The first vessel built exclusively for this purpose was the Prinzessin Victoria Luise, designed by Albert Ballin, general manager of Hamburg-America Line. The ship was completed in 1900.
The practice of cruising grew gradually out of the transatlantic crossing tradition, which never took fewer than four days. In the competition for passengers, ocean liners added many luxuries — the Titanic being the most famous example — such as fine dining and well-appointed staterooms.
In the late 19th century, Albert Ballin, director of the Hamburg-America Line, was the first to send his transatlantic ships out on long southern cruises during the worst of the winter season of the North Atlantic. Other companies followed suit. Some of them built specialized ships designed for easy transformation between summer crossings and winter cruising.