Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Size Does Matter - They Come In Many Sizes

Grandeur of the Seas Next to Oasis of the Seas
We've taken many pictures of cruise ships over the years and perhaps none was as striking as this image we captured in Cozumel, Mexico, during our recent National Conference aboard Norwegian Epic.  Shown here are two Royal Caribbean ships:  Grandeur of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas.

It should come as no surprise that the Oasis of the Seas would definitely stand out in a crowd of ships since it was (until the Allure of the Seas) the largest ship afloat.   Allure of the Seas, its sister ship, beats it out by 2 inches in length technically making the Allure larger.     Is that taking things to the extreme?  Well, maybe, but
Captains Zini and Wright had something to say about it amongst themselves.   That story was picked up by the media and has become one of the talking points about the two ships.

Watch the video of the two captains: Allure of the Seas Arrives in Fort Lauderdale

Well, back to the story about different size cruise ships.   Here are the facts about these two vessels:

Grandeur of the Seas

Passenger Capacity: 2,446
Gross Tonnage: 74,000
Length: 916'
Beam: 106'
Draft: 25'
Cruising Speed: 22 knots
Oasis of the Seas

Guest Capacity: 5,400 double occupancy
Gross Tonnage: 220,000
Length: 1,187'
Max Beam: 184.40'
Draft: 30'
Cruising Speed: 22 knots

We published this picture and details before, but it is worth repeating.   Click on the image to really get an idea of scale of both Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.

Oasis of the Seas is 47 metres wide and 360 metres long, i.e. 40 m longer than the height of the Eiffel tower! Height over the water line is 65 m. Building the vessel has been compared to a huge 3-dimensional puzzle. 
The vessel consists of 180 grand blocks, the biggest with a size of length 22 m, width 30 m and weight 600 tons! The vessel´s weight is 12 times the weight of the Eiffel tower.  The Statue of Liberty does tower over the ship but you could put several Boeing 747s, London Double Decker buses and Mercedes Benz autos end to end and have room to spare.

Size Does Matter

Just to give you an additional sense of scale,  the first cruise ship we went on in the 80s was Carnival Celebration which  weighed in around 37,500 tons.   At the time, that was one of the largest vessels in Carnival Cruise Line's fleet.   The Oasis and Allure are almost 6 times heavier than the Celebration.

If you have been following our blog, you are well aware of all the activities on Oasis and Allure.   Size is obviously an advantage to ship builders - they have more canvas on which to create.  So with the introduction of these ships, we have some of the most amazing innovations at sea.

Of course, size costs more. The price tag of these state of the art vessels means someone has to pay for the ship.   The good news is there are more cabins on a large ship which means more passengers to share the weekly costs.    It does however mean that, at least for the foreseeable future, guests will pay a premium over smaller ships owned by the same companies.

More passengers can mean more wait time, but Royal Caribbean has taken that to heart in planning these ships, and you might not experience long wait times.   There are so many different attractions onboard, passengers will be scattered over the entire vessel, so it shouldn't appear crowded most of the time.  Loading and unloading the ship will be one time where you'll see most of your fellow passengers, but Royal Caribbean has taken steps to make that run smoothly.

We have focused on Royal Caribbean in this article, but there are other examples within the remaining cruise lines.   One important take away is that size is just one factor when planning your cruise vacation, but it is an important one.   Take advantage of the expertise among cruise specialists in deciding the right ship for you and your traveling partners.   The last thing you'd want would be to be expecting a ship the size of Grandeur of the Seas and step out of your cab to find Oasis of the Seas in front of you at the pier.

No matter what size you are looking for, you'll find a ship in one of the cruise line's fleets that meets your needs.   They come in many sizes, shapes, and with many different attractions.   Personally, the fun is in selecting the ship you want to try next and enjoying everything it has to offer once you start your cruise vacation.

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