Cruise vacations continue to grow in popularity. Cruise ships, many capable of carrying 3,000 or more passengers, offer vacationers the opportunity to visit many islands and sea ports around the world. The ships shown here are docked at San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Following the demise of the great ocean liners, cruise ships emerged as the lavish and opulent ships of the sea. Although cruise vacations date from the 19th century, they did not reach the popularity they enjoy today until the 1960s. Cruise ships of the 1960s and 1970s typically measured 180 m (600 ft) or less and carried 600 to 700 passengers.
The elegant vessels, featuring swimming pools, theaters, restaurants, and luxurious passenger accommodations, expanded the cruise vacation industry significantly. As demand for new cruise ships grew, companies built larger, more elaborate ships. The Royal Princess, built in 1984 and operated by cruise company Princess Cruises, is twice the size of its 1970s predecessors and carries 1,250 passengers. The Jubilee and Celebration, both operated by Carnival Cruise Lines, measure nearly 230 m (750 ft) and carry 1,850 passengers.
The boom continued into the 1990s with the building of floating entertainment centers on a scale never before imagined. The Royal Caribbean Cruises ship Voyager of the Seas carries nearly 5,000 passengers and crew in her 310-m (1,020-ft) hull. The ship cost $500 million to build and outfit and features the largest floating casino, a luxurious 1,350-seat theater, a 9-hole miniature golf course, an ice rink, and a shopping mall.