What got me hooked on cruising were the sounds and smells of being out on the open ocean. That sea / salty smell when the ship is really moving, watching teh spray come up. So relaxing!!!! Also, the feel of the ship moving, especially comforting at night when trying to sleep.
My 1st cruise was in the early 1980's on the Carnival "Carnivale" - and back in those times it was a real "fun" ship. Tons of young folks drinking, drinking, and drinking!!! And back then men wore a suit and tie every nignt, and ladies almost always wore a dress at dinner.
If I recall, the prices back then were way up there. I sailed on the Home Lines cruise ship "Homeric" from NY to Bermuda in 1986 - the price was $900 per person for an inside cabin on the lowest level.
All these years later and I'm still cruising!!!!! :-)