Friday, November 28, 2008

The glut of cruise ships!

My first cruise back in 1981 was on the SS Norway (formerly and SS France), at the time billed as the largest cruise ship afloat.



Now, a short 25 years later, the Norway is a wreck; a burned-out hulk awaiting dismantling in India:



I wonder if this will be the fate of the newest generation of cruise ships?

This week’s Businessweek article Too Many Love Boats notes that these billion dollar cruise ships will be entering a glutted market:

“The travel industry is in its worst slump since the September 11 terrorist attacks seven years ago.

To lure customers, cruise lines are slashing prices, eliminating fuel surcharges, and redirecting ships from exotic locations to ports that don't require expensive air travel.”

I’ll be among the 6,000 passengers on the first sailing of the Genesis class ships because I want to see how this idea of billion dollar floating cities turns out.

The Oasis of the Seas is underway, and the long-awaited “central park” area is taking shape:


Looks great on paper

Conceptual illustrations make the Genesis Oasis "Central Park" an amazing open space at sea:



But the real Central Park looks less glamorous:



The Oasis has lots of features including redneck features:

"Longer than an aircraft carrier, the $1.5 billion vessel will feature seven "neighborhoods" including a Central Park with outdoor caf├ęs, as well as a boardwalk with a tattoo parlor and fortune teller."