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When Is The Biggest Ship Biggest?

There is always debates when the subject of “biggest cruise ships in the world” is raised. Some people (like us) tend to think the biggest ship is the one that carries the most people, not the one that weighs the most or is the longest from tip to stern or has the most bow thrusters.

However, passenger counts are fluid, because they are fundamentally based on two people times the number of cabins. There are not always two people in a cabin — sometimes as many as four — and there are suites that accommodate more than two. Or can.

So that’s probably not the right measurement.

OasisIndustry experts use gross tonnage, we are told. That being the case, here are the 10 biggest cruise ships right now:

1. Allure of the Seas* (225,282 gross tonnes)

2. Oasis of the Seas (225,282)

3. Anthem of the Seas (168,666)

3. Quantum of the Seas (168,666)

5. Norwegian Escape (164,600)

6. Norwegian Epic (155,873)

7. Freedom of the Seas (160,000)

7. Liberty of the Seas (160,000)

7. Independence of the Seas (160,000)

10. Queen Mary 2 (148,528)

The list is soon going to change. In the spring and early summer, both Ovation of the Seas (168,666) and Harmony of the Seas (226,000) will move into the top 10. That will give Royal Caribbean nine of the 10 biggest ships.

Allure and Oasis are likely to remain firmly entrenched at the top for the foreseeable future. Part of making ships more energy efficient, just like making cars more energy efficient, is to make them lighter.

You may have noticed the asterisk next to Allure of the Seas. That’s because while it weighs the same as Oasis of the Seas, Allure is two inches longer.

So much for making gross tonnage the criteria!

In the news…

• Crystal Serenity heading to North America following world cruise in 2017
• First robot to read human emotions, Pepper, going on Costa ships next year
• First details about Harmony of the Seas thrill water slide, Ultimate Abyss

Today at portsandbows.com: AmaWaterways announces 2017 schedule


Majesty of the Seas
4 nights
January 18, 2016
Miami (return): CocoCay, Nassau
Inside: $299
Cost per day: $74
www.royalcaribbean.com

 

Eighth Cruise Wonder, Anyone?

A writer for Conde Nast Traveler, Ondine Cohane, has produced the “Seven Cruise Wonders of the World.” It’s a clever idea and, like all such lists, highly subjective.

Picking up on it, Princess Cruises now has a contest for cruisers to add No. 8. The top prize is to sail away to one of the wonders (the eighth?) on a Princess ship.

What would your pick be?

Before deciding, here is Ms Cohane’s criteria for what qualifies as a cruise wonder, followed by her list of seven:

“The particular sense of arrival when approaching them by ship, the experience of anticipation and excitement when closing in on each treasure, and the sense of discovery that only an arrival by ship can really create.”

1. Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
2. Panama Canal
3. Shiretoko Peninsula, Japan
4. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
5. Christ the Redeemer (statue), Brazil
6. Trunk Bay, St. John, Virgin Islands
7. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

So, about Number Eight?

Obviously, you draw on your experiences from cruising, not from pictures, We’ve seen two of her wonders (Glacier Bay, Panama Canal) and wouldn’t object to their inclusions. Using her criteria and our experiences, three candidates come to mind for the eighth wonder…

VancouverVancouver: Approaching the Lions Gate Bridge and sailing under it, both times in early morning as the sun crested over the North Shore Mountains.

Venice: As beautiful and intriguing an arrival by ship as we’ve ever seen, and the city lives up to the anticipation.

New York: Crossing under the Verrazano Bridge to be faced with the Statue of Liberty, that icon of freedom.

Over to you…

In the news…

• Royal Caribbean pushing 30 per cent discounts on all cruise ships
• First LGBT cruise line, Anteros, to announce itineraries in April 2016
• SplashGolf in interactive water environment installed on Norwegian Epic

Today at portsandbows.com: Day by day on Fathom's Cuba cruise


Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas
7 nights
December 13, 2015
Galveston (return): Falmouth, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
Inside: $512
Cost per day: $73
www.royalcaribbean.com

Friday File: A Taste Of Southeast Asia

When you go to a foreign land and eat local food, sometimes you’re never quite sure what you’re eating, or if you are indeed eating what the locals say. It is a culinary adventure, to say the least, and after visiting Southeast Asia for the first time we better understood why locals eat what they do, we shared many of their dishes and we came home raving about the food of Cambodia and Vietnam, especially Vietnam. Some of the servings surprised as, as they probably will you…

Crickets

When you visit a cricket farm, as we did in Vietnam, you naturally expect to see crickets and you anticipate being invited to eat them. We were — and did…okay, one of us did.

Cambodian soup

The most popular dish on the AmaDara river cruiser was, without question, Cambodian soup and while it was often available throughout the day it was a breakfast specialty.

Version 2

Vietnamese spring rolls are available on this side of the Pacific but the ones at our favourite Saigon restaurant, Quan Bui, were better than any in North America.

Bread

This is not what you think, it’s just the work of a creative pastry chef on the ship, and it definitely tasted better than it looked, although Cambodian crocs are a delicacy.

Tarantula

This is what it you think, a man eating a tarantula. It was at a stop called Spidertown, the tour guide’s is Nyphea and the tarantula wasn’t wiggling…except when he crunched it.

banana, mango, dragon fruit

Dessert is always a welcome respite when you’re eating in adventureland, and this delectable trilogy of dragon fruit (red), mango and banana really hit the spot.

In the news…

• Legends In Concert move from Norwegian Epic to the Pearl
• Royal Caribbean's new catchphrase for marketing — 'Come Seek'
• Carnival latest cruise line to relax carry-on policy for beverages

Today at portsandbows.com: Preview of the new Carnival Vista 


Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas
7 nights
November 29, 2015
Galveston (return): Falmouth, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
Inside: $430
Cost per day: $61
www.royalcaribbean.com

Panama Canal A Place To Grow!

Once again this week, we became advocates for taking a Panama Canal cruise, as we have been since our inaugural cruise across the Isthmus of Panama in 2010. This time, it was reassuring friends who leave on a Panama Canal cruise today that they would never regret it.

On our trip, construction was underway for the Canal expansion that was going to be completed…on the waterway’s 100th anniversary in 2014…and then in late 2015…and now sometime early in 2016. The delays have been caused by cost over-runs (now there’s a surprise), strikes (another surprise) and a mix-up in the concrete mix for the locks (that is a surprise).

When it does open, the Canal will accommodate ships that are close to 1.5 times larger than today’s limit. These are called “post-Panamax” ships, and several cruise ships fit the Panama Canalcategory, but that doesn’t include — according to post-Panamax measurements — Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, the two biggest cruise ships in the world. Nor does it include Royal Caribbean’s Freedom Class ships (Freedom, Liberty and Independence).

Sticking with Royal Caribbean as the example, its two newest ships — Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, which is being launched this week — both will fit in the new Panama Canal.

At the moment, half Royal Caribbean’s fleet doesn’t.

But help is on the way. There is now talk of a fourth set of locks across the Isthmus, which will take $17 billion (for now) and 15 years. So by 2030, Oasis and Allure could probably make maiden voyages through the Panama Canal.

If they’re still around, that is.

Today at portsandbows.com: Celebrity's creative shore excursions

Norwegian Getaway
7 nights
May 30, 2015
Miami (return): St. Thomas, Tortola, Nassau 
Inside: $549
Cost per day: $78
www.ncl.com

Let There Be Liberty — And Tattoos!

In our family we have three children (six, counting spouses) and, to the best of our knowledge, two tattoos. One is visible. One (or more?) is not. The point is we are anything but experts when it comes to tattooing and, while we’re not anti-tattoo, nor are we advocates.

Yet today, we write about tattoos.

Since life is stranger than fiction, and since cruising is part of life, it is impossible for us to ignore the latest in theme cruises. You got it. Next April, a tattoo cruise on Royal Ink or SwimCaribbean’s Liberty of the Seas (above)…and the cruise is cleverly called Ink or Swim, which beats the alternative.

The organizers may never get the attention of the folks at Guinness, but this goes into the record book as the first tattoo-themed cruise — at least the first that didn’t involve marching bands and the military. In case you’re not old enough, military tattoos march to the beat of a different drum.

The cruise is four days long, sufficient time to ink every body part that can be inked — is there somewhere that can’t? — if that’s what you have in mind. Better yet, you can be tattooed in the comfort of the Caribbean Sea, because Liberty will sail from Fort Lauderdale to Cozumel and back, with no stops in between…turning port time into tattoo time.

At Tattoo Alley, the ship’s body art center, will be some of the most famous artists around. Layout 1People like the “sexy” Tatu Baby (left), the “Wyld Child” Sarah Miller, “surfer/philanthropist” Mark Longenecker (right), the “gothic princess” Amy Nicoletto and Mark Longenecker“bad boy” Chris Torres. No, we didn’t know of them, either. There are more details at the Ink or Swim website, where you can also sign up to get “inked by a master” and to pay $970 (minimum) for the theme-cruise and all its activities, which includes $100-$150 towards your (first) tattoo.

How much do tattoos cost?

A quick Internet check produced this line: “In the world of tattoo, the high price is the indication of the best quality. Tattoo artists can charge you $30-$250.”

So for the big spender, that could be $1,220 for an inside room on a 4-day Caribbean Ink or Swim cruise.

On Royal Caribbean’s website, inside rooms on that cruise start at $549.

But there is no explaining tattoo people, is there?

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Carnival Fascination
5 nights
November 17, 2014
Jacksonville (return): Nassau, Freeport
Inside: $179
Cost per day: $35
www.carnival.com

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