Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Ship Is In

Yesterday morning, just after sunrise, the largest ship ever to moor in New London Harbor arrived under the watchful eye of many local residents, including me. I headed to Eastern Point Beach at around 6:00 AM, hoping to get a picture of the Explorer of the Seas before taking my husband to work. Unfortunately, the sunrise photo was not to be. The lovely lady was a bit slower than my schedule allowed and by the time I returned to the river, she was already nestled safely at the State Pier, piloted into position by Captain Sverre Ryan of Royal Caribbean and Captain Vincent Cashin of the Connecticut State Marine Pilots. I took the picture at right from the parking lot of Proto-Power, a business across the river from the berth.

The Royal Caribbean luxury liner is quite impressive. Just look at these statistics:
- maiden voyage: October 28, 2000
- passenger capacity: 3,114
- gross tonnage: 138,000 tons
- length: 1020 feet
- maximum beam: 157.5 feet
- height: 208 feet
- draft: 29 feet
- cruising speed: 23.7 knots (~25 mph)
So, she is seventy-two feet shorter than the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), the ninth Nimitz-class supercarrier. She also has a shorter beam, 157.5 feet vs. 252 feet for the “Gipper.” However, she exceeds the aircraft carrier in gross tonnage by almost 34,000 tons. I guess the descriptor “big” is kind of an understatement.

What is not an understatement when referring to the Explorer of the Seas is the label “luxury.” This evening, I briefly explored the Royal Caribbean website for the ship and, let me tell you, the only word I uttered for a while was “wow.” The largest guest room onboard is 1114 square feet, only 214 square feet bigger than my house, and it comes with a baby grand piano! Other amenities for cruising travelers:
- ice-skating rink
- rock-climbing wall
- in-line skating
- Royal Promenade mall (open 24 hours)
- Johnny Rockets® ‘50’s-style restaurant
- Portofino Italian restaurant
- various themed bars & lounges
- a casino
- golf simulators
- miniature golf course (9-hole)
- Adventure Ocean® youth facilities
- ShipShape® Day Spa & Fitness Center
- basketball court (full-size)
- three swimming pools
- a jogging track
- a five-story theater (complete with orchestra pit)
- a conference center
- a library
- an art gallery
- a wedding chapel
Yet, amidst all that opulence, I found this:
This cruise ship is so high-tech, it even features the University of Miami Ocean Lab, a state-of-the art oceanographic and atmospheric science lab.
Apparently, this effort is quite active because I found descriptions of presentations that will be given onboard during the month of August (check this link). The talk for the current cruise to New England and Canada:
Weather --- A Slice of Life by Christy Crosiar
Weather’s slice of life has been described as everything between the mud to sun. Weather is the common denominator for everyone who spends part of their life outdoors. As an outdoor creature, come and participate in the science you know and learn about normals, currents and satellites.
Not being a fan of cruising (probably because of too much time spent around Navy ships), I am at least pleased to see that all that luxury is also being put to good use as an educational platform.

If you missed the Explorer of the Seas this time around, don’t fret. The ship will return three more times this fall as part of a schedule of weeklong cruises to Canada: September 15, September 29, and October 13. Bon voyage!


Janet Rubin said...

My husband was all excited about this! I heard the ship dwarfed Fisher's Island. Yes... impressive.

Sandi said...

WOW, that is SO COOL! Do they sail to China? ;^)