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jeremyosborne81

Why didn't cruise ships have balcony cabins until the 1990s?

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I noticed, while looking at information about ship fleets, that older ships didn't have balcony cabins until about the mid-1990s.  Why is that? Did people not want to have fresh air in their cabins? Was it a design failure, where no one realized this would be a thing guests would want? What changed where they started to include balconies?

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3 minutes ago, jeremyosborne81 said:

Did people not want to have fresh air in their cabins?

I'll count on others to deal with the nitty-gritty. But leaving the door open is a major no-no. Messing up the AC for cabins all around one.

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The basic drift of it is ships were transport.... A to B...  then started this cruise idea ... holiday on ship   which meant the ship didn't have go as fast as possible to go A to B....    so cruise ships started the balcony thing.... so thing take a while since a ships are not built in a day like the frist mega ship of the day RCI Sovereign of the Seas  in the late 80's  sstill didn't have all the balcony cabins we noe see on newer cruise ships...

 

Cheers Don

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6 hours ago, getting older slowly said:

The basic drift of it is ships were transport.... A to B...  then started this cruise idea ... holiday on ship   which meant the ship didn't have go as fast as possible to go A to B....    so cruise ships started the balcony thing.... so thing take a while since a ships are not built in a day like the frist mega ship of the day RCI Sovereign of the Seas  in the late 80's  sstill didn't have all the balcony cabins we noe see on newer cruise ships...

 

Cheers Don

 

Yes...

 

Older ships were built as ocean liners -- to get people from one place to another quickly, often in unpleasant weather (e.g., the Atlantic in winter). Balconies were really an unnecessary feature for most. A few suites had them, but that was all.

 

Cruising didn't take off until the airlines had grabbed most of the ocean liner passengers. In fact, originally it was a way to repurpose some of those older "liners" and eke a bit more profit out of them. Some of the first cruise ships I sailed on were quite ancient (especially by today's standards):  my first ship, the SS Emerald Seas, had quite a long life at 60 years, having been built as a US troop carrier in 1944!  (I sailed on her in 1972).  http://ssmaritime.com/oceanexplorer.htm

 

The SS Fairwind, one of my favorite early ships, was originally built in 1958 and in fact was the last ship built specifically for trans-Atlantic crossings. She was owned by Cunard first, then later by Sitmar, a line that was later merged with Princess. Interestingly, Sitmar originally purchased Fairwind and her sister ship (Fairsea) to serve as immigrant service ships from Italy to Australia -- however, that never came about. Instead they were both converted to cruise ships.

 

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8 hours ago, clo said:

I'll count on others to deal with the nitty-gritty. But leaving the door open is a major no-no. Messing up the AC for cabins all around one.

 

I don't remember ever seing any signs about that it's not allowed to leave the door open.

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17 minutes ago, sverigecruiser said:

 

I don't remember ever seing any signs about that it's not allowed to leave the door open.

 

There's nothing like an ocean breeze to keep your cabin cooler, naturally.

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24 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

There's nothing like an ocean breeze to keep your cabin cooler, naturally.

I have seen comparable notices on all ships - usually on balcony doors, but always somewhere quite apparent.

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Carnival balcony doors are hinged and open out and slam loudly.

 

Most other lines we've been on have sliding balcony doors, much easier to use and less noisy.

 

Balconies were an adaptation for higher fares and increased pax loads:

 

Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas was considered one of the first truly modern cruise ships in 1991. It offered balconies for 5% of its cabins, and that was a big deal. Ships built in the 2000's offered about 25% to 45% balcony cabins. Now, all new ships offer balconies on more than 65% of rooms.Apr 20, 2014

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Royal Princess (l) of 1984 had balconies.  And no inside cabins.  Older ships, and very grand...had wide wrap around promenade decks with deck chairs where you could stroll and take the air...  EM

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18 minutes ago, Essiesmom said:

Royal Princess (l) of 1984 had balconies.  And no inside cabins.  Older ships, and very grand...had wide wrap around promenade decks with deck chairs where you could stroll and take the air...  EM

 

I remember the PR around her launch -- she was christened by Diana, then Princess of Wales.

 

She currently is still sailing at the Artania for Phoenix Reisen and has had a severe COVID-19 outbreak on board plaguing her efforts to disembark a few remaining passengers and crew....

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43 minutes ago, lenquixote66 said:

I was on a ship in 1973 that I believe only had cabins with portholes.

I was on a ship last year that had portholes. Second photo is a view out our porthole. She was built in 1965 IIRC.

 

IMG_6639 - Edited.jpg

IMG_6740 - Edited (1).jpg

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8 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

Yes...

 

Older ships were built as ocean liners -- to get people from one place to another quickly, often in unpleasant weather (e.g., the Atlantic in winter). Balconies were really an unnecessary feature for most. A few suites had them, but that was all.

 

Cruising didn't take off until the airlines had grabbed most of the ocean liner passengers. In fact, originally it was a way to repurpose some of those older "liners" and eke a bit more profit out of them. Some of the first cruise ships I sailed on were quite ancient (especially by today's standards):  my first ship, the SS Emerald Seas, had quite a long life at 60 years, having been built as a US troop carrier in 1944!  (I sailed on her in 1972).  http://ssmaritime.com/oceanexplorer.htm

 

The SS Fairwind, one of my favorite early ships, was originally built in 1958 and in fact was the last ship built specifically for trans-Atlantic crossings. She was owned by Cunard first, then later by Sitmar, a line that was later merged with Princess. Interestingly, Sitmar originally purchased Fairwind and her sister ship (Fairsea) to serve as immigrant service ships from Italy to Australia -- however, that never came about. Instead they were both converted to cruise ships.

 

We also fondly remember the Fairwind,  That was a completely different era of cruising when we had nightly fabulous midnight buffets, maitre'ds prepared pastas tableside, flaming desserts really flamed, etc.  I also remember ruining a few swim suits and shirts from the soot that would sometimes come out of the stack :).  The decent "Princess Pizza" is one of the few remaining holdovers from Sitmar days.

 

Hank

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Essiesmom said:

Royal Princess (l) of 1984 had balconies.  And no inside cabins.  ..  EM

 

Royal Princess was very innovative for her time.  Some balconies and all outside cabins; the Horizon Lounge which wrapped partly around the base of the funnel along with a two deck Atrium which was, I recall, an innovation as well.  My memory may be wrong, but the interior decor of her Dining Room is reflected in the decor of the MDR of the Princess ships on which I have sailed.  Lovely vessel!

Edited by rkacruiser

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3 hours ago, clo said:

I was on a ship last year that had portholes. Second photo is a view out our porthole. She was built in 1965 IIRC.

 

IMG_6639 - Edited.jpg

IMG_6740 - Edited (1).jpg

 

The top photo reminds me of a cabin I had on the lowest passenger deck of S. S. Oceanic.  An "outside cabin" until one evening I returned to my cabin only to find the steel cover bolted over my porthole.  Bad weather was expected and the Cabin Stewards were instructed to cover the portholes on my deck.  My "outside" became an "inside" that night.  It was an odd feeling for me.

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16 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

We also fondly remember the Fairwind,  That was a completely different era of cruising when we had nightly fabulous midnight buffets, maitre'ds prepared pastas tableside, flaming desserts really flamed, etc.  I also remember ruining a few swim suits and shirts from the soot that would sometimes come out of the stack :).  The decent "Princess Pizza" is one of the few remaining holdovers from Sitmar days.

 

Hank

 

I so agree!  My Fairwind cruise was after my cruise on the original Royal Princess.  I enjoyed the Italian service on Royal Princess and the service on the Fairwind further cemented my feelings about such service.

 

Don't forget the evening entertainment:  Pub Night, comedians who were truly funny without being risque,  live, good music.  

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I think it was due to safety reasons and plus its much cheaper to design a ship with all cabins like the ones on the photos above. Moreover, the cruises that were sailing north seas had to be warm inside and such a cabin design could supply exactly what they needed. A safe, warm cabin 

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39 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

The top photo reminds me of a cabin I had on the lowest passenger deck of S. S. Oceanic.  An "outside cabin" until one evening I returned to my cabin only to find the steel cover bolted over my porthole.  Bad weather was expected and the Cabin Stewards were instructed to cover the portholes on my deck.  My "outside" became an "inside" that night.  It was an odd feeling for me.

We had the same experience. Remember the ship that lost power off the Norwegian coast last year in a storm. Well, we were in that general area. Rockin' and rollin' and closed portholes.

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5 hours ago, clo said:

I was on a ship last year that had portholes. Second photo is a view out our porthole. She was built in 1965 IIRC.

 

IMG_6639 - Edited.jpg

IMG_6740 - Edited (1).jpg

This porthole is circular and essentially a window.The ship I was on had rectangular portholes and quite small.

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6 minutes ago, lenquixote66 said:

This porthole is circular and essentially a window.The ship I was on had rectangular portholes and quite small.

Well, this was certainly under a foot in diameter and was definitely a porthole - look at the hardware 🙂

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1 hour ago, clo said:

We had the same experience. Remember the ship that lost power off the Norwegian coast last year in a storm. Well, we were in that general area. Rockin' and rollin' and closed portholes.

 

Viking Sky?  My goodness!  That had to have been a very scary experience!

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30 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

Viking Sky?  My goodness!  That had to have been a very scary experience!

Well, we stayed in port that night but coming in was wild And this is a ship with 100 pax and no stabilizers 🙂

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11 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

The SS Fairwind, one of my favorite early ships, was originally built in 1958 and in fact was the last ship built specifically for trans-Atlantic crossings. She was owned by Cunard first, then later by Sitmar, a line that was later merged with Princess. Interestingly, Sitmar originally purchased Fairwind and her sister ship (Fairsea) to serve as immigrant service ships from Italy to Australia -- however, that never came about. Instead they were both converted to cruise ships.

 

My first cruise in 1980 was the TSS Fairwind. I did 5 cruises in the 1980’s on both the Fairwind and Fairsea. They will always be special to me.

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8 hours ago, Essiesmom said:

Royal Princess (l) of 1984 had balconies.  And no inside cabins.  Older ships, and very grand...had wide wrap around promenade decks with deck chairs where you could stroll and take the air...  EM

 

And if I'm not mistaken, the modern day Royal Princess has no window rooms....only balconies and interiors.  

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13 minutes ago, Aquahound said:

 

And if I'm not mistaken, the modern day Royal Princess has no window rooms....only balconies and interiors.  

Ooh, I wouldn't like that. We had our first balcony recently and could not have cared less. But I would want oceanview...although we've had inside and it was 'okay.'

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