Opinion7 Cruise Ship Features That Changed the Way We Cruise

7 Cruise Ship Features That Changed the Way We Cruise

Cruise ships have slowly evolved over the past several decades and now offer more features and amenities than ever before. Here are seven cruise ship features that have changed the way we cruise.

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Balcony Cabins – Just over 20 years ago, the choice in cruise ship cabins was primarily between ocean view or inside staterooms.  Cabins with balconies were few and far between and were often only found in the most expensive suites.  Now, a large majority of cruisers will only cruise if they have a balcony stateroom.

All new cruise ships built in this day and age are loaded with balcony cabins.  80% of the cabins on the new Royal class ships from Princess Cruises have balconies.  When it comes to Viking Ocean Cruises, every single stateroom on their three cruise ships come with a private balcony.

Pool Deck TVs – If you love watching movies at night on the pool deck, you can thank Princess Cruises.  Caribbean Princess was the first modern cruise ship built with a large, outdoor TV screen on the pool deck.  It was so popular with cruisers, other cruise lines began to add them and now they are a staple feature on every single cruise ship built.

Anytime Dining – While it was Princess Cruises that first offered their cruise passengers the option to dine whenever they wanted for dinner, it was the popularity of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Freestyle Dining that forced just about all cruise lines to offer a similar concept.

You can now dine when you want and with who you want.  Add in the relaxed dress code and you it’s easy to understand why this model of dining has become so popular.

Specialty Restaurants – Long gone are the days when your choice of dinner consisted of either going to the main dining room or hitting up the buffet.  Cruisers have more options than ever before with steakhouses, Asian, Mexican, Italian, Brazilian, and French restaurants on board.

Norwegian Escape takes specialty dining to an entire new level and offers more than 25 dining experiences on board the ship.

Broadband Internet – While many cruisers choose to completely disconnect on their cruises, the faster and cheaper internet packages being rolled out by cruise lines are giving passengers the opportunity not only keep in touch with family, but share their awesome cruise vacations in real time with their friends and family on social media.

Royal Caribbean’s VOOM internet changed the way we connect at sea and other cruise lines have rolled out internet packages as low as $5 per day that offer access to social media apps.

Water Slides/Water Parks – Cruising is the ultimate family vacation and cruise ships are adding bigger and better water slides and water parks.  All of the mainstream cruise lines geared towards families (Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, and MSC Cruises) are adding a wide variety of water slides and water parks on their new ships.

Wearable Technology – 2018 is the year of wearable technology on cruise ships with Princess Cruises and MSC Cruises both rolling out wearables that will change the way we cruise.  Royal Caribbean was the first to bring this technology to the cruise industry on Quantum of the Seas and currently offers it on select ships.

This will create a customizable cruise experience that will greatly enhance the way we cruise.

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Ben Souza
Ben Souza
Ben is a world traveler who has visited 40+ countries, taken over 70 cruises. He is one of USA TODAY's experts for their 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. His writings have appeared and been cited in various media outlets such as Yahoo News, MSN, NPR, CNN, Fox, and ABC News. Ben currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. Follow Ben on Instagram. Visit Ben Souza on Linkedin. You may email Ben at [email protected].
Opinion7 Cruise Ship Features That Changed the Way We Cruise


  1. Another big change is the planned activity set up for kids of all ages up to teenagers. When we went on our first cruise in the early 80s, there was nothing for our high schooler to do. This is a great improvement for families.

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