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Whether you enjoy sailing aboard the largest mega cruise ships or small, intimate expedition vessels, there’s bound to be one common feature: at least one (and sometimes many, many more) swimming pool. But this standard feature today was far from de facto equipment in days gone by, and its deployment was far less elaborate.
The first swimming pool at sea was installed on White Star Line‘s RMS Adriatic in 1907. Consisting of a basic, white-tiled “plunge bath” coupled with steam rooms of varying temperatures, this “Turkish Bath” concept became so popular with the line’s guests that White Star drew up plans to include this revolutionary new feature on two enormous vessels which were then in the planning stage: RMS Olympic and Titanic.
The official 1907 White Star Line brochure for the Adriatic lists the particulars of the pool and baths for each voyage:
The TURKISH BATHS, which are located on the main deck,
consist of the usual steam, hot, temperate, and cooling rooms,
shampooing rooms, massage couch and electric baths.
A plunge bath is also provided in conjunction with the same.
Experienced attendants are in charge.
These baths will be available for:
LADIES from 10 am to 1 pm 4/ $1.00
GENTLEMEN from 2 pm to 7 pm 4/$1.00
ELECTRIC BATHS (by appointment only) 4/$1.00
TICKETS OBTAINABLE AT THE ENQUIRY OFFICE
Not only were the pools and amenities aboard the Adriatic the first at sea, but they were also arguably some of the first Spas at sea, as many of the amenities closely mirror those offered in Spas on modern cruise ships.
One dollar in 1907 is roughly equal to $24 in 2012 currency – considerably more expensive than spa prices today when you consider most lines charge between $25 and $50 per day – not per four hours – for use of the onboard hydrotherapy pool and thermal loungers.
Today though, pools are no longer relegated to clinical-looking spaces nestled deep within the hull of a ship. They are prominent features on the uppermost decks of nearly every cruise ship afloat, and the architectural icing on the cake for many of the newest vessels afloat that feature increasingly elaborate pool deck designs and configuration.
So how diverse are pools aboard cruise ships? Here’s a look at a few of our favorites!
From the Deck Chair will return tomorrow.
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