Cruising is the fastest growing segment of the travel industry. Once reserved for the wealthy, cruise vacations are now affordable and fun for everyone. How did this happen? One simple explanation is that the ships got a lot bigger. The superliners of old would look like dinghies compared to the cruise ships of today. The difference isnt only about length, but also gross tonnage, i.e., how much weight a ship can support.
The most famous superliner in history was RMS Titanic, which could accommodate 2,500 passengers, sans life rafts! Many of the modern cruise ships safely carry between 3 and 4 thousand passengers on each trip. One of the largest modern ships, the Allure of the Seas, which is owned by Royal Caribbean International, can accommodate 6,300 passengers. But even more important than the passenger capacity is the gross tonnage, which tells us how much stuff the ship can carry. Most modern ships have a gross tonnage of two to four times what the RMS Titanic had.
What does this mean? In short, it means that there is a lot more to do on these ships than there was on the superliners of old. Modern cruise ships are basically floating cities that have restaurants, lounges, fitness clubs, pools, casinos, shopping malls, hotels, and much, much more. Even when they visit exotic ports of call, there is really no reason to ever leave these ships, since there is so much to see and do on board. There is, however, one drawback. As cruise ships get larger and more crowded, more passengers are getting injured on them.