Long gone are the days when cruises involved a small vessel with a few cabins and restaurants on board.
Nowadays cruise ships can hold thousands of passengers, not to mention they have heaps of shops, restaurants, theatres, casinos, pools, and even rollercoasters.
However, these ships don't last forever – so what happens when a ship comes to the end of its lifespan?
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Usually there are a few options, such as being bought by a different cruise line and receiving a makeover, or being transformed into a hotel or tourist attraction.
Sometimes there aren't any takers – so cruise ships end up going to 'breaking yards', aka cruise graveyards.
This is often a last resort, when a ship has been in service for 10-20 years and can't be repurposed.
Of course, these giant vessels can't just be docked somewhere.
Instead, older ships are sold to ship breaking yards, where they are stripped so that their parts can be sold on – a process that can take around six to eight months.
There are a handful of these 'cruise ship graveyards' around the world, with famous spots including Alang in India, Chittagong in Bangladesh and the Aliaga ship breaking yard in Turkey.
These yards aren't specifically used for cruise ships. Usually they will feature hundreds of giant ships including cargo ships, tankers, and even old floating hotels.
Of course not all ships end up in a breaking yard. In a small number of cases, ships have been transformed into hotels and attractions in their own right.
An example is Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2 is now a 13-deck floating hotel in Dubai, with lavish rooms, restaurants and a theatre. For the cruise-obsessed, guests can also take a 'heritage tour' of the ship and learn all about its fascinating history.
Other examples include Cunard's Queen Mary which was retired in the 1960s and has since been permanently moored at Long Beach in California, becoming home to a museum and a variety of restaurants.
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