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Impress your friends with our obscure cruise stats! (Photo: Viking)
Impress your friends with our obscure cruise stats! (Photo: Viking)

8 Fun Cruise Statistics You Never Knew

Impress your friends with our obscure cruise stats! (Photo: Viking)
Impress your friends with our obscure cruise stats! (Photo: Viking)
Senior Editor, News and Features
Aaron Saunders

Last updated
Oct 27, 2023

Read time
6 min read

The history of the cruise industry is littered with fun statistics and trivia. Here, we present a few of our favorite cruise stats and milestones that most cruisers don’t know about.

Impress your friends, win shipboard trivia and generally increase your cruise coolness factor with our 8 Interesting Cruise Stats You Never Knew:

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The First Cruise Ship Swimming Pool Debuted in 1906

White Star Line's RMS Adriatic of 1906 was the first ship to have an onboard swimming pool (Photo: Harland & Wolff Archives)
White Star Line's RMS Adriatic of 1906 was the first ship to have an onboard swimming pool (Photo: Harland & Wolff Archives)

White Star Line’s Adriatic of 1906 was the first ship to ever be fitted with a swimming pool for passenger comfort. Located on a lower deck, the pool – really not much more than a deep rectangle surrounded by a glass partition viewing area with adjacent changing lockers – also featured an adjoining Turkish Bath, which was akin to an early spa experience.

Within a few years, the trend had taken hold: pools, either indoor or out, were to be a feature of the transatlantic ocean liners and, eventually, cruise ships. And, in 1906, pools were restricted to first-class passengers only.

The Swim and Tonic Bar aboard Icon of the Seas (Rendering: Royal Caribbean)
The Swim and Tonic Bar aboard Icon of the Seas (Rendering: Royal Caribbean)

The largest swimming pool to ever be fitted onto a ship will debut in 2024 aboard Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas, which will have a massive, 40,000-gallon capacity. It will be one of seven swimming pools available for people to cool off and relax in – a far cry from the Adriatic over a century ago.

Cunard’s Britannia of 1840 Carried Live Cows Onboard

Cunard's Britannia of 1840 (Photo: Cunard Line)
Cunard's Britannia of 1840 (Photo: Cunard Line)

You can get milk by the carton or by the glass on every modern-day cruise ship. And, you could get fresh milk in 1840, too, when Cunard’s first ship, Britannia, set sail across the Atlantic. The kicker? That milk came from live cows kept onboard.

Refrigeration was in its infancy, and the first ship capable of carrying refrigerated cargo was still 26 years away. Because of that, Britannia sailed with cows in its hold, a practice adopted by many other ships. Passengers and crew would drink the milk the cows produced and then, on the final day of the voyage, the cows would be slaughtered and eaten. Keep in mind, these voyages took weeks in 1840.

Today, fresh milk and beef – along with an assortment of other products – can be kept aboard modern cruise ships for months thanks to refrigeration technology and provisioning in multiple ports of call. An average cruise ship uses about 1,375 gallons of fresh milk per week.

Millennials Are the Fastest Growing Segment of Repeat Cruisers

Saxsen Norton, an actress and model, Hero Otway, a model and actress, and Geo Vanna Gonzalez, a Miami-based artist, enjoy drinks at Sunset Bar on Celebrity Edge. (Photo: Naima Green/AIPP)
Saxsen Norton, an actress and model, Hero Otway, a model and actress, and Geo Vanna Gonzalez, a Miami-based artist, enjoy drinks at Sunset Bar on Celebrity Edge. (Photo: Naima Green/AIPP)

According to a 2023 report by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), 88% of Millennials who have cruised before plan to cruise again – beating any other age demographic by a decent margin.

Millennials – typically regarded as those born between 1981 and 1996 – are also the most interested in taking a cruise, with 77% of respondents in this age group indicating they’d like to take a cruise, even if they haven’t yet been on a ship.

Where Millennials like to cruise, however, may be surprising. While mainstream destinations like the Caribbean are firmly planted in the Millennial grasp, other destinations – including Asia, Africa, Central America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East rank highly, too.

Carnival Makes 60,000 Chocolate Covered Strawberries on Just One Day

Carnival Spirit docked at Icy Strait Point, Alaska (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Carnival Spirit docked at Icy Strait Point, Alaska (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

For Valentine’s Day aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s fleet of Fun Ships, chefs whip up over 60,000 chocolate covered strawberries fleetwide just on February 14 each year. That’s in addition to all of the sweet treats and desserts the line rolls out each and every day.

You could argue chocolate-covered strawberries are the staple in-room amenity, along with champagne and flowers, for most cruise passengers looking to indulge on a special date. Though it may not pair well with the line’s other famous creation, the “World’s Largest Cuban Sandwich at Sea”. This 10-foot-long creation was developed once in 2017 and consisted of five pounds of ham, 50 pounds of pork and six pounds of Swiss cheese.

Party Like It’s 1999: Internet Debuts Aboard Cruise Ships

The internet cafe aboard Norwegian Sky in 1999 (since removed). (Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line)
The internet cafe aboard Norwegian Sky in 1999 (since removed). (Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line)

The launch of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Sky in 1999 heralded another first: internet at sea. The ship’s Internet Café was a big deal back then – so much so that it was situated along the Galleria Promenade, front and center, for all passengers to see.

Of course, back in the day there was no wireless internet access, so the Internet Café was loaded with PC workstations. Access was slow and only available as pay-as-you-go packages that were timed – and expensive.

Wireless internet is so ubiquitous now on cruise ships that Internet Cafes are quickly becoming a thing of the past. But back in the day, this was one of the most revolutionary things at sea.

Disney Magic’s Anchor Weighs as Much as Three Elephants

Disney Magic (Photo: Disney Cruise Line)
Disney Magic (Photo: Disney Cruise Line)

You’ve probably seen Disney Cruise Line’s iconic yellow-painted anchors hanging from the bows of their ships…but did you know the average one weighs as much as three elephants?

Disney Cruise Line notes each anchor aboard their first ship, Disney Magic, weighs an astonishing 28,200 pounds – roughly the equivalent of three fully-grown elephants. What’s more, the length of an average anchor chain aboard a cruise ship is roughly 1,000 feet, with each individual link weighing up to 130 pounds apiece. That’s a lot of weight!

The First Non-Smoking Cruise Ship Debuted…25 Years Ago

Carnival Paradise (Photo: Carnival Cruise Line)
Carnival Paradise (Photo: Carnival Cruise Line)

Carnival Cruise Lines was truly ahead of its time when it debuted the world’s first non-smoking cruise ship back in 1998. Carnival Paradise was adorned with a gigantic no-smoking symbol emblazoned on its side (in person, you can still see it etched into the steel, beneath the bridge wings, if you look closely).

The non-smoking status of Carnival Paradise wasn’t just PR fluff, either: contractors who built the ship in Finland were prohibited from smoking while working on the construction and outfitting of the hull, and the fines for passengers who broke the rules were punishing: a $250 fine and removal from the ship at the next port of call.

The gamble lasted for six years until 2004, when Carnival announced the ship would be available to smokers beginning with its fall 2004 deployment to the U.S. West Coast. Today, Carnival Paradise is mostly non-smoking, with the exception of designated deck areas for smokers.

Nearly 30 Cruise Ships Were Scrapped During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Marco Polo was scrapped in 2020 (Photo: CMV)
Marco Polo was scrapped in 2020 (Photo: CMV)

From the 1996-built Costa Victoria to the venerable ex-ocean liner Marco Polo, nearly 30 major cruise ships were scrapped as a result of the halt in travel due to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. In all, Cruise Critic tracked 29 ships that went to the scrapyard between 2020 and 2023 – and several ships are still in limbo as this article was written.

How unusual is it to see that many ships scrapped over a three-year period? A typical year might only see two or three ships scrapped at a time. What’s more, half a dozen vessels not included in this tally are still out of service, having either been laid up or bought by holding companies – meaning the total number of ships scrapped due to the pandemic could continue to rise.

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