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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not my idea of a quiet holiday....press item....

There's big, bigger and now Freedom of the Seas.

The world's largest luxury liner -- taller than the Statue of Liberty and longer than an aircraft carrier -- will sail out of Miami today on her maiden voyage to the western Caribbean.

She sets a new standard for big. The latest fleet addition for Royal Caribbean International, Freedom comes in at 160,000 gross registered tons and is capable of carrying 4,375 passengers.

But it won't hold the record for very long. As cruise lines seek to maximize their profits amid a weakening Caribbean cruise market, they want to attract people whose idea of a vacation is more than betting on bingo and bellying up to the buffet. The bigger the ship, the more restaurants, entertainment and other amenities it's likely to have.

And Freedom has its share on its 15 decks, including a wave pool that simulates surfing and a boxing ring in the largest-ever cruise ship gym. There's also a brightly colored water park for children, and for their parents, whirlpools that are cantilevered off the side of the ship.

Royal Caribbean plans to introduce two more similarly sized ships in the next two years. Then, in 2009, it plans to come out with a 220,000-ton behemoth capable of carrying 5,400 passengers, now known only by its code name, Genesis.

``At some stage, people will say, `OK, enough already.' But ships of Freedom's size will be what you see at ports all around the world 10, 15 years from now,'' said Tony Peisley, an industry analyst and author of a new book, ``The Future of Cruising -- Boom or Bust?''

Freedom's closest competitor now, Cunard Line's 2-year-old Queen Mary 2, is more than 151,000 tons and carries 3,090 passengers.

Cruise lines worldwide will take delivery of seven new ships this year with an average capacity for 3,319 passengers, up from an average of 1,773 for 13 new ships in 2000, according to Peisley.

``Nobody's building small ships anymore,'' he said. ``They're building them larger because it's more profitable for them. And the reality is the passengers like the bigger ships.''

Carnival and Royal Caribbean, the No. 1 and No. 2 cruise ship operators, together made $3 billion last year, up 27 percent from 2004.

As their ships have grown, so have their sales from tickets and onboard spending. Although more waiters and bartenders are needed on bigger ships, they're paid mostly in tips rather than wages. And the bigger ships burn roughly the same amount of fuel, thanks to technological advances.

Royal Caribbean built Freedom to appeal to today's vacationer who craves action. Besides the wave pool and boxing ring, there's a rock-climbing wall, an ice-skating rink, a full-sized basketball court, and a sports pool for volleyball and other games.

The fact that Freedom also happens to be the world's largest luxury liner isn't the point, said Adam Goldstein, president of Royal Caribbean.

``We build bigger ships to encompass more choices,'' Goldstein said. ``We're not sitting around saying, `Hey, can we get two more tons?' We're sitting around saying, `What do families want?' ''

So far, the response to Freedom has been positive. The ship is heavily booked through the year's end, with summer fares for the seven-night cruises costing $500 to $700 more than on other vessels cruising the Caribbean.

But Freedom faces numerous challenges, primarily a weakening Caribbean cruise market and concerns about another unusually active hurricane season. And some say cruisers are growing tired of visiting the same Caribbean ports again and again.

Freedom, which cost $800 million to build, won't solve that because it's too big to tie up at smaller, off-the-beaten-path ports such as Virgin Gorda and St. Kitts. Instead, its weeklong cruises from Miami will stop in Cozumel, Mexico, and George Town, Grand Cayman, two of the most heavily visited ports, as well as Montego Bay, Jamaica and Labadee, Haiti.

``We have people now who just go on the ships and don't want to get off. They've been to every port two times, four times, eight times,'' said Sylvia Berman, president of Post Haste Travel in Hollywood, Fla., who characterizes the need for new ports as ``desperate.''

Also, some wonder whether cruising on Freedom will be too Disney-esque, referring to the potential for huge crowds and long lines.

``These are beyond floating resorts,'' said Stewart Chiron, president of Joystar Cruises, a Miami-based travel agency. ``I mean, how many resorts that you know of hold that many people?''

Goldstein said Royal Caribbean is limiting passenger capacity to 3,600 and gradually will work its way to 4,375 to allow crew members to adjust.

Previously, Royal Caribbean's biggest ships were its five 138,000-ton Voyager vessels, introduced in 1999.

Rival Carnival Cruise Lines, meanwhile, is building a 130,000-ton vessel, its biggest yet. But President and CEO Bob Dickinson said he is in no hurry to top Freedom.

``We're not interested in having the largest for the sake of having the largest, or else we would have responded to the Voyager-class ships,'' Dickinson said. ``We're about having fun ships and a certain camaraderie.''

Dan Charette, a 41-year-old real estate agent from the Tampa Bay area, plans to sail on Freedom in October. He prefers smaller ships and is ``a little apprehensive'' about going on Freedom. But he's eager to try new activities.

``There's just so much to do,'' Charette said. ``I'll try the wave pool if the line isn't too long.''
 

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4 to 5 thousand passengers going ashore for the day, should be fun last off will have to have a quick look around otherwise they will miss the sailing. Will there be enough coaches!!!.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
To me that would be the leisure time to relax and enjoy the ship...no point in spening the day disembarking / embarking / barking mad is there..?!

Rushie
 

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Good report Rushie.

1. If I wanted to go rock climbing, I would go to an outdoor leisure centre!

2. If I wanted to surfing, I would go to a surfing beach!

3. If I wanted to go ice skating, I would go to an ice rink in Blackpool!

4. If I wanted to go on a real cruise, I certainly would not go on that thing!

Cheers Frank
 

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dom

the idea now for the u.l curise liners is the ship is the destination,the ports that can accommodate them will become fewer and fewer .to transfer passengers ashore you would need launches for 200 people.time is of the essnse on cruises
 

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I am going on one almost as big as Freedom of the Seas next April, the Navigator of the Seas at 138,000. So it will be interesting to see how they cope with so many passengers. It took long enough for Oriana to disembark her passengers a couple of weeks ago of around 1,975. they began at 0900 and I went off at 1030, and there were still groups behind me.

Also of course, those who have read my posts since I joined SN know that I do not regard these floating holiday centres like Freedom of the Sea as liners even though cruise companies and best part of the population refer them as cruise liners or even worse, just liners. None of the new ships at least, except QE2 and now Queen Mary 2 have ever taken passengers from A to B simply as a means of transport on a scheduled 'line voyage'. I won't repeat my earlier posts expect to repeat what Captain Wally Vickers of Canberra told me in December 1972 when Canberra arrived back in Southampton after her final line voyage from Sydney. He said: " Canberra has ceased to be a liner and will become a full time cruise ship, and then explained that the word liner came from line voyages. I then researched the origin and found that Captain Vickers was right, but I have either lost some of this material when I moved 6 years ago or is stuck away in the loft under piles of bags, and would take ages to research again. Others says the word comes from Ship of the Line. My own research showed that as Captain Vickers said, our ancestors added an R to line to make one word to describe the trade of all vessels plying this trade whether cargo or passenger i.e passenger liner and cargo liner. But whoever is correct, one thing is for certain, cruise ships do not fall into either catagory whatever modern dictionaries may say(as pointed out by other members in the past) unless they carry passengers from one place to another like the old days, they will never be liners whether dictionaries say so or not. I will never accept that language moves on to attatch the word liner to a vessel that is no more than a floating holiday resort. But having said that, I suppose all era's go through the same change and we just have to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to it knowing that we can't stop changes whether good or bad?!. But I do wish that some dictionaries in particular would do more research into the history of liner, and take note of the words of Stephen Payne OBE, designer of Queen May 2 when he went on record saying she was the first passenger liner built since QE2. He did his research before making such a statement, so it is a pity others don't do the same such as dictionaries who some people take as gospel.

By the way, I did ask the Staff Captain on Oriana what he said to passengers if they called his ship a boat something that annoyed skippers of yesteryear. He said Oriana was certainly not a boat. But went further by saying that Oriana is not a ship either, but a vessel. He said that a ship is a three masted sailing ship. That was new to me because I was always told by old-school captains, and naval admirals etc that that a ship has covered deck, ships carry boats, but boats do not carry ships, and the only large vessel that is a boat is a submarine. So to be told that a ship is a three masted sailing ship certainly opened up this debate?!. David
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hmmm....surely ships have developed since then.? That seems like the original dictionary description.

Rushie
 

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I was in the mn for 32 years and whether she wasa 250,000ton tanker or a10,000 ton
reefer they were always boats,most if not all of my shipmates also referred to them as
boats.
 

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Yes we did Ian but it was slang and we knew it was slang, that is the difference whether you are at sea for 32 years or 132. We referred to the Orient line ships as 'O' Boats, but it was slang. We knew that they were actually ships. But the majority of people I speak to literally think a ship is a boat. But we have been down that road before here on Ships Nostalgia(not Boat Nostalgia which it would be if ships were boats or Boating Forecast not Shipping Forecast etc!!). My sailing friends however would not agree with the Staff Captain. But all the skippers I sailed with in the past if you called their ship a boat they would soon put you right. I remember Captain Dallas on Arcadia, a well respected P&O skipper telling a passenger that the only boats connected to his ship were lifeboats?!. David
 

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I thought they were Motor Vessels or Steam Ships? My first vessel was a cargo liner, liner being on a regular route service ie GB to NZ to GB. (Thumb)
 

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You are right Pat, nice to see cargo liner mentioned. They still ply regular routes to Australia and NZ, and hopefull always will. Passengers may get from A to B by air now, but I think it will be a while before all the worlds trade is carried by air if ever?!. David
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
A BOAT is a Boat....a SHIP is...

Put it this way.....

If you happened to be run over (in your BOAT) by the "Jahre Viking"....would you really admit to the lads down the pub that you'd been run over by a BOAT...?.....NO......you'd say you ran into the biggest SHIP in the world....

BOATS still have sails....and Ellen McArthur aboard....SHIPS are metal (and yes I discount FastCraft as being ships)...c'mon...who on the Mersey, Tyne, Tees or Clyde would ever admit to building BOATS...?

Let's have a poll of members here.....2 questions -

1. Should we rename this website "Boats Nostalgia"..?
2. If we did...who would take any notice of it...?

Answers on messages in bottles to....

Rushie
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well you said they were boatbuilders...so boats.

If they still build ships though...be interested to know of it and the types.

Cheers,

Rushie
 

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c'mon...who on the Mersey, Tyne, Tees or Clyde would ever admit to building BOATS...?
Lots of good boatbuilders on all these rivers would admit to building very good boats as for ships, yes they are still building ships on the Tyne, two are fitting out at the moment, in the past they have built just about every type of vessel there is from Super Tankers to War Ships to great Passenger liners and last but not least canoes.
 

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Don't forget the Wear, as in Sunderland, once the biggest SHIPbuilding town in the world. As for boats, a submarine is a boat. As days gone by the train from Victoria to Southampton was known as the 'Boat' train. I believe a boat is a vessel with no decks, whereas a ship has? (Thumb)
 
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