Cruises have always been a luxurious gateway to a world of comfortable traveling. This immersive, luxurious way to see the world for decades which floors everyone has undergone many a changes. The Insider has put up a compelling list of these changes.
While the formal dinners and ball gowns of the old days may have turned into buffets and flip flops, a variety of cruise ships continue to offer a host of amenities and travel routes that keep people coming back. Here’s how cruise ships in the glory days compare to today’s ocean liners.
An Occasion To Dress Up
A woman waves from the deck of a cruise ship in the early 1900s. Wikipedia
We’re talking gloves, heels, and fancy hats.
These days, a swimsuit cover-up will do.
A woman wearing a crochet swimsuit cover-up. Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko/Shutterstock
The casual look is in.
Men wore three-piece suits.
A couple on a cruise ship. Wikipedia
T-shirts are the norm now.
A couple takes a selfie on a cruise ship. michaeljung/Shutterstock
No need to dress up on vacation.
As far as activities go, egg and spoon races were all the rage.
An egg and spoon race. Getty / J. B. Helsby
The race involves balancing an egg on a spoon and running without dropping it.
Most modern cruise ships have casinos.
A cruise ship casino. Yevgen Belich/Shutterstock
No kids allowed.
Sports on the cruise
Boxing in dresses and heels on deck was also popular.
Boxing. Topical Press Agency/Getty Images
It’s doubtful that anyone actually got knocked out.
Today, basketball is the preferred sport.
A basketball court on a cruise ship. Solarisys/Shutterstock
Good thing the court has netting to keep the ball from flying into the ocean.
This graceful “athletic display” in 1933 was put on by staff members of the London and North Eastern Railway on their company cruise liner.
On board the SS Vienna in 1933. William Vanderson/Getty Images
Women’s sports gained popularity in the 1930s.
Contemporary athletic displays take the form of rock climbing walls.
A rock climbing wall on a cruise ship. Solarisys/Shutterstock
Julian Austin worked on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship for seven months running the ship’s rock climbing wall.
Inside the ships, grand foyers made for stunning entrances.
The foyer of the RMS Majestic. Wikipedia
There’s a reason cruise ships are called “floating cities.”
Foyers are just as grand today.
The crew of a cruise ship in the foyer. Arthur Edwards/WPA Pool/Getty Images
Some cruise ships are incredibly luxurious.
Sweeping staircases never go out of style.
A staircase in First Class aboard the SS Rex. Wikipedia
Who can forget the iconic staircase from the movie “Titanic“?
They’re still part of the décor of many modern cruise ships.
A spiral staircase on a cruise ship. Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images
Nothing complements a spiral staircase like a chandelier.
First class dining rooms spared no expense.
The First Class Dining Saloon on the RMS Aquitania. Wikipedia
Certain food items are worth the splurge on cruises.
The magic hasn’t been lost on today’s cruise ship dining rooms.
A modern cruise ship dining room. Yevgen Belich/Shutterstock
Ambient lights and colorful decorations make them feel like fancy clubs or wedding halls.
Dinner was a formal evening affair.
Dressed up for dinner. Flickr/1950s Unlimited
People got dressed up to eat the evening meal.
Dining on today’s cruises… not as much.
Counter service. Romrodphoto/Shutterstock
Cruises are known for their expansive buffets.
Cruise Gym Area
Vintage cruise workout rooms contained vintage exercise machines.
A vintage cruise ship gym. Wikipedia
Gym equipment has evolved over the years.
Sleek, electronic workout gear is the new norm.
A cruise ship exercise room. ER_09/Shutterstock
Rowing machines are more efficient than treadmills, according to one doctor.
Swimming On The Cruise
Outdoor swimming pools on the ship’s deck are a classic part of the cruise experience.
Relaxing by the pool. Flickr/1950s Unlimited
Swimming pools likely contain more pee than you’d like to know about.
Those haven’t gone anywhere.
A present-day pool. Vintagepix/Shutterstock
The world’s largest swimming pool is in Chile.
One-piece jumpsuit-style swimwear was trendy back in the 1920s.
Passengers sitting on the side of the swimming pool aboard the liner Berengaria in 1922.Topical Press Agency/Getty Images
Swimsuit styles have changed.
In addition to regular swimming pools, some cruises have surf centers.
A surfer rides a wave at the surf center on board the Freedom of the Seas ship.Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
Surfing is now an Olympic sport.
Dancing On The Cruise
Dances were a popular activity.
Dancing on deck of the Majestic. Brooke/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images
Some cruises hosted charity balls, like the All Night Ball aboard the Majestic.
Attendance isn’t what it used to be.
A mostly-empty dance floor. Chris Helgren/Reuters
People would rather watch “Dancing With the Stars“ than dance themselves, it seems.
The ballroom used to be the place to be.
Guests dancing in the ballroom aboard the Berengaria. Puttnam/Getty Images
Guests wore gowns and tuxedos on the dance floor.
Dance parties today look and sound a little bit different.
A dance party on a cruise ship. vvoe/Shutterstock
The ship’s open bar probably helps, too.
Music on the Move
In the glory days, orchestras would entertain guests.
An orchestra on board the Britannic in 1931. Sasha/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
While wearing tuxedos, of course.
While live music is still the norm, the look has changed: now there are piano bars with thematic seating arrangements.
A piano bar on a cruise ship. Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock
It’s never too late to learn to play piano.
What lounge would be complete without lounge music?
A cruise ship lounge. Fox Photos/Getty Images
Jazzy piano music is timeless.
There are still pianos in cruise ship lounges.
A piano lounge. alysta/Shutterstock
Celebrities like John Legend have been known to sit and play pianos in public places unannounced.
The 1950s made way for funky furniture in living rooms and cruise ship lounges.
The tourist class lounge on the Norddeutscher Lloyd liner Bremen. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The 1950s were a different time, as indicated by popular advertisements from those years.
Modern cruise ship lounge furniture still comes in unique shapes.
A cruise ship lounge. Elijah Lovkoff/Shutterstock
Chair or nap pod? Or both?
Deluxe rooms were decorated with wood paneling and high-end linens.
A deluxe cabin on the liner Strathaird in 1948. Central Press/Getty Images
The small, round windows provided an ocean view.
There’s still paneling on the walls of luxury suites.
A suite on a cruise ship. PhotoStock10/Shutterstock
Really fancy cruise ship suites can cost $23,000.
Even the simple cabins were spacious.
A cruise ship cabin. London Express/Getty Images
It’s like any other hotel room, except you’re floating in the middle of the ocean.
Even today, you don’t have to splurge to get comfortable accommodations on board.
A cruise ship room. vvoe/Shutterstock
Some people are even buying second homes on cruise ships.
Traveling through the world
Cruises were a popular way to see the world.
Sitting on deck. Edward G Malindine/Getty Images
Passengers watch the world pass by on deck chairs.
And they still are.
On deck. welcomia/Shutterstock
It’s worth taking a cruise at least once in your life.
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