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   Cruise Travel - Cruise News

Cruise Club is a free service, and when you join, you will begin receiving weekly updates including the latest cruise news and cruise specialsWelcome to this week's edition of Cruise News, the best place on the Web to find up-to-date information about cruises. To automatically receive Cruise News via email each week, join our Cruise Club.

For up to the minute news, stop by Cruise Talk anytime to post a message or find out what your fellow passengers and industry insiders are saying about a particular ship, cruise line or destination.

Cruise Views - February 13, 2006

Cruise Views  
This week's commentary by TravelPage.com's European Cruise Editor, Malcolm Oliver focuses on Royal Caribbean International's announcement that the company was going to build the world's largest cruise ship.

Genesis, a Revelation

It was only a few weeks ago that I wrote about the prolific amount of big new ships in American waters. Then, out of the blue, Royal Caribbean announced their intention to build the biggest Cruise ship of all time.

It is called the 'Genesis' project and will be a ship of 220,000 gross tons and carry more than 5,400 souls. For comparison, the biggest ship at present, the Queen Mary 2, is only a mere 150,000 gross tons, so Genesis will be over 45% bigger. To put this colossal in perspective, the ill-fated Titanic, at around 45,000 gt was about fifth of the size of Genesis, in terms of volume (gross tonnage is a measurement of internal volume, not weight).

I don't think anybody expected to see a ship in excess of 200,000 gt within this decade. However, it is little surprise that RCI are the ones to push the envelope. They are clearly the market leaders in designing state-of-the-art floating 'resorts'.

Before I could even get my breath back, RCI informed us that they have an option on a second Genesis ship. Once again strong debate has raged within our CruiseTalk Forum:


"Too big!!!! Too big!!!! It's too much of everything. Give me the sizes of our original classics any day".

"I would love to have the chance to go on something like that".

"And to think we used to rush to the rail to see a "giant" 70,000 ton tanker go by".

"Won't the sight of this be sensational? It's testing what humans are capable of. I'm excited!!!!

"Such a big ship, so many thoughts".

Not surprisingly, people are divided into two distincts camps. We will call one camp the 'wow, great' camp and the other the 'far too big' camp. Personally I do not know how big is 'too big'. It's so very subjective. When the first 90,000 gt ships were floated out, many of us thought they were too big. That lasted until the 120,000 gt ships were born, then they took over the mantel of being too big and 90,000 became acceptable. A little later 140,000 gt was considered too big by many, until we got used to it, and so it goes. Yesterday's giants have become today's mid-sized vessels.

As for the question of passenger capacity, a big ship can actually be more spacious than many smaller ships. It is wrong to assume that they will automatically feel more crowded than all smaller ships. However, you probably will not be able to avoid the crowds at times like embarkation, disembarkation and buffet meals etc. And what about those already crowded Caribbean ports of call?

It will be interesting to see how market-leader, Carnival, respond to the Genesis project. Their giant ship project called 'Pnnacle' is currently 'on hold'.

Big ships certainly do offer more choice of public rooms and facilities. There are more shops, dining choices, bars, ice rinks, water parks, climbing walls and surf simulators. Balcony staterooms are plentiful and sundecks are vast. However mega-ships (or should I say ultra-ships) can never offer the intimate feeling and personal service that a small ships can. Lets hope that we continue to have a variety of sizes of ship and styles to choose from, for many years to come.

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Description: Experience the beautiful ports of Nassau and Royal Caribbean's private island - CocoCay on a 3-night Weekend Getaway to the Bahamas. Absorb everything island life has to offer as you snorkel with the stingrays, parasail above the serene blue waters and walk the endless white sand beaches. From Miami.
Carnival - 4-Day Bahamas  from $229 per person
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NCL - Bermuda - 7 Day from $499 per person
Description: What a charming little chain of islands. Walk on pink sand beaches. Swim and snorkel in turquoise seas. Take in the historical sights. They're stoically British and very quaint. Or explore the coral reefs. You can get to them by boat or propelled by fins. You pick. Freestyle Cruising doesn't tell you where to go or what to do. Sure, you can plan ahead, or decide once onboard. After all, it's your vacation. There are no deadlines or must do's.
Holland America - Eastern Caribbean from From $599 per person
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Celebrity - 7-Night Western Mediterranean  from $549 per person
Description: For centuries people have traveled to Europe to see magnificent ruins, art treasures and natural wonders. And the best way to do so is by cruise ship. Think of it - you pack and unpack only once. No wasted time searching for hotels and negotiating train stations. Instead, you arrive at romantic ports of call relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on the world.
Holland America - Alaska from From $499 per person
Description: Sail between Vancouver and Seward, departing Sundays on the ms Statendam or ms Volendam and enjoy towering mountains, actively calving glaciers and pristine wildlife habitat. Glacier Bay and College Fjord offer two completely different glacier-viewing experiences.
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