Week of 11.29.2009
Ron Cruger
A floating island
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Kip Van Cruger
The good old days - when were they?
            Royal Caribbean International has built a new ship (I almost slipped and called it a boat). I’m not sure that the word ship is accurate either. “The Oasis of the Seas” is a lot more that a ship/boat. Try “county.”
          To start, it’s twenty stories high. It has 2,700 cabins and can accommodate 6,300 passengers. It takes 2,100 crew members to operate the ship. Remember the Titanic, the leviathan of all ships. “The Oasis of the Seas” is (hold on) five times larger than the Titanic. Five times!
          To insure that the passengers are kept busy during the length of the cruise, the $1.5 billion dollar ship has seven “neighborhoods” (like theme parks), an ice rink, a golf course and a 750-seat outdoor amphitheater. For the claustrophobic there are 1,600 square foot cabins available. Some reading these words don’t live in apartments containing 1,600 square feet.
          “The Oasis” is 40 percent larger than any ship on the seas. Coming into a berth it appears to look like Australia with smoke stacks.
          One of the neighborhoods is named after Central Park. It features a square with boutiques, restaurant and bars. Another neighborhood is decorated like a tropical paradise, including palm trees and vines plus 12,000 plants on board. There is an indoor theater which seats 1,300 patrons.
          If you’re afraid that you’ll get bored, sailing on the open seas, “The Oasis” has four swimming pools, volleyball and basketball courts and a theme park for children.
          One of the problems sure to face the cities where “The Oasis” docks are the logistics when the ship pulls into a tiny dock and open its doors and deposits 6,000 people on land. I’m sure that the scores of little touristy shops will be glad to see the arrival of the world’s biggest cruise ship, but having 6,000 (not including the crew) disgorge at one time has to create a logjam of sorts. And where does one find enough port-a-potties to care for 6,000 souls within quick jogging distance of “Mel’s Tropical Bar” and its oversize Mai Tais. We’re talking about a possible 6,000 Mai Tais an hour later.
          It takes a load of fuel to get this behemoth scooting along the waves. “The Oasis” is powered by advanced diesel engines that produce 130,110 horse power. That’s like the output of almost 900 medium sized Fords chugging along your favorite ocean.
          Of course, it takes a raft of horsepower to propel a ship that weighs 225,000 tons.
          I can only imagine what the crew has to do when this ship docks. The toilets to be emptied, the garbage to be dumped, the water supplies replenished, the cloth napkins ironed, the liquor cabinet refilled. And picture the rush to make 2,700 beds before sailing time.
          It must be a thrill to walk up the gangplank and settle in your room on “The Oasis,” ready for a sail to Nassau in the Bahamas.
          It must also be fascinating to dock at an island that’s smaller than the ship you arrived on.
A sociological change has occurred