7 cruises in popular culture


1st Jan 2015 Travel

7 cruises in popular culture

A cruise is a fantasy trip for many people, and it's no wonder that they pop up so often in works of fiction, from TV shows to books.

With hundreds of people living in close quarters and exploring exotic destination, cruises are a recipe for drama and excitement, and the perfect backdrop for all sorts of genres of work. There have also been some big news stories revolving around cruise ships, both good and bad, and here are seven notable times when cruises have made it into popular culture. 

Anything Goes

This toe-tapping Cole Porter musical is set aboard an ocean liner, telling the story of a stowaway in love with an heiress. First performed in 1934, it has been adapted for film twice, with the 1936 version staying closer to the original story, and starring Ethel Merman and Bing Crosby in the main roles. It's also been performed around the world countless times, with the 1987 Broadway revival earning ten Tony Award nominations, and it has become a popular musical for amateur groups to perform.

The Poseidon Adventure

The onboard safety videos can't have prepared the passengers in The Poseidon Adventure for their fate. This cult action movie from 1972 shows how a group of passengers survive when their ship is overturned by a freak wave during a New Year's party. It's a little too kitschy to be truly terrifying for any cruise passenger, and the 2005 remake failed to make much of a cultural impact.

Death on the Nile 

This classic Agatha Christie novel has been constantly in print since it was first published in 1937, and it features several wealthy and elegant characters taking a cruise along the Nile. Her popular character of Hercule Poirot is on hand to solve the murder of an heiress, and the novel takes you through the many twists and turns you'd expect of Christie's work. It's been adapted several times over the years, including in theatre, radio, cinema, and even in comic book form.

The QE2 launches

The launch of one of the world's most iconic cruise ships, Queen Elizabeth 2, was carried out in 1967 by the eponymous monarch, and soon made the newspapers around the world. At the time, shipbuilders Cunard did not release the names of ships until the launch, and they were expecting the monarch to name the ship Queen Elizabeth, as a ship by that name had recently been retired. However, they were pleased with the change, and the QE2, as she became known, stayed in service as a luxury liner until 2008. There have since been plans to turn it into a hotel, although none of these have come into fruition.

King Kong 

Everyone remembers the second half of King Kong, and the famous scene with the Empire State Building. What they may forget is the first half of the 1933 film, where a beautiful actress is enticed by a filmmaker to board an adventurous cruise and film in exotic locations. However, she later discovers that the true purpose of the journey is to find a mysterious island where a giant gorilla known as 'Kong' by the locals is said to live.

Speed 2: Cruise Control

Action movie Speed had huge box office success in 1994, with its tense story of passengers stuck on a bus that would explode if its speed dropped below 50mph. In 1997, trying to capitalise on the film's success, the lacklustre sequel Speed 2: Cruise Control was released to disastrous reviews, and critics found the film's premise, a cruise ship programmed to crash into an oil tanker, to be laughable.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

For a bit of old Hollywood glamour, it's hard to beat Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, where Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe play showgirls who are looking for love aboard a stylish cruise ship. The movie features Monroe performing one of her most famous hits, Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend, and often makes it into lists of top musicals thanks to its sparkling dialogue and catchy songs.