Don’t worry, it hasn’t come to this . . . yet!
The illustration to the left is a kind of whimsical observation of the future of cruising from the official Port Everglades, FL Web site.
But new build cruise ships continue headed off into new directions . . . or is it the same old direction, aping the latest and greatest Las Vegas hotel?
A hotel has a roller coaster feature, why not a the CARNIVAL OF THE SEAS. Wow! That’s a name . . . would take the merger of two giants to achieve, but, who knows?
In addition to casinos, specialty restaurants, show rooms, spas, bars, video arcades, we already have ice skating rinks, bowling alleys, water parks, climbing walls, and golf courses with real grass. What’s next?
How about a rain forest? You won’t have to bother getting off the ship in Costa Rica or Panama with the new design of Oslo-based Yran & Storbraaten Architects (Y&S), probably featuring all those awful plastic plants that Royal Caribbean seems to favor and hidden speakers with sounds of water, birds, and croaking frogs. Throw in some misters, and a few hot tubs, and steam room alcoves and you can charge extra to visit! Maybe even add a specialty restaurant, like those tacky, plastic Rain Forest restaurants that pop up in touristy areas.
World Cruise Network is an interesting site which has a lot of insight into the future of cruising.
If you haven’t figured it out for yourself already, Ben Clement, director of shipbuilding at Carnival, says,
“The evolution in shipbuilding and design is about bringing in extra amenities to reflect the trends in hotels and resorts on land . . .
“We are all definitely following the trends of designers,” says Clement. “Seeing what the competition is doing in Las Vegas, new designs, top hotels and looking to create better value. It’s about creating the global experience with better amenities and venues, and bringing onboard new technology.”
When Royal Caribbean’s MALL OF THE SEAS, pardon, OASIS OF THE SEAS, sets sail this December, Royal Caribbean for better or worse, again pushes the envelope. According to an article on World Cruise Network . . .
“At 225,000t and costing an estimated $1.2bn, Oasis of the Seas will be almost 50% larger than the industry’s next biggest cruise ships – Royal Caribbean’s Freedom Class of three luxury liners. Currently under construction at STX Europe’s Turku shipyard in Finland, Oasis of the Seas will span 18 decks and rise 65m above the waterline. It will be 361m long, 47m wide and will carry more than 5,400 guests and a crew of 2,800.
“While the size of the ship is obvious, this is not what makes it so innovative,” says Toivo Ilvonen, project director, Oasis Class, STX Europe. “The original intention was to create new passenger experiences. So, to incorporate all the activities, we had to build a bigger ship. With so many people on board, safety for passengers and the environment was a prime consideration.”
“Royal Caribbean observes no limits when it comes to innovation at sea.”
The hull is made of two central structures, which is most obvious in Central Park, one of the ship’s seven themed ‘neighbourhoods’, where the centre of the ship opens up to the sky with inward-facing balcony cabins. It features lush tropical grounds that span the length of a football field, with seasonal flowers and trees, some reaching several decks high. Irrigation and drainage systems have been installed to ensure the plants stay healthy, says Ilvonen.
“Creating Central Park has been challenging given that it is a permanently wet area, containing cooking facilities,” he explains. “Technical aspects, such as materials selection and the irrigation system were a real challenge, as well as making sure that the overall environment works with specific restaurant areas.”
The Boardwalk, which was inspired by English and American seaside piers, includes the AquaTheater, an amphitheatre-style space at the stern that will hold choreographed fountain shows set against a stunning ocean backdrop. “It is one of the most technologically advanced areas of the ship,” says Ilvonen, “with three custom lifts, two diving boards and a cantilevered stage that rises and falls to suit performances.”
Other firsts at sea are a full-sized traditional-style carousel and, suspended nine decks above, a thrill-seekers’ zip line that allows riders to speed 25m diagonally across the open-air atrium.
The Royal Promenade features the Rising Tide Bar, the first moving bar at sea, which will rise vertically to a height of three decks. Suspended above the Globe and Atlas pub, a hydraulically controlled bridge will unfurl to extend over the Promenade as a viewing platform.
Accommodation features include 28 loft-style suites, which will offer spectacular ocean views, courtesy of their high positions on the vessel and their floor-to-ceiling, double-height windows.
Each loft will measure 51m² or larger. The ship’s only Royal Suite will house a baby grand piano while the Presidential Family Suite is capable of housing up to 14 people. There are also six AquaTheater Suites, ten Owner Suites, four Family Suites, 30 Grand Suites and 2,700 staterooms.
So where’s it all stop? It doesn’t!