There has never been a time in history when large passenger ships have been built in greater numbers than the present. Cruise ships are one of the defining phenomena of our time, associated as they are with leisure, entertainment, conspicuous consumption and the many facets of globalisation. Cruise Ships: A Design Voyage tells the story of cruise ship design and the development of the cruise industry from the late-Victorian era until the present day.
The earliest cruises were overseas adventures on small yacht-like ships to the Mediterranean or to Norway’s west coast – cruise destinations still very popular today. Subsequently, in the Edwardian era and between the two world wars, cruising developed from an activity for the wealthy into one increasingly accessible to the middle classes. By the 1960s, America had become the main cruise market – to serve which the first purpose-built, mass-market Caribbean cruise ships were built. Since then, cruise ships have grown greatly in scale and facilities, transforming from exclusive means of relaxation for the prosperous into vast floating entertainment resorts, accommodating broad cross-sections of society. Cruise Ships: A Design Voyage sets the design of cruise ships and their promotion within wider contexts of architecture, design and economy.
Bruce Peter is Reader in Design history at The Glasgow School of Art. He is the author of several substantial books on the design and material culture of modern merchant ships.