Cruise fans, travel agents and cruise communities have been abuzz in anticipation of Royal Caribbean's new cruise ship - the "Oasis of the Seas." "Amazing! . . Wow! . . Look at that!" . . . have been the extent of the popular media's insight into this new super mega ship.
But a few journalists have questioned the environmental appropriateness of this monster of a cruise ship. In an article entitled "A Titanic for These Times," San Francisco writer Mark Follman concludes that only someone interested in a "decadent vacation cruise" could rationalize boarding what will be the biggest, longest, tallest, widest, heaviest, and most expensive passenger ship ever built.
"Floating Emblem of a Bankrupt Era?"
Follman's intuition is that the experience would be akin to "feasting on a nine-course meal in the middle of an Ethiopian refugee camp." He cites an article by Rory Nugent in the Atlantic magazine which questions the rationale of building such a monstrosity. According to the article "Hope Floats," the passengers will consume 560,000 gallons of water a day, and the ship will burn 12 tons of diesel an hour. Although Royal Caribbean and the cruise industry's 16,000 travel agents may hope that the Oasis of the Seas will be a success, Mr. Nugent raises the question that the ship "may leave the dock already a dinosaur - a floating emblem of a bankrupt era."
A Corporate Felon That Can't Get It Right
At a time when only fools question the effect of greenhouse gases, the melting of the Arctic cap, and the need to develop sustainable businesses, Royal Caribbean has spent and mostly borrowed over a billion dollars to create a ship so at odds with the environment that it resembles the monster in the movie Cloverfield. In 2004, Royal Caribbean came off of a 5 year probation after pleading guilty to felonies for widespread pollution and repeated lying to the U.S. Coast Guard. Just two days ago, the environmental group 'Friends of the Earth" awarded Royal Caribbean a "F" for the disastrous impact on air and water caused by its cruise ships.
Three 250 HP Engines on a 37 Foot Boat?
Many corporations take on the personality and values of their leaders. During the publicity build up for the Oasis of the Seas' debut, Royal Caribbean's CEO Richard Fain was interviewed by David Andrews of the U. K.'s "Times Online." In an article aptly entitled "Biggest is the Best for Cruise Chief," Mr. Fain reveals his rivalry with Carnival and the need to "give his business the ascendancy again . . . the Royal Caribbean International brand . . . will be bigger than anything Carnival can compete with."
After finishing the article, I felt that I had just read the lines for Gordon Gekko ("greed is good") in the 1987 movie Wall Street.
The article ends with Mr. Fain mentioning his 37 foot powerboat - “it’s got three 250hp Yamaha engines, goes 52mph . . . "
750 hp on a 37 foot boat? I suppose that's more economical than the 100-megawatt power grid and 3,300 miles of electrical cables on his new monster of a cruise ship.
Photo credit - Oasis of the Seas - Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, via San Francisco Chronicle ("Oasis of the Seas is a real ocean monster")