escaped' from the cricket nets 10 decks above.

Therefore, would advise that people stay away from this deck and stick to B or C deck. With accommodation above and below, there is little chance of disturbance.

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