World's largest cruise ship, "Harmony of the Seas"
March 11, 2016 5:34 AM   Subscribe

World's largest cruise ship, "Harmony of the Seas" The 120,000-tonne, 16-deck ship set off on Thursday from Saint-Nazaire, western France for a three-day offshore test. Harmony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, set off on Thursday on its first sea trial from Saint-Nazaire, western France, with just two months to go to delivery. The city’s STX France shipyards began building the €1bn ($1.1bn) mammoth for US shipbuilder Royal Caribbean International (RCI) in September 2013. Thousands of people gathered at the dock to watch as the 120,000-tonne ship was helped out to sea by six tugs.
posted by lungtaworld (141 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wow, imagine how much norovirus that thing could hold!
posted by indubitable at 5:35 AM on March 11, 2016 [121 favorites]


An interesting piece of engineering, but I can't imagine a worse form of hell than a vacation on a cruise ship. Something for everyone and all that...
posted by fluffycreature at 5:58 AM on March 11, 2016 [6 favorites]


"...Nicholas Cage stars as Captain John Wright, who fights to protect his ship from the storm of the century, as well as Sea Rex - a recently awakened marine dinosaur."
posted by davebush at 6:00 AM on March 11, 2016 [30 favorites]


Sooner or later, one of these things will be bought to make the Libertarian Paradise over international waters, just to Mary Celeste'd some time after.
posted by lmfsilva at 6:00 AM on March 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


God himself could not sink this ship!
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:01 AM on March 11, 2016 [12 favorites]


It looks frighteningly top-heavy, but more than that…by God that thing is fugly.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 6:02 AM on March 11, 2016 [22 favorites]


Myself, I'm just disappointed at the paucity of other FPPs tagged "verylarge."
posted by Mayor West at 6:02 AM on March 11, 2016 [21 favorites]


Megaliner vs. Supercasino: The Vacationing
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:12 AM on March 11, 2016 [37 favorites]


Doesn't seem to have many lifeboats.
posted by lawrencium at 6:16 AM on March 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


My inner Bruce Sterling sees this ship 50 years from now moored just off a slowly flooding major metropolitan hub like a floating Walled City of Kowloon.
posted by sourwookie at 6:16 AM on March 11, 2016 [61 favorites]


It has something of the late-Soviet apartment building aesthetic.
posted by Alluring Mouthbreather at 6:16 AM on March 11, 2016 [29 favorites]


God himself could not sink this ship!

Maybe not your god but Poseidon, or rather his servants the wind and waves certainly could.

The essential technology that makes these behemoths possible is the National Weather Service. When the waters are calm anything that floats is just fine even in the middle of the ocean. There is another god that directly counters the weather service and that's the god of cost accounting. If the captain remains in port in safety, loosing innumerable dollars there is a conflict. A bet in which some will loose.
posted by sammyo at 6:18 AM on March 11, 2016 [8 favorites]


When the waters are calm anything that floats is just fine even in the middle of the ocean. There is another god that directly counters the weather service and that's the god of cost accounting. If the captain remains in port in safety, loosing innumerable dollars there is a conflict.

I'm not sure your citation supports your claim. Anthem went through a major storm and, as designed, remained seaworthy. As to whether or not it should have been there in the first place, that seems to be a separate issue.

In general I feel confident that naval architects know how to do their job.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 6:27 AM on March 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


Obviously there is demand for this sort of vacationing, but I can't imagine why. Maybe I'll have to go on a cruise to find out.
posted by notyou at 6:32 AM on March 11, 2016


I would love to take a short-ish trip aboard that thing so long as I didn't have to pay for it. Giant engineered spaces are super fascinating.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:35 AM on March 11, 2016 [9 favorites]


Metafilter: Your favorite vacation sucks.
posted by hwyengr at 6:36 AM on March 11, 2016 [24 favorites]


I feel that, with the related reading "Three Killed as Italian Cruise Ship Runs Aground," The Guardian is sending somewhat mixed messages.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:41 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I put these in the same boat (HA) as the self sufficient resorts on Hawai'ian islands. Why would anyone travel thousands of miles to visit one of the most beautiful places on earth, only to spend the bulk of the time inside the walls of a resort that includes places to eat, shop, swim (in a POOL), and generally lounge around? I'd much rather have a bed in a cheap apartment complex, slippahs, snorkel, dive map of the beaches, and a rented bike. And maybe being pampered like that would be fun, but it seems like that kind of resort could just as easily be in the middle of Kansas as taking up prime real estate in Hawai'i or floating precariously on an ocean. I am sure that I'm missing something here, cause I just don't get it.
posted by cubby at 6:42 AM on March 11, 2016 [21 favorites]


I am not a cruise person, though I come from a family who absolutely adores cruises. If they wanted to pay my way to try out one of those cruise ships, I'd give it a go. But if it's coming out of my pocket, this kind of cruise is way more my speed.
posted by Kitteh at 6:42 AM on March 11, 2016


David Foster Wallace had something to say[pdf] about this sort of thing, as I recall.
posted by parm at 6:43 AM on March 11, 2016 [8 favorites]


I have read DFW's "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again", which was a brilliant piece of writing. Nevertheless, I really like cruise ships, and I consider myself right in the middle of the Metafilter demographic (I buy, read, play, watch, visit, and vote for all the same things you do!). I love travelling by train and visiting weird places. But here's why I like cruises:

1) "It's not a time machine. It's a spaceship." Consider the cruise ship not as a place where you must participate in everything, but as a teleporter. You go to sleep, you open your curtains, and whoosh, you're in a new city! No travel required, no worrying about getting to the station on time, no lugging around bags. You walk off the ship, see the city, get back on board, and the next morning you'll be in a new city.

2) Get the right deal and it's super cheap - as low as $100-150 per night, travel, accommodation, and full board. Yes, I can already hear people telling me how they can travel for $0.50 a day and their holiday is 10x better than mine, but that's really not bad, especially if you're sailing around the Mediterranean. In fact for certain configurations of trips, it's hard to see how to beat a cruise ship on pricing.

3) It's great for families. We all know people who are congenitally disorganised at travelling; cruises fix this, plus they often have good options for taking care of kids.

4) You can meet really cool people on cruises. We went on a Disney cruise once (it was super cheap and I'd been doing work for Imagineering on it recently) and we organised boardgame meetups via online forums beforehand.

I can see why a cruise that doesn't go to any interesting destinations would be boring. And I can see why they seem artificial and sterile. But take it from someone who loves DFW and has travelled as authentically as anyone else (north Sudan, motherfuckers!) - cruises are cool and they enable you to visit places and do things in a cheap and unusual way.
posted by adrianhon at 6:46 AM on March 11, 2016 [87 favorites]


Why would anyone travel thousands of miles to visit one of the most beautiful places on earth, only to spend the bulk of the time inside the walls of a resort that includes places to eat, shop, swim (in a POOL), and generally lounge around?

I've got kids, a job, volunteering, etc. and it can all seem very stressful. I'm sleep deprived and anxious a lot of the time. It was really nice last winter to just spend a week just eating food, looking at the ocean, swimming, drinking, and having sex with my wife.
posted by Alluring Mouthbreather at 6:47 AM on March 11, 2016 [38 favorites]


I haven't been on a cruise in a few years, but when I have gone, they're pretty fun. If they're not your cup of tea, OK. But, maybe every time there's a thread on MeFi about cruises, we don't need the same David Foster Wallace link, plus the same "oh god, that would be HELL ON EARTH" comments (which, being totally honest, always feel like some classist bullshit -- cruises are a surprisingly affordable all-expenses-paid way for families to go to "exotic" places, compared to many other options).

News flash: some people like things you don't like. Also, if you haven't actually gone on a cruise, you may not really even know whether you'd like it.
posted by tocts at 6:47 AM on March 11, 2016 [35 favorites]


I'm sure any similarity to a modern container ship is unintentional
posted by klarck at 6:49 AM on March 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've never been on a cruise but in my mind they offer the same benefits as the theoretical luxury train trip I imagine taking; I like having a "base of operations" so I can really settle in and I don't have to pack and unpack every day or two, but I also like seeing new and exciting places. Having a hotel room that follows me around sounds great! I don't know if I'd like a cruise but I totally see where the ability to see a lot of places that are outside your experience without having to research and book and check into and out of a million different hotels is super appealing.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:50 AM on March 11, 2016 [9 favorites]


The one knock against cruises, IMO, is that you don't get enough time to visit a city. Like, it's not as if you can 'do' Rome or Nice in a single day. I'm fortunate enough to have the time and money to spend multiple days visiting those cities, but most people aren't.

In those cases, you can still see a hell of a lot of interesting stuff in a day, plus if it's your family's only trip to Europe for decades (as it was for a lot of Americans we talked with) then it's a pretty good way of seeing a variety of places.
posted by adrianhon at 6:51 AM on March 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yeah, it would be cool if we could discuss the interesting FPP without taking a side trip down class warfare lane where we shit all over cruises as a form of recreation or travel. It's a matter of personal taste and it is ok to believe that you'd hate doing it, but pointing that out is needlessly threadshitty.
posted by MoonOrb at 6:54 AM on March 11, 2016 [14 favorites]


Life sucks, every day is a drag, every day you have to deal with all kinds of shit. Did the faucet just break, are the brakes too rusty and need repair, what about the battery, where'd the bus pass go, who left the oven on, why can't my boss let me leave early just for once and so on and so on and so on.

I've never been on a cruise or been to an all-inclusive resort, but I think I get the attraction: It's nice to have other people deal with all the fucking details for once!

Just for a few days, to not have to worry about every goddamn thing!
posted by aramaic at 6:55 AM on March 11, 2016 [13 favorites]


I thought we put Captain Ahab on the $5 bill to warn us away from this sort of thing
posted by thelonius at 6:58 AM on March 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


Wow. So many cruise grumpypants.

Last year I did my trip of a lifetime, crossing the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2, and I couldn't have been more pleased. Such blissful, splendid, luxurious isolation. The history of it, the relaxation of it, the food, the days and days of nothing at all... I've never slept better in my life -- a bed better than any I've ever used, super-high thread count, balcony door cracked open to let in that fresh ocean air -- I would go again just for the sleep. A stormy day spent in the spa, doing hardcore schvitzes all day, and then wrapping yourself in a comfy robe, sipping a cuppa, and watching the terrible weather and the most stubborn deckwalkers trying to make their rounds in the gale. An evening's entertainment of a Covent Garden opera in 3D piped in live via satellite while drifting over the Mid-Atlantic Ridge -- this can be kinda neat. Standing at an upstairs balcony over the grand staircase, watching the parade of late-sitting diners dressed their best on formal nights, making snide comments about second and third wives -- this can be fun.

Granted, a cruise ship like this is a different beast, with a packed itinerary and island-hopping and a different kind of ship and whatnot, and that probably isn't my thing so much as days and days of endless nothing, splayed in a deck chair reading away until dinnertime, or when you can step out onto the top deck alone at night in the fog coming into New York harbour, and you could as well be on the Moon -- I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.

Your loss, grumpypants.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:03 AM on March 11, 2016 [43 favorites]


The mega mega cruise ships basically seem to have two approaches to serving passengers.

Disneyland -- jamming 4x more people than they should into the same limited number of places and things.

Skinny tail -- lots of people means you can maintain your economies of scale despite offering hundreds of places and things, something for almost everyone.

I've only done one cruise, on a big (but not quite that big) Norwegian ship, and except for pool areas it was basically skinny tail. Nice little restaurants, a hundred different things at the buffet, shows for every taste, etc.
posted by MattD at 7:08 AM on March 11, 2016


Never been on a cruise, but this will be the second year we take the family to an all-inclusive resort. Sure, we could do adventuring and exploring and all that sort of thing, and we often do vacations like that. But you know, sometimes it is nice to just sit on your ass on the beach or by the pool, drink in hand, and relax. No worries about finding a place to eat, where you are going to stay. Not as exciting as a more adventurous vacation, but it is nice and relaxing, and the kids love it.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:08 AM on March 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


I appreciate this as a modern marvel of engineering, though it makes me a bit worried about how much it would pollute the ocean as it travels. Maybe not much more than a typical cargo freighter though?

Anyway, there has never been a travel-related post on Mefi that hasn't included the "ugh, so touristy, I'm more of a traveler" vibe, or the "oh, will you reverse travel-snobs shut the fuck up" vibe. Talking loudly how you can't imagine how shitty it is to take a vacation in XYZ manner is pretty annoying to normal people. I've done the three months going through Central America/SE Asia on $5/day stuff before, and it was fucking awesome. And I lived in Hawaii for 10 weeks living in a tiny studio apartment, just exploring the beaches all day and eating plate lunches, and it was fucking awesome. But if I had the money to spend a week or two in a great resort, or a top of the line luxury liner, I'd do it. You can do the same things as before, except now you can also get a massage and enjoy the luxury in your downtime.
posted by skewed at 7:11 AM on March 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


I also cannot imagine going on a "regular" cruise, what with the Bransonesque entertainment, bad food, and hordes of retirees, but that's not the only option.

My wife and I go on the JoCoCruise every year, and it's fucking amazing. (And has, I think, been linked here before; MeFi's own Scalzi is a regular guest.) Next year is a biggie for this cruise, as it's the first time we'll have a whole ship instead of being a large group on a normal sailing.

More on point, the JoCoCruise has, for the last 4 years, been on either the Freedom of the Seas (2014 and 2015) or Independence of the Seas (2013 and this year), which are sister ships. They were at one point the largest cruise ships in the world, until RCI built the Oasis class. When they followed Oasis class ships with the slightly smaller Quantum I figured they'd hit some sort of economic max point sizewise, so I read the article here with interest.

I might still be kind of right, because this boat is actually an Oasis-class ship with minor modifications -- it's only about 2,000 tons bigger, 2 meters longer, and 5 meters wider. That's a revision, not a whole new class, but it's enough to take the biggest boat crown for sure.

Fun fact: heretofore, that crown belonged not to the Oasis class generally but to the Allure specifically, as she measured out at 50 millimeters longer than her sister. Obviously, that's a small enough delta that it could be explained by heat expansion, but officially and technically she was still the biggest. Until now.
posted by uberchet at 7:14 AM on March 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


hordes of retirees amazingly friendly people with interesting life stories

FTFY
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:18 AM on March 11, 2016 [22 favorites]


I spent a week on the Sovereign of the Seas about 25 years ago. It was very fun, at half full, and leased by a private corporation as a perk.

Now imagine the Sovereign Citizens of the Seas, fringed flags everywhere, mock trials and Shawna Cox, in a swimsuit, teaching law. Then add in confused and seasick rednecks everywhere in bathrobes with burger guts hanging, clutching rifles and examining the horizons for pirates. That's the Utah daydream.
posted by Oyéah at 7:19 AM on March 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


What's the draft on that thing?
posted by Thorzdad at 7:20 AM on March 11, 2016


I took the Writing Excuses cruise last year (also on Independence of the Seas!) and I definitely enjoyed it more than I would expect. My interior cabin was the perfect black, soundproofed coffin to sleep in - I can't remember when I've slept better. And while we didn't do much onshore, I got an astonishing number of words written, and the conference itself had plenty of space and resources despite being maybe 1/20th of the total population. I wish I could go again this year.
posted by restless_nomad at 7:21 AM on March 11, 2016


Thorzdad - I don't know about the Harmony, but the Allure of the Seas (as noted above a very similar ship) has a 9.3 m draught according to this

Also just for fun here is a size comparison of the Harmony of the Seas. vs the Titanic

Here's another one of Oasis of the Seas vs Titanic, a 747, and the USS Ronald Reagan.
posted by Wretch729 at 7:26 AM on March 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


What's the draft on that thing?
30 ft.
posted by MtDewd at 7:27 AM on March 11, 2016


It looks tippy.
posted by dersins at 7:31 AM on March 11, 2016 [6 favorites]


here's why I like cruises:

Cruises sound like hell to me, but then, so do Dwarf Fortress and EVE Online, and I love when other mefites-who-are-not-me chime in to say what they like about 'em. Thank you!
posted by Greg Nog at 7:32 AM on March 11, 2016 [14 favorites]


Uberchet:

MeFi's own Scalzi is a regular guest.

Not just a guest but on staff, as I'm co-head of the JoCo Cruise literary track with Patrick Rothfuss. This year we brough NK Jemisin, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction on board as guests, and had events that included Michael Ian Black, Wil Wheaton and Allie Brosh, among others. They were of course all very fabulous.

I'd say that generally speaking I'm not a huge fan of cruising but I am a fan of a cruise that cruise being the JoCo Cruise. Cruises are basically the accommodations of a budget hotel plopped onto a strip mall shoved out to sea, with a Las Vegas buffet open 16 hours a day and occasional stops for inauthentic experiences. Which is fine if you like that! But personally I like the people involved. Indeed, if the JoCo Cruise experience were a convention rather than cruise, I'd get roughly the same experience out of it. Which, you know, is a thought.
posted by jscalzi at 7:33 AM on March 11, 2016 [14 favorites]


I'm sure the naval architects all did their jobs correctly, but that thing STILL looks top-heavy to me, and it keeps making me think of the 'Poseidon' going belly-up.

Also it can carry eight thousand people (six thousand passengers plus a crew of two thousand); the entire population of my childhood hometown was all of just three thousand.... yikes.
posted by easily confused at 7:34 AM on March 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


I like cruises because you can drink all day but it feels sort of classy.
posted by colie at 7:35 AM on March 11, 2016 [17 favorites]


"Obviously there is demand for this sort of vacationing, but I can't imagine why. Maybe I'll have to go on a cruise to find out."
"Why would anyone travel thousands of miles to visit one of the most beautiful places on earth, only to spend the bulk of the time inside the walls of a resort that includes places to eat, shop, swim (in a POOL), and generally lounge around?"


Yeah, the benefit of a cruise is that it's a hotel that travels. You get on it at night, eat and go to sleep, and wake up in a new city. You get to spend the whole day exploring the city and doing cool stuff, and then you come back to your hotel at night and relax, and the hotel itself moves to the next place.

It's excellent for multigenerational families, because if you have a picky aunt who doesn't like to go anywhere ever, she can just stay on the boat and hit the spa while everyone else goes off to explore. Families with little kids have child care available all day every day. Everyone can do their own adventures during the day (sporty snorkling or hiking, historical sightseeing, shopping) and then meet up at dinner. Most cruise ships are also ADA accessible, which gives you a lot more options for traveling as a family where not all members are fully-mobile, and they're MUCH more willing to accommodate medical problems than a lot of resorts.

(We went on one with a young family member with autism, and my family called ahead to let the boat know about it, and they activated an ENTIRE CORPORATE PROGRAM for kids with autism, including a special bracelet (before GPS trackers) that would set off an alarm if he tried to leave the boat, and a huge food preference menu so that his dietary needs could be met and his waiter knew that his ketchup came ON THE SIDE AND NOT TOUCHING ANYTHING; the kidzone attendants were aware of his autism and had had training in coping with meltdown and providing appropriate redirection and activities; the ship provided a list of on-shore activities that either worked with kids with autism or that prior families with an autistic child had particular recommended, and arranged special meals and so on for his shore excursions. If you have ever traveled with someone with autism, you can understand how this was like MAGIC, and it was the best vacation that part of my family had ever been on because all of his special needs were immediately and comprehensively catered to entirely in the background, so the whole family could actually relax and have a vacation instead of having to spend the vacation doing even MORE management of his condition than usual.)

I did one in the Caribbean, which was not really for me -- it was a lot of noisy drunk people on the boat, and the island stops were all very, very touristy. But I also did the inside passage in Alaska, and that was fantastic -- lots of neat little towns that you really only need a day or so to see; choices of historic or athletic or nature-oriented outings that were all really interesting; less exploitative in general since you weren't a ship of wealthy Americans descending on an impoverished foreign island; more on-board activities that were more family-oriented or quiet-adult oriented (lectures about local wildlife, say), which is more my speed than drinking and dancing every night. (You could still drink and dance! But that wasn't the whole boat.)

My parents have done a couple of river cruises in Europe and really enjoyed that, same sort of idea -- you get to see a lot of smaller, less-touristed towns, the boat can stay in one place for a couple of days, it's a quieter boat without the drinking-party emphasis.

Anyway, you have to pick and choose a bit -- is this the sort of place you want to spend three days or a week intensively exploring? Than it's not a cruise destination for you. But if you're happy to see the highlights of the Greek Islands, or you'd like to see several smaller towns without having to spend a ton of time traveling between them, cruises are ideal. (And then you've got to pick your boat and your time, because high season or off season matters, and whether it's marketed as a spring break party boat or a grown-ups see cultural things boat matters.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:42 AM on March 11, 2016 [44 favorites]


Years of reading about maritime disasters has me thinking "8,000 people. Huh. Things go wrong at sea all the time. That's a lot of eggs in one basket."

IIRC, the Costa Concordia had just over 4,000 passengers and crew on board - and it didn't even completely sink, and was extremely close to shore when it went down, and there were still 32 deaths.

Now, none of that was helped by the fact the captain left the goddamn ship rather than overseeing the evacuation, but boy howdy would things have been even worse if this was out in open seas rather than mere metres from shore. The large number of passengers and crew just increases the potential magnitude of a disaster.

sourwookie: My inner Bruce Sterling sees this ship 50 years from now moored just off a slowly flooding major metropolitan hub like a floating Walled City of Kowloon.

The Costa Concordia, in its partially-scrapped state, seems to have developed just the right...patina, shall we say, for that particular application. Photo: Costa Concordia being scrapped in the Superbacino dock in Genoa, Italy on September 12, 2015.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:43 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Sounds like we need an Official Vacation Decider to undertake all these different vacations and determine once and for all which is the best kind. I'm more than happy to volunteer. Just need some investors to fund this study.
posted by sallybrown at 7:43 AM on March 11, 2016 [10 favorites]


Gay cruises are so much fun I can't even. I've been on 4.

If you go on a cruise with somewhat like-minded people, they are super fun. The one time I've been on a "regular" cruise, for my sister's bachelorette party, it was, indeed, the nightmare that you all imagine.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:43 AM on March 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


The average household income of a cruise ship passenger is around $90k per year, roughly the top 40% of earners (according to 2010 US census data). They're not cheap by any standard. Also: 93% white / caucasian. So grumping about how cruise ships suck isn't exactly classism, though it is, in this case, a form of threadshitting.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:44 AM on March 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


If you have ever traveled with someone with autism, you can understand how this was like MAGIC

Now I feel even more protective of a vacation modality that I've never taken myself.
posted by aramaic at 7:45 AM on March 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


...that thing STILL looks top-heavy
Cruise ships are deceptive like that. Keep in mind that the bottom decks are engines, generators, and fuel tanks, while the upper decks are hotel rooms that are mostly made out of air.
posted by Hatashran at 7:45 AM on March 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


Seconding that this is one ugly, ugly ship on the outside. I can see what they're doing to try and maximize the number of cabins with balconies, and I have to assume it's prettier from the inside - I know that some of the other Royal Caribbean ships and atriums so even interior cabins have balconies/windows. I'll be interested to see interior photos.

Also, count me among the "squarely in the middle of Metafilter stereotypes but loves cruises" group. I honeymooned for dirt cheap on Carnival and had a truly enjoyable time (sitting on the balcony watching waves go by! waking up in a new port every day! the sleep, my god the deep wave-motion-induced sleep the likes of which I have never experienced on land! eating fancy-feeling dinners every night! not having to plan anything at all! a sauna overlooking the ocean!). Last year, we took our first Disney cruise, which felt like visiting an alternate-reality-fantasy-world version of White Star Edwardian-era ships. And I even loved the sanitized family-friendliness of it - no casino to walk through, no sketchy adult entertainment on the pool deck, very little smoking.

I definitely enjoy land-based vacations, getting to stay in little downtown hostels and guesthouses and exploring cities and culture. But there is a time and a place for the kind of floating-hotel vacation you can have on a cruise, and I suspect that once Mr. Bowtiesarecool and I have mini-mes, we'll appreciate that kind of vacation even more.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 7:46 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am usually firmly anti-cruise (directly related to being anti-hand sanitizer, which seems to be prevalent on cruise ships and which leads directly to norovirus), but this thread is making me reconsider.

We're planning a honeymoon right now, and the last thing I want to do after a marathon event-coordinating family-relations makeup-dress-public-speaking hullabaloo is goddamn sightseeing. I look back on my travels as a youngster and it seems exhausting--remembering planning days around how many museums can we run through, how many monuments can we see, how many trains do we have to take in x number of days...ugh. All I want to do after the wedding is rest and lounge and swim and have events planned for me. A cruise/all-inclusive resort is sounding not too bad at all.
posted by witchen at 7:49 AM on March 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


This thread has convinced me that I want to take a cruise but it cannot convince me that the boat in the FPP isn't terrifying.

But I can't wait for the Modern Marvels-like program about it because I would love to see all the weird things that make it work.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:49 AM on March 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


That's not a ship, that's a hotel on a barge.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:52 AM on March 11, 2016


Harmony of the Seas : Full construction time-lapse by STX France

Construction video that's a still photo compilation

Launch video (not as exciting as it sounds, but gives a nice idea of its scale relative to other vessels)
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:56 AM on March 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Why do we have to keep building this kind of shit when we could be putting the money into space exploration and colonizing the moon? Wouldn't people rather go to the moon than sit on a giant floating island for a week? I mean, the food might be better but space is where all this engineering know how should be going.
posted by spicynuts at 7:59 AM on March 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Wouldn't people rather go to the moon than sit on a giant floating island for a week?

That depends. Will there be buffet?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:00 AM on March 11, 2016 [12 favorites]


Synchronistically, I'm part way through reading the David Foster Wallace piece mentioned above. (Essay? That's not an essay, it's a novella!)

These huge cruises do not appeal to me at all, and Wallace is doing a wonderful job detailing why.

Some of my friends have done gay cruises. I could maybe, maybe be forced into trying one of those sometime.

But otherwise the only cruise I definitely want to do is a Viking River Cruise in Europe. My own private balcony where I can sit and sip wine while the castles of the Rhine go by? Oh hell yeah, I can do that.
posted by dnash at 8:07 AM on March 11, 2016 [6 favorites]


Sounds like we need an Official Vacation Decider to undertake all these different vacations and determine once and for all which is the best kind. I'm more than happy to volunteer. Just need some investors to fund this study.

Sounds like a job for SweetNotHome.com!
posted by srboisvert at 8:10 AM on March 11, 2016


Wouldn't people rather go to the moon than sit on a giant floating island for a week?

Nope.
posted by Andrhia at 8:11 AM on March 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


what could possibly go wrong
posted by chococat at 8:19 AM on March 11, 2016


Some like this sort of thing. others scorn cruises. I broke ankle and unable to go to where I would like to go, my wife took me on a cruise to Bermuda. I did have some fun, but now I know what Sartre meant when he said "Hell is Other People."
posted by Postroad at 8:19 AM on March 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


Call me a snob, but I like to vacation in places with oxygen.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:20 AM on March 11, 2016 [6 favorites]


Wouldn't people rather go to the moon than sit on a giant floating island for a week?

I can already see that thing from my house!
posted by sallybrown at 8:20 AM on March 11, 2016 [10 favorites]


But otherwise the only cruise I definitely want to do is a Viking River Cruise in Europe. My own private balcony where I can sit and sip wine while the castles of the Rhine go by? Oh hell yeah, I can do that.

Is pillaging also part of the package?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:24 AM on March 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


Is pillaging also part of the package?

"Remember, everyone, pillage then burn."
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 8:26 AM on March 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


It looks like a normal cruise ship developed some sort of cancer that kept growing state rooms. Horrifying.
posted by xingcat at 8:28 AM on March 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Wouldn't people rather go to the moon than sit on a giant floating island for a week?

That depends. Will there be buffet?


I hear the food's great but there's no atmosphere.
posted by Daily Alice at 8:35 AM on March 11, 2016 [24 favorites]


A cruise is great vacation for a group of friends and family with widely varying interests, mobility, and finances. It's a fixed price and everyone can do their own thing during the day and hang out in the evening. Going on one alone or as a couple sounds kinda miserable though.
posted by miyabo at 8:38 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Underneath the article, as well as the mishaps of an Italian cruise ship, "Titanic Memorial cruise sets sail." Has anyone bragged about this one being "unsinkable" yet? I would worry about that.
posted by mermayd at 8:42 AM on March 11, 2016


Personally, I'd like to try a cruise sometime. I have ever since I saw all those classy people on Love Boat.
Lounging around doing not much of anything while my wife goes ashore to browse tourist traps? Yes, please.

On the other hand, being trapped aboard a ship with expensive (or worse, no) internet access while norovirus rages throughout the Lido Deck?

That's the stuff of nightmares.
posted by madajb at 8:44 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I once went on a cruise with two friends, and we LOVED it. We all lived in different states at that point, but flying to the port of departure was about the same cost for all of us, and the point of the cruise wasn’t the cruise, it was for us to be in the same place together and drink fruity drinks. When the point of the vacation is more about you wanting to hang out with certain people more than going specific places, but no one wants to be in charge of arranging everything, a cruise can be fantastic.

It’s a great break from being a grown up who has to be in charge of things, to be honest. You don’t have to cook or look up directions or have the answers to anything. There’s no internet so you don’t have to answer emails. There’s no cell service so you don’t have to answer calls or texts. For me, it meant I got to go to some really cool places I would never have been able to afford on my own, in the company of two of my favorite people.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 8:48 AM on March 11, 2016 [6 favorites]


amazingly friendly people with interesting life stories
Milage varies.
posted by uberchet at 8:52 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Speaking of "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again", I looooove DFW as an essayist, and it was typically sharp and insightful, but also a really sad testimony to how fundamentally anhedonic he was as a person. By his own admission, he sat in his cabin watching TV and eating room service for the last few days of the cruise. This could be either an indictment of how terrible the cruise was, or his inability to defocus and change the gears of his amazingly perceptive mind.
posted by skewed at 8:53 AM on March 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


That fucking DFW piece has finally eclipsed the Bill Hicks advertising routine as the most obnoxious bit of pop culture dross that someone feels the need to drag out any time anything tangentially related to the subject matter gets posted online.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 8:54 AM on March 11, 2016 [15 favorites]


I never understood why people loved cruises until we went on a short one for our tenth wedding anniversary. It was amazing - we went on Norwegian, which was a lot more relaxed than some cruise lines. As someone who has to constantly plan, it was nice to not have to plan a thing and have so much choice. Get up early or sleep in. Stay in or go out. Eat this or eat that. It was actually pretty freeing to not worry about getting lost or being late. The passengers on the cruise ships are so happy to be there and even though I am an pretty introverted, we made friends with a family from Colorado. There were hardly any grumpy souls aboard - everyone was happy to be there. I read two books in five days and painted in my sketchbook daily while watching the waves go by.

Our second cruise to Bermuda (see profile for link to Flickr) was a really great way to travel cheaply with only having to worry about finding lunch every day. It really was a great experience and better than I thought. Norwegian seems to treat the staff well too - a lot of the staff we talked to had been working aboard different ships in that line for years.

And we didn't get sick with norovirus either.
posted by Calzephyr at 8:59 AM on March 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


Gettin' closer.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:11 AM on March 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Looks like a floating Soviet apartment block.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:25 AM on March 11, 2016


That entire massive thing cost less to build than one stealth bomber, and will bring more pleasure and prosperity to more people than the entire fleet of murder-planes will. I get really depressed when thinking about that... So lets check out cruise brochures!
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:32 AM on March 11, 2016 [9 favorites]


We should all just agree to let Trump be the president of that thing.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:35 AM on March 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


Doesn't seem to have many lifeboats.

"Lifeboats? This ship doesn't need lifeboats. She is unsinkable!"
posted by theorique at 9:43 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


We're going to need a bigger iceberg.
posted by lagomorphius at 9:51 AM on March 11, 2016 [6 favorites]


Bill Hicks advertising routine

Those of us who work in advertising still love it.
posted by colie at 9:55 AM on March 11, 2016


As I recall, a mega-cargo ship gets about nine feet per gallon. I wonder if this is similar?

And aren't nuclear propulsion systems, a la the navy, pretty safe? Has there been any thoughts on using such a reactor on a vessel like this? Hell, you then have so much power you can make your own fresh water and probably safely dispose of waste.
posted by maxwelton at 9:56 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


"safely dispose of waste."

Then that said, never eat the carrot cake...
posted by Oyéah at 10:05 AM on March 11, 2016


I've been on a couple of cruises, although I'm not really a cruise person. Standing on the cruise ship while it maneuvered its way out of the dock was remarkable. The ship was roughly the size of Detroit and it couldn't back out of the dock for reasons, so instead it rotated in place and then went out forwards in about the same amount of time it takes me to parallel park.

Alas, my daughter was not happy with the on-board child-care, so my wife and I didn't get any private time, but that's not the ship's fault. The food varied from perfectly okay to very good, the entertainment was varied and non-stop (trivia night - I own you), and we only had to unpack once.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:05 AM on March 11, 2016


I'm waiting for the dirigible version, a cruise airship if you will.
posted by zinon at 10:09 AM on March 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


My parents periodically try to convince me to go on a cruise with them. I imagine being cooped up on a boat. With my parents. Who don't drink. And who disapprove of just about everything. And I think, this sounds awful! But the commenters who like cruises, are making me feel like this might actually be a reasonable thing to do. Maybe I will let myself be coaxed, next time it comes up.
posted by elizilla at 10:10 AM on March 11, 2016


maxwelton - well there was NS Savannah.

I think the cost of constructing and maintaining a nuclear powered ship would be prohibitive for a for-profit enterprise, especially as long as petroleum-based fuel remains so cheap. There are also concerns about waste and about controlling access to nuclear materials. A significant liability for any company. Finally, some countries have legal prohibitions about nuclear power which would mean the cruise ship couldn't visit them.
posted by Wretch729 at 10:10 AM on March 11, 2016


And aren't nuclear propulsion systems, a la the navy, pretty safe?

They still freak people out. To date, there have been only four such commercial ships. NB, the NS Savannah was barred from certain ports of call in the far east.

On post view, what Wretch said.

See also the Otto Hahn and the Sevmorput and the Mutsu,
posted by BWA at 10:12 AM on March 11, 2016


I've been on one cruise, down the Yangtze the year before they finished the 3 Gorges Dam. It was really about the only way to see all of the river, get to visit some of the cities and towns that were going to be flooded and see the Bon archaeological sites that are now lost to the river. The people on board were mostly crap (we found two other people who were actually interested in China and understanding the culture), the food was mediocre (and western, we were in the middle of China and they served spaghetti and meatballs for one dinner), but the travel was amazing. So I can see traveling via ship to multiple interesting locations. And I can see using a cruise as a con. But beyond that, never, ever again.
posted by Hactar at 10:19 AM on March 11, 2016


As I recall, a mega-cargo ship gets about nine feet per gallon. I wonder if this is similar?
I took a tour of a cruise ship a few years ago. At full speed (~25mph), at a time when gasoline was around $4/gallon, a display in the engine control room indicated it was using about $4200 in fuel per hour ($/hour is what management actually cares about)

Assuming the cheap bunker crap they burn in international waters was $3/gallon, that's about 100 feet per gallon.

Of course, it was also carrying about 4500 people. So that's about 85 passenger-miles per gallon, better than my car gets unless I carry two passengers.
posted by Hatashran at 10:19 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was fairly anti-cruise until a few years ago. I'd gone on one cruise with a friend and while it wasn't unpleasant I wasn't at all impressed. The average age on the cruise was ancient, the food was good but a bit repetitive, and my companion turned out to be not so great for the situation. Back then I was definitely more a wander foreign cities on my own schedule, care free sort of traveler. And if I just wanted to sit around a beach and drink I'd rather go to Cuba on the cheap.

Also I'd spent a few years in the Navy so the idea of being on a ship and not having anything to do was kinda odd.

So I was largely done with Cruises... until a friend talked me into doing a group cruise.. 300 or so people with common interests mixed in with the usual cruise riff-raff, though a much younger general populous than that first cruise. And it was a totally different experience and I've gone every year since. It's kinda amazing how many of that sort of thing there are. if there's a community for your interest (especially a sizeable online one) there's a cruise dedicated to it :)

So group cruise or cruise with a big group of your own friends is definitely the way to go!

Be aware of where the ship is going though. Some, and especially the big lines to the Caribbean, are not going to the countries they list... what they are actually doing is stopping at a cruise-line owned enclave that just happens to be on whatever island they list. And they are all the same, exactly the same stores and cheesy entertainment. So if you get on a cruise because you want to wander around Jamaica be aware that you'll probably have to buy some additional package so look to see what's available.
posted by cirhosis at 10:39 AM on March 11, 2016


First, I've never been on a cruise, as I'm waiting for one that blares "Lust for Life" nonstop while I have xtreme fun.

Second, I've read a few things online in legal blogs that talk about how super-sketchy the employment situation is for many people working on cruise lines. Weird "flags of convenience" workarounds to evade labor laws, basically indentured servitude, etc. Is that prevalent in the industry?
posted by the sobsister at 10:43 AM on March 11, 2016


Wouldn't people rather go to the moon than sit on a giant floating island for a week?

If you think regular sand is coarse, rough, irritating, and gets everywhere, wait until you try moon sand!
posted by entropicamericana at 10:46 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


A cruise ship would be an interesting place for a MeFi meetup or even a Metafilter convention.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:49 AM on March 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


Second, I've read a few things online in legal blogs that talk about how super-sketchy the employment situation is for many people working on cruise lines. Weird "flags of convenience" workarounds to evade labor laws, basically indentured servitude, etc. Is that prevalent in the industry?

If these stories are anything to go by, yes. And they skirt tax laws too.
posted by Wemmick at 10:58 AM on March 11, 2016


My inner Bruce Sterling...
I was thinking Neal Stephenson.
posted by MtDewd at 11:00 AM on March 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm sure any similarity to a modern container ship is unintentional

To be fair, that container ship you linked has much nicer lines.
posted by flabdablet at 11:09 AM on March 11, 2016


If these stories are anything to go by, yes. And they skirt tax laws too.

That's right, I read a few things on Cruise Law News. As I recall, cruise line operators suborn make sizable contributions to the right congresspeople to ensure no inconvenient labor or tax laws are passed that might negatively impact their bottom line.

Charming industry. I may, however, give my entertainment dollars to something more honorable, like dogfighting or snuff film production.
posted by the sobsister at 11:11 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Whoa, that is one massive ship! Going on cruises can be fun, but here's my main concern: The pollution some of them churn into the air and seas is horrible. If you do enjoy cruises, you might want to check out the report card from the Friends of the Earth before you book.
posted by WordCannon at 11:19 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was on a cruise once. I had fun. When I wasn't seasick anyway, which meant I had fun 5 of the 7 days.

Also, unlimited shrimp cocktails at dinner.
posted by qcubed at 11:24 AM on March 11, 2016


Cruise airships
posted by craven_morhead at 11:32 AM on March 11, 2016


I was also very anti-cruise until I took one. We were on Holland America, which skews older than a regular cruise (people continuously asked me and my partner, then 33 and 37, if we were vacationing with our parents), and it was a very quiet, enjoyable time. We sailed from San Diego to Hawaii and back, and while I do wish we had more time on the islands, the sea days were amazing. I learned to play Agricola on that trip since we had nothing but time on our hands.

We're crossing the Atlantic on the QM2 this year, and hopefully by the time I retire, we'll be able to go on the 120-day round-the-world voyage.
posted by hwyengr at 11:33 AM on March 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


After seeing the ads running in front of Downton Abbey, I want to take a European river cruise.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:50 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


My late mother often offered to take the family on a cruise. My brother and I always resisted, mostly due to the notion of a week of nothing to consume but weak fizzy mass market beer and cafeteria quality food was more than we could stomach. At least with Vegas you can score a really good meal and even order a Sierra Nevada on a casino floor.
posted by Ber at 12:11 PM on March 11, 2016


Years of reading about maritime disasters has me thinking "8,000 people. Huh. Things go wrong at sea all the time. That's a lot of eggs in one basket."

I was on a panel a few years ago gaming out what the wreck of the size of one of the Princess liners (I think we assumed 5k passengers and crew)would be like off the west coat of Greenland. Even assuming all the SAR in the Arctic was activated, and everyone got to boats, and, even less likely made landfall, the 72-hour survival rates (which would be roughly how long most of the SAR capacity would take to get to a remote Greenlandic beach) were not encouraging. Then someone pointed out that these cruises are typically have a third of their passengers over age 70, with a large fraction over 80.

Yeah. Never signing up for a remote cold-water cruise.
posted by bonehead at 12:21 PM on March 11, 2016


If any of you are interested in learning more about the working conditions for many cruise line staff, I would recommend checking out the articles at the first link Wemmick posted.

Articles such as "Cruise Lines Poised to Take Legal Rights Away from Crew Members" and "MSC Convicted of Treating Crew Members Like Slaves" speak to the crap lives that many of those serving cruise passengers lead.

I know, #notallcruiselines, but certainly worth a read if the conditions under which one's leisure is bought are of interest/importance.
posted by the sobsister at 12:25 PM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, you'd never get me on a mass market cruise ship, and it's not because I hate fun, boats, or other people's ideas of fun.

And it's not because of norovirus fears, either, but that sure doesn't help.

You won't get me on a mass market cruise ship because they largely treat their employees and staff like slaves, and because I don't want to be on a huge, minimum-bidder built oversized floating motel filled to bursting with a bunch of clueless landlubbers - especially of the sort of soft, squishy and easily panicked and probably selfish human who thinks safety drills and boat safety in general aren't important or don't concern them, that a buffet line counts as entertainment and that big cruise ships are impervious to rogue waves, capsizing or plain old operator error.

Because fuck literally everything about that concept. The very idea of trying to negotiate a very large capsizing or sinking boat filled with people who barely even know what a boat is just fills me with dread and not a small amount of terror.

The idea of having to share a lifeboat or raft with these kinds of people who don't understand the basic concept of "rationing" is even worse.

Yeah, that's very judgmental, and I'm really very ok with being judgmental about that when it comes to really direly important shit like safety and preparedness at sea and giant boats.

Let's call it discernment. I'd frankly rather climb into a twenty foot open hull dory without sails or water in the open South Pacific with Captain fuckin' Bligh himself than board any vessel crammed to the gunwales with your average American consumer.

At least Captain Bligh knew how to ration water and food and use a sextant and compass and a log chip.
posted by loquacious at 1:48 PM on March 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


The idea of having to share a lifeboat or raft with these kinds of people who don't understand the basic concept of "rationing" is even worse.

We weren't particularly worried about supplies. There's enough on the rafts to last for at least a few days. The concern was for temperature and mobility. What do you do with a 75-year-old with a twisted knee? Lay them down on the rubber floor. That rubber floor equalizes pretty quick with the -2 to 4 C ocean, and, even with a full survival suit or full-body floater coat, they're a huge risk of freezing to death before help can come. The exposure risks are poor at bast, if they're not getting rescued within a week.
posted by bonehead at 2:29 PM on March 11, 2016


I have to say, it is impressive watching the cruise ships come.and go from the Port of Miami. Probably one of the most interesting things about South Beach once you've seen all the Art Deco there is to see.
posted by wierdo at 2:35 PM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


the upper decks are hotel rooms that are mostly made out of air.

Hmm, the entire superstructure is made out of plate steel, for starters. Then add the 8000 people at what, ~200lbs each (with luggage...)? That's 800 tons of people!
posted by sneebler at 2:51 PM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


> Wouldn't people rather go to the moon than sit on a giant floating island for a week?

And as soon as Virgin Galactic partners with Carnival Cruise Lines and offers the moon as a destination, we'll vacation there too!

Sadly, even if SpaceX succeeds beyond Elon Musk's wildest dreams, space will still be an obscenely expensive 62 miles to orbit plus some 220,000 or so more miles to the moon. Before an ocean voyage trip to the Bahamas was a package tour, there was the Age of Sail with fame and fortune to be found for the bold and lucky to drive shipbuilding in a way space just doesn't have. I enjoy Star Trek as much as anyone else, but with the distances involved, traveling the stars and hopping between locations is unrealistic even with hypothetical technology that follows our current understanding of physics.
posted by fragmede at 3:06 PM on March 11, 2016


I feel I would enjoy a cruise if it were like a convention, and detest it if it were like Disneyland. This sounds more like Disneyland.
posted by solarion at 3:40 PM on March 11, 2016


Ah, my people. I am soon going on a multi-generational Alaskan cruise with my highly cruise-loving Boomer parents, one of whom is gathering us for a milestone birthday, a sibling who has not spoken with me in 5 years, and my kids and husband. I intend to drink, sleep, read, play board games, and look at scenery when it's available, feel guilty about the staff and the environment, and try not to gain 20 lbs or die at sea. Basically I feel like I represent 95% of the views expressed in this thread.

Please send me a convention of like minded people, a writing coach, and my poly other significant other in exchange for my report from the front lines to replace the DFW piece. kthxbye.
posted by warriorqueen at 4:13 PM on March 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


What if we just gave you heroic quantities of acid, and a video recording device?
posted by aramaic at 6:14 PM on March 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Funny, for a bunch of people who like The Culture as much as we do, we sure hate this. I've always thought of GSVs as sort of the ultimate cruise ships. Hyperintelligent sentiences of incomprehensible majesty and splendor, certainly, but also sort of giant, self-contained, mobile playpens.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:19 PM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


The exposure risks are poor at bast, if they're not getting rescued within a week.

Greenland cruises are uncommon, Alaskan and Antarctic cruises are far more common, because...

1) Americans are insane and will set up a town pretty much anywhere. With delightful boutiques, interesting restaurants, and fun dive bars. Also a giant dock cruise ships can use. (Also an hour deep into the mountains of West Virginia, and maybe a fifteen minute drive south of Providence, RI to Wickford. Tourists, LOL. There are a lot of Americans convinced they live someplace boring.)

2) The Coast Guard probably makes up half of everyone living in Alaska, for the fishermen, sure, but also with an eye to the tourists on floating cities, and they conduct regular drills.

3) Everyone speaks English. Maybe as a second or third language after Tlingit and Russian, but yes, they will tell you how much that made-in-India silver pendant cost, chain extra.

4) New Zealand is paid a shit-ton of money so that the RCCNZ can meet IAATO protocols when cruise ships founder off Antarctica, and they conduct regular drills.

5) Penguins, yo.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:20 PM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Something something Fhloston Paradise. (No one else, really?)
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 6:35 PM on March 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


SUPER GREEN!
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:06 PM on March 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's big.

Whatever floats your boat.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:40 PM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Am I hallucinating from another timeline, or wasn't there some group that was trying to build a giant ship like this to turn into a floating free country or something? It was back in the dawn of the internets, iirc, and they were selling apts in reserve. I thought of it the first time I read Snow Crash, then forgot about it until just now when seeing this monster. Does it ring a bell for anyone else?

Also, my 13 year old has seen so many of those Viking river cruise commercials because of Doctor Who and Sherlock, that he's begging to go on one for vacation, and I have to admit that it's starting to look like the easiest way to see a large part of the continent, a mini tour of the splendours of where history comes from, but I'm worried there won't be time to actually experience the places.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:06 PM on March 11, 2016


When I saw this I wondered how many Preludes it is, as I am sure you were.
Prelude is 488m long and 105m high and displaces 600,000t.

So, my maths sucks; about 3/5ths of a Prelude?
posted by Mezentian at 8:10 PM on March 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


"What if we just gave you heroic quantities of acid, and a video recording device?"

The air is so moist
The air is so moist
The air is moist
Moist...air air air
Moist! Moist! Moist!
posted by Oyéah at 8:18 PM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


And aren't nuclear propulsion systems, a la the navy, pretty safe?

Safe, but holy shit expensive. Building it is just the beginning. You can't really build it without budgeting in for eventual decommissioning up front. It's also safe because of the training, maintenance, and oversight/auditing.

They would never, ever make their money back. The navy trades that fact for other advantages that a cruise ship doesn't need.
posted by ctmf at 8:22 PM on March 11, 2016


And aren't nuclear propulsion systems, a la the navy, pretty safe? Has there been any thoughts on using such a reactor on a vessel like this? Hell, you then have so much power you can make your own fresh water and probably safely dispose of waste.

You might enjoy reading about the NS Savannah.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 8:30 PM on March 11, 2016


Am I hallucinating from another timeline, or wasn't there some group that was trying to build a giant ship like this to turn into a floating free country or something?

I assume you're not thinking of Sealand? Just mentioning that because looking that up led to me Freedom!

Spoiler: Freedom sank.

Too lazy for a Trump joke.
posted by Mezentian at 8:35 PM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Has there been any thoughts on using such a reactor on a vessel like this? Hell, you then have so much power you can make your own fresh water and probably safely dispose of waste.

Unless TV has lied to me, the plain old diesel cruise ships already do those things (though one expects they just don't bother with wastewater treatment when nobody's watching).
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:54 PM on March 11, 2016


The free floating country idea is fiction, I believe, but you might be interested to hear about Blueseed, which was a Silicon Valley startup that wanted to put a cruise ship off the coast of California and fill it with non-US entrepreneurs who could then commute to the mainland much easier. It never went anywhere and was put on hold around 2014.

A year or so later, Salesforce.com would rent out a cruise ship and dock it in San Francisco for a week for their yearly convention as a floating hotel complete with entertainment and bars to supplement San Francisco's already bursting at the seams capacity.
posted by fragmede at 4:13 AM on March 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


I live in one of the Alaskan cruise ship towns. I have worked as a guide and performer for a number of different companies here. For those of you who think of cruises as inexpensive, think again. Unless you enjoy just hanging out on the ship you are going to pay out the nose for shore excursions, they are all insanely expensive. You will be paying $100-$600 for each person in your party. So on a five day cruise, well your inexpensive five day cruise will end up costing you a hell of a lot more if you want to do excursions everyday. But honestly, most of the people I encounter seem like they are just up here to shop, which is weird too because everything that is worth buying like original or native art is crazy expensive too. The rest is cheap crap made in sweatshops in china or jewelry from these chain stores that you will find in every port. (BTW two shops closed down here last summer for selling counterfeit jewelry) The tourists are nickeled and dimed to death.

Now don't get me wrong, you can make a cruise worth it for all the reasons above, but it is not an effortless endeavor. Also, please keep coming, tourism is the only industry in this town and I love living here and having a job. I want you to come and leave your money here please, Alaska's economy is tanking.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 8:32 PM on March 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


Using a cruise ship as extra hotel space is nothing new. Jacksonville had a handful when the city hosted the Super Bowl, and the 2004 Athens Olympics needed seven ships to help ease hotel demand.
posted by clorox at 3:24 AM on March 13, 2016


Have you guys not heard of flotels?
posted by Mezentian at 4:40 AM on March 13, 2016


No, it wasn't Sealand or the other things from the 60_70s era. I'm not sure,but I may have been thinking of this group: http://www.seasteading.org/floating-city-project/
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:20 PM on March 13, 2016


So, if I read my MeFi right, all the US Libertarians desired a "a floating city within the existing international legal framework", but ended up in New Hampshire.
posted by Mezentian at 2:57 AM on March 14, 2016


Well I just found out the Explorer of the Seas will be coming to the inside passage this summer. This is going to suck. It's not as big as the one mentioned above, but huge. I hope they have a very good hold on the black water tanks.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 10:34 PM on March 14, 2016


What, no love for Armada?
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:17 AM on March 15, 2016


they just don't bother with wastewater treatment when nobody's watching

They can legally dump sewage outside of territorial waters, and they pretty much all do. Inside the national boundaries, they're supposed to put it in big tanks and get it off-loaded to a treatment facility when they dock.

However the Princess lines folks were caught a decade or so ago with two sets of plumbing on board---one they'd hook up while in port and possibly being inspected and a diverter pipe they'd hook up when they left port. Dumping illegally in territorial waters. They were caught because some dope forgot to unhook the diverter system one time they were docked in Miami.
posted by bonehead at 10:18 AM on March 15, 2016


What, no love for Armada?
Wasn't that entire subplot completely stolen from The Diamond Age?
posted by miyabo at 10:24 AM on March 15, 2016


Using a cruise ship as extra hotel space is nothing new.

They're also being seen increasingly as options for housing workers during emergencies. They can often more easily access affected areas than air or land access and basically bring an entire small town's worth of resources to the site that's been undamaged by the tidal wave or storm or whatever.

It's true also of large events. The RCMP housed a few thousand police in two cruise ships during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. It was far, far less expensive (and much more practical) than finding hotel or lease space.
posted by bonehead at 10:34 AM on March 15, 2016


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