Air Travel and Its Effects on the Cruise Industry (1958 to 1969)
As air travel continues to increase and evolve through the 1960s, it results in a decrease in demand for transatlantic ship travel. It becomes more convenient and cost effective to fly rather than travel by ocean liner.
Alternatively, passenger ship travel turns towards leisure cruises to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico, and Alaska. New cruise lines are formed such as Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and Norwegian Caribbean Lines (name changed at a later date). During this period, more maritime regulations are added to SOLAS making it difficult for older ships to comply and be competitive unless they spend money to be refit.
1958 – Pan American World Airlines (aka: Pan Am) was the first airline to receive the American built Boeing 707 jets which make their first transatlantic flight. That year also marks the time when Pan Am also introduces economy fares.
1958 – Lindblad Travel is founded. The company charters vessels to take passengers to remote locations such as Antarctica, Galapagos, and Easter Island.
1959 – In January, expedition ship, Hans Hedtoft hits an iceberg off the coast of Greenland on her maiden voyage and sinks. Due to bad weather and lack of rescue effort, all 95 passengers and crew perish.
1959 – Pan American World Airways is the first airline to operate a scheduled round-the-world jet service. Six months after the first commercial flight across the Atlantic, statistics show that for the first time more people flew across the Atlantic rather than cruise across by ocean liner.
1960 – Steiner is awarded their first contract to operate the salon onboard the Andes (Royal Mail Lines). This was followed by the Queen Elizabeth and several other transatlantic liners operated by Cunard, P & O Cruises, and Royal Mail Lines.
1960 – During this year, it is required for aircraft flying in certain areas to carry a radar transponder to identify other aircraft. Additionally, the United States Navy successfully tests a satellite navigation system that uses five different satellites and can provide a navigational fix approximately once per hour.
1960 – In May, P&O merges with Orient Line to form P&O Orient Lines.
1960 – In June, the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) met in London at the Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS 1960). A number of technical improvements and amendments had been adopted since the previous SOLAS convention of 1948, such as radio requirements and the carriage of life rafts as a partial substitute for lifeboats. All these new regulations would come into force September 1965.
1960 – A commercial RADAR system called the TL RADAR (Transistorized Line and Collision Avoidance System) is launched.
1960 – In December, the P&O Orient Lines ship, Oriana embarks on her maiden voyage. She has only two classes, first and tourist.
1961 – In March, the P&O Orient Lines ship, Canberra sets out on her maiden voyage for her route from the UK carrying about 900 emigrants that would settle in Australia and New Zealand. The lifeboats on Canberra are made of fibreglass and are placed three decks lower than other ships her size. Plus, they are recessed into the hull, one of the first examples on passenger ships.
1961 – The United States Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is founded as an independent federal agency to regulate ocean borne transportation and commerce.
1962 – Telstar develops and NASA launches the world’s first telecommunications satellite.
1962 – Compagnie Generale Transatlantique (French Line) launches France on her maiden voyage in February. At the time she is the longest passenger ship in the world at over 1,000 feet long. Unfortunately because she is over 62,000 tons, her size is too large for the Suez Canal. She also had two indoor swimming pools one for first class and one for tourist class.
1962 – P&O’s Canberra is the largest passenger vessel to transit the Panama Canal at that time (45,000 tons). Her sister, Oriana would run aground in the Panama Canal six years later.
1963 – In December, Greek Line’s Lakonia catches fire and sinks. The ship had been previously owned and operated by Holland America Line. During her first year under the ownership of Greek Line, the ship’s hair salon catches fire and spreads quickly through the ship. A total of 128 persons perish during this incident.
1963 – Canadian Pacific renovates the Princess Patricia into an Alaska cruise liner for over $1 million. It is modified to include accommodations for 347 first class passengers and it is outfitted with self service laundry and a beauty salon. It is also fitted with air conditioning and swimming pool for its winter voyages to Mexico. It operates under a charter with Pacific Cruise Lines of Seattle. It would later be chartered by Princess Cruises as their first ship.
1964 – Italian company, Flotta Lauro purchases two ships and rename them, Angelina Lauro and Achille Lauro.
1965 – In April, the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL) is adopted (doesn’t go into force until 1967). The Convention contains recommended practices on formalities and procedures for ship’s arrival, stay, and departure in each port of call. The International Maritime Organization develops standardized forms for documents such as declaration of cargo, ship’s stores, crew effects, crew list, passenger list, and dangerous goods.
1965 – In September, the 1960 SOLAS Convention enters into force.
1965 – Survitec Group manufactures the first life raft to gain SOLAS approval for use on commercial vessels.
1965 – Princess Cruises is formed when company founder, Stanley B. McDonald charters Princess Patricia from Canadian Pacific and offers their first winter cruise season to Mexico starting in November.
1965 – In November, an American ship, Yarmouth Castle has a fire and sinks. On their Miami to Nassau route, a mattress stored near flammable objects catches fire in a storage room. The ship’s fire alarm is not sounded and the fire sprinklers are not activated. The fire spreads quickly. Most of the persons that were able to get in the lifeboats were crew members, including the Captain and the Chief Engineer. Close to 90 passengers perished.
1966 – As a result of the Yarmouth Castle fire, amendments are made to SOLAS. New maritime safety regulations are created, requiring safety inspections, fire drills and structural changes to new ships.
1966 – P&O completes the acquisition of Orient Lines.
1966 – International Cruise Shops was created to operate duty free shops onboard cruise ships (later to be called Starboard Cruise Services).
1966 – In February, IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) decides to study the operational requirements for a satellite communications system for maritime telecommunication purposes.
1966 – In May, the National Union of Seaman (NUS) goes on a pay strike that lasts six weeks. During the strike, ships block the port in London, Southampton and Liverpool. Participating in the strike action in the Port of Southampton is 900 crew members of the Queen Mary.
1966 – Ted Arison (future owner of Carnival Cruise Lines) sells his air cargo business and moves to Miami. During the year he establishes Arison Shipping Company and markets Caribbean cruises on the ships that he charters. Unfortunately the ship owners go bankrupt leaving him with bookings but with no ships.
1966 – The Norwegian family-owned business, Klosters Rederi builds the ship, MS Sunward but does not have success on its European ferry route. Knut Kloster decides to move the ship to Miami and partners with Ted Arison (future owner of Carnival Cruise Lines) to offer Caribbean cruises from Miami. The Sunward offers low cost cruises featuring only one class of cabin.
1966 – Commodore Cruise Line is founded although Commodore’s first ship would not be launched until 1968. Edwin Stephan was appointed the General Manger of Commodore. He was the ex-general manager of Yarmouth Steamship Company (re: Yarmouth Castle).
1967 – Queen Mary departs on her final cruise and arrives in Long Beach, California to operate as a hotel and museum.
1967 – A number of SOLAS amendments are adopted such as VHF radiotelephony, necessary in areas of high traffic density. Plus, the Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL) goes into force in March. During this year, the first generation of automatic fire detection systems is also developed.
1967 – Princess Cruises charters Princess Italia from Crociere d’ Oltremare to offer cruises from Los Angeles to Mexico. At this time Princess Cruises also offers its first Panama Canal cruises.
1968 – Princess Cruises charters Princess Carla from Costa Cruises (aka: Carla C). They continue to operate the Princess Italia and offer cruises to Alaska during the summer. This is also the year that Princess starts using the sea witch logo.
1968 – P&O Cruises bases the Himalaya in Sydney, Australia and offers a number of cruises to the South Seas.
1968 – Cunard sells Queen Elizabeth.
1968 – Three Norwegian shipping companies join together to establish Royal Caribbean Cruise Line as orchestrated by Edwin Stephan, the ex-Commodore Cruise Line manager. Stephan would go on to be RCCL’s president between 1969 and 1996.
1968 – As a result of the success of their ship, Sunward and the rapidly developing cruise industry, the Kloster family establishes Norwegian Caribbean Lines (NCL). They launch a new ship, Starward. They order Seaward and lay down the hull in 1970. The Seaward’s hull is eventually sold to P&O Cruises in 1971.
1968 – In December, Commodore Cruise Line launches Boheme on her maiden voyage. It offers one week Caribbean cruises out of Miami to compete with Norwegian Caribbean Lines.
1968 – New requirements are introduced into SOLAS such as shipboard navigational equipment, the use of automatic pilot and the carriage of nautical publications.
1968 – Holland America Line is the first line to adopt the Lido dining concept (aka: the buffet) with a wide variety of dining selections.
1969 – Holland America Line recruits dining room staff from Indonesia, later setting up a training program at a school in Bandung using actual Holland America Line dining settings.
1969 – Queen Elizabeth II enters service. It has the first purpose built Steiner salon.
1969 – Expedition vessel, Lindblad Explorer is built and Lars-Eric Lindblad operates cruises to Antarctica.
How Cruising was Reinvented (1970 to 1979)
Although some cruise lines continue to prosper, during the 1970s many ocean liners prove to be unprofitable and are either taken out of service or sold for scrap during this era. Contributing factors are the increase in fuel prices due to the Oil Crisis but also because the number of new regulations that makes it harder for older ships to comply. The introduction of the Boeing 747 may have been another contributor, too.
Many maritime regulations are created or amended through conventions that are held during this period. They include the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS 1974), Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) and the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea (COLREGS). In addition, technology continues to evolve with advancements such as Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and the Marine Evacuation System (MES).
1970 – Song of Norway enters service as Royal Caribbean’s first cruise ship. It was one of the first ships purposely designed for warm weather cruising.
1970 – Work begins on the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS). The amendments won’t come into force until 1992.
1971 – SOLAS regulations are amended concerning radiotelegraphy and radiotelephony.
1971 – British Overseas Airways Corporation (later to form British Airways) introduces its first Boeing 747 (aka: Jumbo Jet) into commercial service as the demand for air travel continues to increase.
1971 – P&O Orient Lines reorganizes the company into separate operating divisions. One of those operating divisions was called the Passenger Division. P&O purchases the hull of Kloster’s (Norwegian Caribbean Lines) Seaward to finish the ship as Spirit of London.
1971 – Ted Arison and Norwegian Caribbean Lines have a dispute about their partnership agreement. Arison held a pool of passengers’ advance payments. Kloster expected that Arison would hand over the $6.5 million in passenger deposits, forward bookings and passenger records. Arison did not, and a legal battle began. Later it is alleged that the passenger records and bookings were stolen from Arison’s office.
1971 – Holland America Line buys one million shares of the Alaska tour company, Westours, thereby controlling the interest in the tour company.
1972 – Holland America Line changes their passenger ships to Dutch registry and also changes the colour of their passenger ships’ hulls to midnight-blue.
1972 – Ted Arison approaches American International Travel Services (AITS) of Boston and forms a new subsidiary, Carnival Cruise Lines of which he will work as manager. The new company buys Empress of Canada and from Canadian Pacific and renames her, Mardi Gras. On Mardi Gras’ maiden voyage it runs aground departing Miami.
1972 – The cruise ship, Angelina Lauro is given an extensive refit to be able to accommodate 800 passengers within one cabin class. It is relocated to San Juan, Puerto Rico for Caribbean cruises.
1972 – In October, the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) are adopted as a convention of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and will enter into force in 1977. These “rules of the road” are designed to update and replace the Collision Regulations of 1960, in particular with regards to Traffic Separation Schemes (TSS). The IMO also designates federal authorities from each member country to implement and enforce the provisions (ie Coast Guard).
1972 – Luxury cruise line, Royal Viking Line is founded. They introduce three vessels that cater to wealthy retirees offering single cabin occupancy and single seating dining.
1972 – Hapag Lloyd is formed when German shipping companies Hapag and Norddeutscher Lloyd merge.
1972 – Princess Cruises acquires Island Princess. Princess Tours is also founded during this year.
1972 – In October, P&O Cruises’ Spirit of London departs on her maiden voyage. It is P&O’s first diesel powered ocean liner.
1973 – The Arab Oil Embargo causes an oil crisis where the price of oil to jumps from $3 US in 1972 to $12 US per barrel by 1974. This is also the beginning of a worldwide recession. During this time, Holland America Line takes the Veendam III and Volendam II out of service.
1973 – Due to decline in emigrants to Australia, P&O’s Canberra is repositioned to New York to offer cruises to the Caribbean. Unfortunately she is not as successful as planned.
1973 – Carnival Cruise Lines’ Mardi Gras is not very successful due to its two-class layout and the fact that many of the cabins are without private facilities. Bookings are down and Carnival faces financial difficulties especially with cash flow.
1973 – In November, the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is adopted. It provides new regulations regarding pollution by oil, chemicals, sewage and garbage. It is one of the first conventions to protect the marine environment. It would enter force in 1975.
1974 – Ted Arison purchases full ownership of the ailing Carnival Cruise Lines from its parent company, American International Travel Services (AITS) of Boston. For the purchase price of $1, he assumes $5 million in debt and renames the company, Carnival Corporation.
1974 – P&O’s Canberra undergoes a refit that converts her from an ocean liner to a cruise ship. She is converted into a one-class ship with many four-berth cabins transformed into two-berth cabins. As a result her overall capacity decreases to 1,737. Her sister, Oriana was converted to a one-class ship the year prior.
1974 – British Airways is formed through the merger of British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways.
1974 – Princess Cruises is acquired by the Pennisular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O) and becomes P&O Princess Cruises. They both continue to trade under their own brand names. Spirit of London is transferred to the Princess Cruises’ fleet and they rename her, Sun Princess. At this time, Princess Cruises also acquires Pacific Princess.
1974 – Prior to France being taken out of service in October, her crew goes on strike in September hoping to keep the ship in service along with a pay increase for the crew. The strike fails and the ship goes out of service the next day.
1974 – The SOLAS Convention is held in London and SOLAS 1974 is adopted. It incorporates all the latest amendments made since the SOLAS 1960 Convention. As a result of so many changes, SOLAS Chapter II is now split into two sections.
1974 – Between 1970 and 1974, P&O Orient Lines scraps or sells a number of their ocean liners including Cathay (1970), Iberia (1972), Orcades (1972), Chusan (1973), Orsova (1974), and Himalaya (1974).
1975 – In response to a need for an association to promote the benefits of cruising, the CLIA is formed.
1975 – P&O Orient Lines reports a loss of 6.9 million pounds for their passenger division.
1975 – TV producer, Aaron Spelling develops “The Love Boat” TV series and Princess Cruises agrees to become the backdrop for the show using Island Princess and Pacific Princess. It begins filming the following year.
1975 – Holland America’s Prinsendam conducts HAL’ s first Alaska cruise on the Inside Passage itinerary.
1975 – Following the bankruptcy of Greek Line, Carnival purchases Queen Anna Maria (ex-Empress of Britain). It is renamed and enters service as Carnivale and in 1976 and it turns a profit for its first year.
1975 – Cunard Line’s QE2 is the biggest ocean liner to transit the Panama Canal.
1975 – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) establishes the Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) to assist the cruise ship industry in preventing and controlling the introduction, transmission, and spread of gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses on cruise ships.
1976 – The Convention on the International Maritime Satellite Organization is adopted. The convention defines the purposes of Inmarsat (aka: Organization to the International Mobile Satellite Organization) as being able to improve maritime communications. Examples include improving distress communications at sea and maritime public correspondence services.
1976 – HAL begins recruiting skilled personnel from the Philippines, first to work in the deck and engine department, then in the kitchens and bars.
1976 – Cunard Line launches the Cunard Countess and Cunard Princess. These ships are two of the first non-“Queen” ships to be built by Cunard. They are positioned for cruises in the Caribbean.
1977 – Love Boat first airs September 24th. For its first seven years, The Love Boat was successful in the ratings, ranking among the top twenty. It runs until May 24, 1986.
1977 – The new international regulations for preventing collisions at Sea (COLREGS) are entered into force.
1977 – Norwegian Caribbean Lines purchases an island in the Bahamas and renames it Great Stirrup Cay. They develop it into a private island destination for their passengers.
1977 – Carnival Cruise Lines purchases the S.A. Vaal and rebuilds it in a $30 million makeover which includes a 10 foot L-shaped waterslide, a cruise industry first. Festivale begins service in 1978 as the fastest and largest ship cruising in the Caribbean.
1977 – Holland America purchases the remaining shares in Westours and makes the tour company private.
1977 – P&O Orient Lines rebrands its passenger divisions and names them P&O Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia. P&O would later report that their passenger divisions recorded a profit of 4.1 million pounds for 1977.
1978 –The MARPOL Protocol of 1978 was adopted in response to a number of oil tanker accidents such as the NEPCO 140 accident in 1976. That oil tanker spilled about 300,000 gallons of crude oil into the St. Lawrence River near the Thousand Islands after it ran aground in fog. Another oil tanker, Argo Merchant, ran aground 29 miles offshore of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts spilling close to 200,000 barrels of crude oil. Stricter regulations are introduced for the survey and certification of ships.
1978 – The Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW78) for Seafarers is originally adopted on July 7, 1978. It establishes the basic requirements on seafarer standards on an international level. It is to enter into force in 1984.
1978 – Royal Caribbean’s Song of Norway is the first passenger ship to be “stretched” by cutting the ship in two and increasing capacity by 300 additional berths.
1978 – In the port of Miami, FBI busts the organised crime ring of the International Longshoremen’s Association. It was discovered that Carnival was one of the only cruise lines not paying bribes to the mob.
1979 – Survitec Group manufactures first Marine Evacuation System (MES).
1979 – In March, while the Lauro Lines’ Angelina Lauro (chartered by Costa Cruises) was alongside in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands she has a fire, burns and sinks. The fire started in a galley and spread through restaurants and passenger cabins. Most of the passengers and crew were ashore when the fire broke out.
Cruise Ship Industry from 1980 to 1989
Just as more ships are built and rebuilt in the 1980s, some cruise lines change their name or their branding. There are also a number of new cruise lines formed in the 1980s such as Seabourn, Windstar, Dolphin, Regency, Crystal, Renaissance and Celebrity. Plus, the partnership that Walt Disney World has with Premier Cruises would be instrumental in Disney Cruise Line emerging in the 1990s.
Also in the 1980s, we see the origins of onboard shopping programs emerge and the introduction of another private island destination by Royal Caribbean. This is also the period when many International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations come into force such as MARPOL 73/78 (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships) and STCW 78 (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping).
1980 – In May, Norwegian Caribbean Line launches the Norway on her maiden voyage. They had purchased the ex-France in 1979, rebuilt her and changed the name to Norway. At 76,049 tons, it is the longest and largest passenger vessel afloat at the time. It enters service with the new Alarmline linear heat and fire detection system, manufactured by Walter Kidde plc.
1980 – On October 4th, Holland America Line’s Prinsendam has an engine room fire while cruising through the Gulf of Alaska. Within one hour, the Captain declares the fire uncontrollable. Although the satellite communications failed, an SOS was able to be sent. Although the ship sinks, all passengers and crew are successfully evacuated.
1980 – On October 23rd, the British crew on the Cunard Countess go on strike, stranding its passengers in Barbados. The strike between Cunard Line and the British National Union of Seafarers was about Cunard Line planning to register the ship in the Bahamas so they could hire foreign crew. Although Cunard issues the striking workers with dismissal notices five days later, the ship doesn’t change its registry to Bahamas until 1990.
1980 – In December, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (aka: Alaska Lands Act of 1980) is signed into law. Mt. McKinley National Park and Denali National Monument are incorporated to establish Denali National Park & Preserve. The law increases the size of Mount McKinley National Park by adding 2.4 million acres to the park itself and an additional 1.3 million acres in two adjacent national preserves.
1981 – Due to the Iraq-Iran War, the price of oil increases to $35 per barrel.
1982 – Carnival Cruise Lines debuts their cruise ship, Tropicale. It is the first ship that they have custom built for their company.
1982 – British government charters Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 and P&O Cruises’ Canberra for use as troop carriers in the Falklands War between Argentina and Britain.
1983 – Lindblad Explorer became the first passenger ship to navigate the Northwest Passage.
1983 – Premier Cruise Line is founded to provide three and four night cruises from Port Canaveral, Florida to the Bahamas. The cruise line would eventually partner with Walt Disney World in 1985 to provide Disney cruise vacations.
1983 – The MARPOL Convention enters force in October. It is a combination of the 1973 Convention and the 1978 Protocol.
1984 – The Royal Princess joins the Princess Cruises fleet. It is an innovative ship featuring all outside cabins.
1984 – Dolphin Cruise Line and Regency Cruises are created during this year. Additionally, V-Ships, which is a global leader in supplying independent ship management is formed this year, too.
1984 – Network television advertising is used for the first time in the United States by Carnival Cruise Lines. Their new advertising campaign stars company spokesperson, Kathie Lee Gifford (then Johnson).
1984 – The Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW 78) for Seafarers enters into force. It establishes the basic requirements on seafarer standards on an international level.
1984 – The Shipping Act of 1984 is passed and brings about a major deregulatory change for ocean going commerce.
1985 – Premier Cruise Lines partners with Walt Disney World to provide land and sea vacations on the Big Red Boat. Premier is licensed to use Disney characters on its ships.1985 – On October 7, 1985 four men from the Palestinian Liberation Front (PLF) hijack the Achille Lauro cruise liner, demanding release of 50 Palestinians from Israeli prisons. Leon Klinghoffer, a disabled US citzen, 69 years, was killed and thrown overboard. All four terrorists lived, and only two were imprisoned.
1985 – The first international satellite system is operational by Cospas-Sarsat, a joint effort between United States, Canada, Soviet Union, and France. This satellite system aids in distress tracking for search and rescue. Radio beacons such as EPIRB (emergency position-indicating radio beacons) send a signal which aid in the detection and location of ships and people in distress.
1986 – Direct dial satellite calls are introduced.
1986 – Princess Cruises debuts the Alaska cruise route, “Voyage of the Glaciers” on Sea Princess.
1986 – ARPA Selescan Radar Line is introduced (ARPA with raster scan).
1986 – Royal Caribbean leases their private destination, Labadee on the coastal property in Haiti.
1986 – Windstar Cruises launches their first vessel, Wind Star.
1986 – Kloster Group’s Norwegian Caribbean Line purchases Royal Viking Line.
1987 – In March, the ferry, Herald of Free Enterprise overturned in the Port of Zeebrugge with over 190 passengers and crew losing their lives. When the ship left the harbour with her bow door open the decks were immediately flooded and within minutes it was lying on its side. The crewmember that was assigned to close the door was asleep in his cabin.
1987 – Norwegian Caribbean Lines rebrands itself with the new name, Norwegian Cruise Line.
1987 – Carnival Cruise Lines makes its first public stock offering.
1987 – Cunard’s QE2 is converted from steam to diesel electric and her accommodations are modernized.
1987 – Princess Cruises opens their Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge in Alaska.
1988 – Crystal Cruises is formed as a luxury cruise line.
1988 – P&O Princess Cruises acquires Sitmar Cruises.
1988 – Seabourn Cruise Line’s first ship Seabourn Pride enters service.
1988 – Royal Caribbean International’s Sovereign of the Seas embarks on her maiden voyage as the worlds’ largest cruise ship.
1988 – Bill Panoff (future CEO of PPI Group), stops working as a cruise director for Carnival Cruise Lines and starts a new business. He develops a coupon book, the Cruise Director’s Guide to St. Thomas, which is distributed through travel agents to their clients for free. This is the start of a business that would go on to publish in-cabin publications for major cruise lines as well as operate shopping programs on many cruise ships.
1988 – In December, the marine pollution regulations called MARPOL Annex V enters into force. It contains requirements regarding Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships. It deals types of garbage and specifies the distances from land and the manner in which they may be disposed of. The Annex completely bans the disposal of all forms of plastics into the sea.
1988 – Norwegian Cruise Line builds their ship, Seaward and introduces one of the first surcharge restaurants with a dedicated space on a cruise ship. They had first introduced their concept of Le Bistro aboard the Norway in an existing space that was transformed during dinner time. It should also be noted that there was a surcharge restaurant on the Titanic back in 1912 run by the Ritz Hotel of London.
1988 – In February, P&O seafarers part of the National Union of Seamen (NUS) stop work and go on strike in protest of cut wages and longer hours.
1988 – Amendments to SOLAS require ships to be fit with Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) equipment when sailing in specified sea areas. The Inmarsat communications equipment is the only mobile satellite system recognized by SOLAS for distress and safety calls. Ships are required to carry NAVTEX and satellite EPIRBs by August 1993, and have all other GMDSS equipment fit by February 1, 1999.
1989 – Onboard Media is founded. Similar to PPI Group they would also be instrumental in creating the niche market of cruise shopping promotion and also produce in-stateroom magazines to promote shopping.
1989 – The International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopts an amendment that clarifies the use of inshore traffic zones. It would enter into force in 1991.
1989 – Carnival Cruise Lines acquires Holland America Line, including Windstar Cruises.
1989 – Star Princess joins fleet of Princess Cruises. It had been built for Sitmar Cruises but because Sitmar was acquired by P&O Princess, the ship is transferred to the Princess Cruises brand.
1989 – Renaissance Cruises is founded to operate cruises primarily in Europe.
1989 – Celebrity Cruises is founded.
1989 – On March 14, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker hits a reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska and spills more than a half million barrels of crude oil.
1989 – The cruise line, Flotta Lauro is purchased by Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC). They rename the brand, StarLauro Cruises. The name will later change to MSC Cruises.