17, I sailed on 2 Big Red Boat cruises with my family when my kids were young. They used to have Disney characters onboard, but Disney terminated their contract with that cruise line when they started anticipating building their own Disney ships. It was then that the Big Red Boats started having Looney Tunes characters onboard instead of the departed Disney.
We had a great time on both cruises. Great kids' programs, the best on a cruise ship at that time.
"The Big Red Boat" was a nickname given to the ships of Premier Cruise Line. Actually, there were 4 ships to start: Atlantic, Majestic, Royale and Oceanic. We sailed the Oceanic and Atlantic when they were still partnered with Disney.
In 2000, the year of its collapse, Premier Cruises decided to rebrand another two of its ships which previously sported blue hulls "Big Red Boats". Plans to rebrand the "Rembrandt" (the former S/S "Rotterdam"), as well, were abandoned after major protests from shiplovers all over the world.
Instead, Premier chartered the ship "Edinburgh Castle" from its owners, British Cammell Laird shipyard, and renamed it "The Big Red Boat II". The ship was laid up following Premier's bankruptcy in September, 2000 and was scrapped in India, last year:
I think Premier's biggest mistake was when they renamed all the ships to "Boats". It just never made sense to rename a classic ship like the "Festivale" (renamed "Island Breeze") then call it "Big Red Boat III". It was about as bad as Renaissance naming their ships R1, R2,.etc.
I agree that it makes no sense naming a classic cruise liner "boat".
But then IMHO this was not a main reason for Premier's demise. The charter of "The Big Red Boat II" was a technical nightmare and mismanagement (anybody remember the "Seven-Star Service" joke?) was a major factor, as well. Can you spell N-I-E-R-E-N-B-E-R-G?