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Does Size Matter?
The popularity of cruise ships inevitably leads to greater competition within the world of cruise lines. This competition takes on many forms, among which there is no one specific form that takes precedence over all others. But in many people’s eyes there is always going to be one way to trump everyone else, and this can be summed up in three words: Bigger is Better. This clarion call has certainly had the desired effect on Royal Caribbean cruise lines, who are in the process of premiering their latest and largest liner – and the largest yet built in the world. The ship, to be known as the Oasis of the Seas, will get its maiden voyage towards the end of 2009, and the statistics already released about it are frankly dizzying in their enormity.
The ship will weigh 220,000 tonnes – larger by far than the previous largest cruise ship in the world – another Royal Caribbean liner by the name of Independence of the Seas, which weighed 154,407. This amazing size would appear in the minds of many to make for an unwieldy and cumbersome vessel, but the control mechanisms of the Oasis seem set to make it a smooth-running ship that will respond without delay to whatever the ship’s captain asks of it. The ship will contain its own Central Park-style village at its core, the middle of an amazing edifice that stands sixteen decks high. This is something unprecedented in the history of cruise ships. What Royal Caribbean seem to be aiming for is a floating city that will go all over the world. While having all of the amenities of a city, it will be marginally less populated – but only marginally, carrying 5,400 guests.
This is a logical continuation of the process mentioned above, whereby cruise lines set about providing something more, something different that the other cruise lines will find incredibly difficult to top. While the cruise ships of old were like floating hotels more than anything, the more recent efforts have gone beyond this to provide a holiday within a holiday. Like all cruise ships, the Oasis will still sail from port to port, from city to city and from country to country. But more than any ship ever before, the Oasis will allow its passengers to have as much fun while on the ship and in transit as any before.
While this level of outlandish – some might say overstated – enormity might turn some people off, and for some go against the spirit of what a cruise ship is meant for, the truth is that cruise ships are designed with the intention of getting as many paying customers as possible on their journeys. Long before the ship ever hits the waves, Royal Caribbean’s latest effort has got people talking and, more than that, has sold out cabins for its maiden voyage. So, regardless of what may come into the argument in terms of the spirit of cruise ships, the Oasis of the Sea has already had one huge success.