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How is cruising now different from 25 years ago?


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1 minute ago, Aquahound said:

 

Not yet.  I want to though.  

It’s not that hard to comply with Cunard’s expectations - on our Christmas/New Year’s Caribbean 12 day sailing there were four “formal” nights - where at least 50% of men complied by wearing a suit.  On the rest, just a jacket and long trousers did it.  

 

Having those rules certainly does seem to set a tone - including entertaining conversation in addition to face-feeding.

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8 minutes ago, clo said:

Oh yeah. Oceania says in so many words no jeans (and other things) in MDR and specialties but they don't enforce. When we did our second dinner at Jacques I actually carried my (very small) computer to show the maitre d' the language. He really didn't care. And to be honest with you it seemed to be older men who were the biggest offenders.

The fact is, the typical Oceania passenger seems more inclined to “clean up a bit” for dinner than most mainstream cruisers.

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5 minutes ago, PORT ROYAL said:

 

You'll we welcomed, and think you'll love the old school ambience.

Things to consider:

Ball Room Dancing

Live Music

Fresh Flowers

Somelliers 

Nice and interesting people

No pomposity 

 

 

 

And, that sort of je ne sais quoi which results in intelligent, enjoyable dinner conversations.  Amazing what happens when you set the mood.

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My cruising career started in 1980 on Sitmar. The price then, included airfare and a hotel room the night before the cruise. Sitmar had a regular type movie theater, where they showed movies, a couple times a day. I remember dressing up for the Rocky Horror Picture Show, along with many others, who all joined in on what was happening on the screen.

The MDR was white glove service, with courses like Caesar Salad, Fettuccine, and Baked Alaska being made at the table fresh. It was a predominately Italian crew, so the pasta was to die for. And yes, everybody dressed up in the evening, even on casual nights. Of course, this was around the time of the Love Boat series, and cruising had not yet hit the masses. Others cruisers were very respectful of each other, their fellow cruisers, and the staff.

There was a Gala Midnight Buffet every night, and it was always well attended, both for pictures, and a little midnight snack.

 

 

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1 hour ago, navybankerteacher said:

At least there is a limit to how “over” overdressing is on ships - wearing a tuxedo when only a jacket is requested is about the limit in that direction.  But pit-hair exposing muscle shirts, yellowed toenail flashing sandals, under-wear showing low-rising jeans and see-through cropped tees do not make supper anything more than a belly-filling exercise —- but then the lines co-operate in the downgrading by cutting service and food quality — so it seems most are happy.

 

Holy moley, what lines do you use -- or, maybe Caribbean itineraries, IDK.  Assuming you are talking about dinner in MDR, I've never seen anything remotely like you describe.  

 

Back to the topic, I can't compare to 25 years ago, but I can to 20.  I think we can all agree that the quality of food ingredients in general is no where like what it used to be.   Another thing that I notice is the amount and variety of entertainment in various lounges just doesn't happen like in the old days.  I really do miss that.  

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Something else that used to happen but is gone now  -- ice sculptures used to be a big deal.  Never see them any more.  Also "food sculptures" were kind of the deal with the old midnight buffets.  More of something to view than to eat.  

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4 minutes ago, ldubs said:

Something else that used to happen but is gone now  -- ice sculptures used to be a big deal.  Never see them any more.  Also "food sculptures" were kind of the deal with the old midnight buffets.  More of something to view than to eat.  

Cunard still has food carving and ice sculptures.

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1 minute ago, PORT ROYAL said:

Cunard still has food carving and ice sculptures.

 

Never been on a Cunard cruise, but I hear a lot of good things about them.   The ice and food sculptures were really pretty cool, IMO.  I recall seeing the ice carving demos on several cruises.  Guys would start with a big block of ice and chisel.  It was fun to try and guess what it was going to be as it took shape.  Anyway, it is good to hear someone is still doing them.   

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2 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

It’s not that hard to comply with Cunard’s expectations - on our Christmas/New Year’s Caribbean 12 day sailing there were four “formal” nights - where at least 50% of men complied by wearing a suit.  On the rest, just a jacket and long trousers did it.  

 

Having those rules certainly does seem to set a tone - including entertaining conversation in addition to face-feeding.

I was on a Cunard cruise 47 years ago. A tux was preferred for every dinner but a suit and tie was acceptable. They would not let anyone enter the dining room in a sport jacket.

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7 minutes ago, lenquixote66 said:

I was on a Cunard cruise 47 years ago. A tux was preferred for every dinner but a suit and tie was acceptable. They would not let anyone enter the dining room in a sport jacket.

Let’s see —- the only cruising I did 47 years ago was on my uncle’s gray ships - things (and people’s activities) change in the course of a half century.

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52 minutes ago, PORT ROYAL said:

Cunard still has food carving and ice sculptures.

So does the food get eaten? And does the melted ice get used for anything? One thing that has changed is an increased awareness of waste.

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48 minutes ago, ldubs said:

Guys would start with a big block of ice and chisel.

Now high-end cocktail bars use that to make gigantic ice cubes. Keeps a drink tasting the same and not being diluted. I like it...on the rare occasions that we do that.

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1 hour ago, ldubs said:

 

Holy moley, what lines do you use -- or, maybe Caribbean itineraries, IDK.  Assuming you are talking about dinner in MDR, I've never seen anything remotely like you describe.  

 

...

My last .. and I do mean LAST ... NCL cruise a few years ago.

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Started cruising more than 40 (!) years ago...

 

I remember pre-stabilizer ships (or at least less effective), sea-sick bags put out in hallways and raised table edges on tables to keep your plates and silver from toppling onto the floor. (I also remember watching the peas roll around on my plate...)

 

I remember skeet shooting, dinner chimes, horse racing, real tea (as an afternoon event) served in one of the lounges with live music every day.

 

....captain's welcome parties where every passenger actually met and shook hands (!!) with the captain, and got a photo.

 

....no specialty restaurants, no dedicated buffet area, and no "anytime" dining. You ate in the main dining room for the most part and you obeyed the dress codes. Room service was limited and ordered through your steward (who seemed to perpetually live in a little alcove just a few feet down the hall from your cabin).

 

....very few balconies, mostly only for suites.

 

....dinners with several more courses than now, table-side preparations of certain dishes (and dressing of salads, deboning fish, etc), full silver service, real sommeliers.

 

....live music throughout ship venues; people actually dancing before dinner and before shows.

 

....entertainment reminiscent of a good Catskills hotel in the old days -- comedians, ventriloquists, singers -- no large scale shows, certainly nothing like the aerialists or Broadway send-ups on ships now.

 

....very amateur shore excursions; I remember going to see the "drive in" volcano on St. Lucia -- we had to sit in the back of a flatbed truck!  Other times it was just local taxis giving you a "guided" tour based on their own idea of what tourists wanted to see.

 

....no Senor Frogs, Margaritavilles, Diamonds International, etc. 

 

....Cabin keys were real keys, and tips were given personally (in cash) at the end of the cruise.

 

....no in-room TVs, no spa, no art auctions. Most classes and activities were free and were not just promotions for the spa, the shops, for booking shore excursions, etc.

 

....usually only one adult pool (salt water); no slides or wave riders or rock climbing walls

 

 

 

 

 

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29 minutes ago, Cruzaholic41 said:


Waste?  It’s ice. 🙄

Ah, I see. You live in Florida. Here on the Left Coast we've tried to avoid wasting water - what ice started its life as - for decades. And even if they start with sea water there's energy used.

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11 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

I remember pre-stabilizer ships (or at least less effective), sea-sick bags put out in hallways and raised table edges on tables to keep your plates and silver from toppling onto the floor. (I also remember watching the peas roll around on my plate...)

 

Have to chuckle. We were on Hurtigruten's oldest and smallest ship, Lofoten, a year ago. Built in 1965 IIRC. No stabilizers. Chairs were chained to the floor. One rough night we would slide from one end of our bunk to the other. Loved it and should have just finished another trip. She's being retired this year so probably won't make it back to her.

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Midnight buffets, with so many things ornately and intricately  decorated so that they looked like a works of art.

No casinos

"Rent" your deck chair for the voyage

Bon Voyage parties on the ship with more visitors than passengers

 

Actually....a LOT more than just 25 years ago, probably closer to 40..

Edited by marco
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Our first cruise was in 1976--our honeymoon.  Over the next 30-some years we were able to take four more cruises.  Since retirement we have been able to, for the most part, cruise once or twice a year.  All our cruises have been on mass market lines.  I agree with most of the comments of the previous posters.  So, much of my comments will be a bit repetitious.

  • On our first couple of cruises, the fare included the airline flight to Florida and a hotel room to rest up for a few hours before being bussed to the ship.
  • On boarding for our very first cruise, we were greeted by uniformed personnel and handed a glass of sparkling wine.  That is also were we learned out cabin number.  We were escorted to our (teeny) inside cabin and handed our brass key.
  • Very few cabins had balconies.  Most cabins were inside or ocean view.
  • The cabin did not have a TV.  The first time we saw a TV in the cabin was in 1996--our fourth cruise.
  • The dining options have certainly been expanded.
    • A lot of people report a midnight buffet every night.  I do not recall that.  On our first few cruises (7 days) there were two midnight buffets held in the dining room.  It wasn't until that 1996 cruise that the ship had a buffet area that was open for meals.
    • It wasn't until 2004 that we were on a ship with a (single) specialty restaurant.  We thought that was great.  On a 15-day cruise, we had dinner there five evenings.
    • I do not recall room service in our first few cruises.  I do not recall when I first say that.
  • I agree that the dining room dinners included more courses that what we see these days.  I would dispute the statement that they were all excellent.  I remember one soup on that very first cruise that was a clear broth with some cut up hot dogs.  I'm sure that soup had a very elegant name on the menu, but I know cut up hot dogs when I see them.
  • I do not recall sommeliers in the dining room for the first few cruises.  Maybe they had them, and we were watching our budget. 
  • Dessert for the last night of the cruise was always Baked Alaska.  The servers would parade around the dining room carrying trays of flaming dessert.
  • Of course, now you will not see an open flame anywhere on the ship.
  • Speaking of which, smoking was very common in the dining room and, of course, all other public venues.
  • Two formal nights for each 7-day cruise.  I would usually wear a business suit.  Starting in 2004 I rented a tuxedo a few times.  It was nice having that in the cabin when we arrived.  I do not recall when I first started seeing people dressing less than a business suit--probably, when I started cruising more often in 2011.  These days, I ask Mrs. XBGuy if she wants to "do formal."  If she does, I pack accordingly.  We very rarely have dinner in the dining room, anymore.  So, we feel we are not transgressing, at all.
  • It seems like there are more daily shipboard activities, these days:
    • I do not remember things like bingo or trivia.
    • The first ship that had a casino was on that 1996 cruise.
    • Most shipboard activities were either centered around the pool or were in the theater--lectures, for the most part during the daylight hours and shows in the evenings.  Keep in mind, these ships were much smaller that you see these days.  So, there were not as many public venues for passenger activities.
    • I do not recall seeing a library until our 2004 cruise.  Again, though, my memory may be fading.
    • I do recall skeet shooting off the fantail of one of our early cruises.
    • Along that same theme, the ships did not have multiple stores.  In fact, I do not recall any stores, at all.  I'm sure there was something for people to grab things like snacks, or meds or toiletries.  I definitley do not recall a store where you could buy things like souvenir T-shirts until, maybe, again, that 1996 cruise.
  • I remember cashing travelers checks at the Purser's Desk.  Remember travelers checks?  In fact, I think I was able to cash personal checks on the first couple of cruises that we took.  I suspect that you can still get checks cashed at the Guest Services Desk, but I really don't know.  Plastic is so much more convenient.

All in all, I would say that cruising is better than ever.

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We started cruising in 1991.

When we booked a cruise, we had to review the deck plans to make sure we were getting a cabin with the bed configuration we wanted; there were double beds or two singles, not adaptable.

There were no balconies.

There was live music in one or more (usually more) venues for dancing before and after dinner, well attended.

Meals were served in the dining room, at early or late seating. Very few tables for two.  People took part in conversation and enjoyed a leisurely meal.  If there was a buffet for breakfast and lunch, it was very minimal.

Passengers dressed for the evening, formal, informal, or casual.  Casual did not include shorts and t-shirts.

No towel animals.

Cruises cost relatively more than they do now.

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I read a few posts that were put up when I was in composition mode.

 

On our second cruise (1983?), I do recall throwing streamers onto the dock as we pulled away.

 

I still see ice scuptures, all the time--also, fruit and vegetable sculptures.  In fact, on our last few cruises, there have been demonstrations scheduled as sea day activities.  

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My first cruise was in 1972, 10 days from NYC on Home Lines Homeric, as ship built in 1931.  I had a room with a porthole, bed, sink, and the toilets and showers were down the hall.  I don't remember room service or casino.  there were two venues for dancing to live music.  The larger one may have been used for 'shows', too.  All dining was in the MDR, open seating for breakfast but fixed for lunch and dinner.  There were at least three formal nights, if not more.  There was an Italian night and a 'French apache' night also.  Your cabin steward helped you make up a costume from supplies on the ship.  Skeet shooting, horse racing...  There were at least two midnight buffets, but they were tables of cold cuts and salads set up outside on the promenade deck.  Islands were San Juan, St Thomas, Martinique and St. Martin.  I did the same cruise again that year.  Next year I moved up to the 30 years newer Oceanic, where each cabin had a bathroom.  But the drill was the same.  That was 7 days NYC to Nassau.  Everything was cash.  There was at least one small shop onboard. 

 

Jump ahead 26 years to the Original Royal Princess (built 1984) in 1999.  She was revolutionary for her time, all cabins were outside.  But still no buffet, just the MDR with fixed seating.  EM

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1 hour ago, Cruzaholic41 said:


Waste?  It’s ice. 🙄

 

Ha!  This reminds me of the top ten stupid questions skit that CDs like to put on, especially the question "what do they do with the ice carvings after they melt?"  I think we now know our culprit. :classic_biggrin:

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