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The Evolution of Cruise Ships, from 1975 to 2013: Cabins and Suites

February 6, 2013 at 9:33 AM | by | Comment (1)

Imagine a cruise. Now picture yourself on that cruise. Are you playing shuffleboard and gobbling rum cakes? God, let's hope not. Over the next several days, we're going to dig back into the era responsible for creating these cruise stereotypes—the fun-in-the-sun 1970s, when ocean liners turned into cruise ships and voyages into vacations. In sharp contrast, we'll look at cruising 2013-style onboard the newest ship on the seas, the Celebrity Reflection.

The Cruising 1975 vs. 2013 Series:

1. Activities
2. Technology
3. Dining and drinking
4. Cabins and suites
5. The ships themselves

There was once a time when going on a cruise meant days of fun in the sun balanced out by the small miseries of showering in a teeny-tiny restroom, sleeping in a dreary room without a balcony (or even a window larger than a dinner plate), and forgoing the usual comforts of home. Happily those days are in the past and instead cruisers can bunk down in two-bedroom suites with wet bars, baby grand pianos, massive bathrooms larger than studio apartments, and balconies galore. Even the average cabin of 2013 makes suites of 1975 looks like steerage class. Ah, evolution.

Naturally prices have risen as well—like from $550 double occupancy for a 7-day Caribbean cruise in 1975 to $890 for the same in 2013—but though the price is nearly double, the amenities and space ratios are easily quadrupled.

In lieu of listing facts & figures, we've got a video room tour below of an AquaClass Stateroom onboard the Celebrity Reflection. That's a nice average room with a few extra perks (nicer toiletries, plusher bathrobes, access to the spa's Persian Garden, etc), but really typifies the category of comfort cruise ships are working towards these days.

The crown jewel onboard the Reflection, however, would be the Reflection Suite. Though the ship is Solstice-class, it is the only one of the fleet to sport such an sprawling, two-bedroom suite, not to mention that the showpiece shower is an exclusive. Cruise line brochures in the 1970s wouldn't even give stateroom sizes in terms of square feet simply because there wasn't much of it; the size wasn't exactly something to draw attention to. The Reflection Suite, however, flaunts its 1,830 square feet of space, which includes a verandah with table, chaise loungers and a two-person jacuzzi hot tub. You won't find the baby grand piano in here—there has to be room for a massive wet bar, naturally—but you will find that extra a few decks down in the Penthouse Suites. See? There are some things which never go out of style.

We hopped onboard the Reflection's quickie preview cruise as a guest of Celebrity, but all photos and opinions are completely our own.

[Photos and Scans: Cynthia Drescher]

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Inflation

I'm really enjoying this series and seeing the comparison to the "good old days". By the way, when comparing cabin costs, you need to look at the impact of inflation. You say cabin costs have doubled, but if you adjust for inflation, that $550 cabin in 1975 would cost $2,340 today! So you can see what a great deal $890 is today.

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