Cruise ships are passenger vessels which are used for pleasure voyages, usually annual holidays. The ship itself is considered to be one of the main reasons for the voyage rather than merely the the method of transport between two ports.
The vessels are usually large and luxurious. Certain cruise ships are referred to as ‘floating cities’. The vessels have a wide variety of amenities on board and offer a schedule of social activities for holiday makers to participate in whilst on board.
There are a wide variety of vessels used in the cruise industry, there is the standard cruise ship which is easily recognisable by its tiered appearance with swimming pools on the decks, these vessels are capable of carrying between 850 and 3000 passengers depending upon their size and number of cabins. These vessels usually have a plethora of amenities on board. Yachts and sail vessels are usually used for luxury or adventure cruises, they hold less passengers and the cruises usually have a more structured itinerary. Due to the demand for cruises the operators have begun to produce mega-cruise ships which are similar in style to the standard cruise ship however are much larger and can accommodate up to 5000 passengers.
Cruise ships which share the same design are known as sister ships and are referred to as being from the same ‘class’. the name given to any particular class is the name of the first vessel produced with the relevant design.
Disaster can befall a cruise ship as it can befall any ship and cruise ships are just as susceptible to human error, capsizing, running aground or sinking as any other vessel. However when a cruise ship is involved in a disaster the potential for disaster is higher than that of other vessels due to the high number of passengers usually aboard a cruise ship.