I love cruising. I went on my first cruise when I was 6 years old and we cruised on the Canberra from Southampton all the way to the Caribbean and then back again. It took us a week to get there, where we cruised for a week in the Caribbean and then took a week to get back. We cruised over Christmas, and after that cruise we were hooked!


I remember bits and pieces of what the Canberra was like and our photos, such as the one above, definitely help to jog my memory. I do remember that the decks dipped and it was really noticeable along the corridors to the cabins (they were called cabins back then, not staterooms!). There were 1,700 passengers on the Canberra.

We cruised a lot on the Victoria, a cruise ship that only carried 780 passengers. Quite a small ship as you can tell from the photo below! I remember our kids club was just an annex room that was actually directly below the Captain’s cabin – we found that out one night when we were being particularly noisy! Nowadays, the kids clubs on cruise ships are phenomenal! Kids have their own movie theatres, chill out lounges, game consoles room, music studios, DJ rooms, arts and crafts rooms, science labs etc. Cruising has come a long way even when you look at just the kids clubs.


As for the entertainment, I grew up watching shows in a lounge with a small stage and I always enjoyed the entertainment. Then the shows moved to a proper theatre and now you also have specialized theatres where the stage moves and there are stages that are designed with a particular show in mind. I recently sailed on the Oasis of the Seas, a 6,000-passenger ship with an Aquatheatre (shown in the photo), an ice rink for their ice shows and a ‘regular’ theatre for their production of Hairspray. It was incredible to watch the high divers during the Aqua show and the figure skaters and to think that we were at sea.


Dinner was also different ‘back in the day’. Dinner was at 2 separate times and they used to call us to dinner. It was a 7-course meal with silver service and there was only the one restaurant. Of course, it is quite different now with a lot of cruise lines offering anytime dining and a number of restaurants to dine at. I do enjoy the dining options that are available now, but I have to admit that I do miss how dinner used to be more of an event on a cruise.

When I was younger, activities used to include table tennis, games and the greasy pole at the pool. If you don’t know what a greasy pole is, it’s when they put a log of wood over the pool (they used to have very steep sides to stop the water from sloshing up the side and out of the pool) and you were given a pillowcase with balloons in. You would shuffle along to the middle of the pool and start whacking you opponent with your pillowcase until one of you would fall off and into the pool. It was quite the highlight of the cruise. As cruising evolved, I started to see more sports courts, golf simulators and also mini golf. The last cruise I went on did not have a greasy pole, but it did have a climbing wall, a carousel, a zip line and a flow rider that simulates surfing just to name a few of the activities.

greasy pole

Cruising has definitely changed and I still love to cruise. However, there are parts to a cruise that will always remain the same, such as how you are able to discover the world in comfort by unpacking just the once, and how you have wonderful opportunities to meet new people whether it’s your fellow passengers or some of the crew. Experiencing the evolution of cruising has been fantastic and I can’t wait to see what the future of cruising will bring us. Hover boards instead of flow riders perhaps?


About the Author

Rhian Torontow is a Family Travel Consultant with Magical Family Adventures. Rhian creates travel experiences that foster connections in your family that will last a lifetime and transforms your children into open-minded, flexible, well-travelled people. During Rhian’s childhood, her father travelled for work constantly and it was always travel that brought her family back together. You can follow Rhian on Facebook at www.facebook.com/magicalfamilyadventures, Instagram @MagicalFamilyAdventures and you can also connect with her on LinkedIn ca.linkedin.com/in/rhiantorontow/