It Was the Best of Times - Oceanliners and Classic Cruise Ships Magazine

It Was the Best of Times

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For most modern cruise guests, the 1981  Carnival ad on the next page reflects an almost unrecognizable world. It was a time of much smaller ships and far more modest amenities. Sun, fun and food were the main attractions back in those days.

Was it a better cruise experience? It depends on how one views things.

Shows (usually some combination of singers, comics, magicians and dancers) were performed in a nightclub-style lounge. You almost felt like you were a part of the act (and sometimes were).  On the other hand, there were no in-room TVs. There was also no Wi-Fi, of course—highly expensive ship-to-shore radiotelephone service was the only way to communicate with friends and family back home.

One thing today’s cruise operators have little control over is passenger behavior. Put simply, people were generally nicer in those days. They dressed better and, for the most part, behaved like… adults. (Imagine!) It was rare to see people cut into buffet lines, to yak on mobile phones, to steal deck chairs (which often had to be reserved for a nominal fee at the start of the cruise) or to let their kids run amok over the ship. Public drunkenness was occasional, not de rigueur.

You want a real “fun ship” today? Don’t blame the cruise operator if you’re disappointed. Get a time machine.

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