While daydreaming, I was wondering what the Norwegian cruise might include on-board a 200,000 gross tonne mega-ship.
Getaway – Andreas Depping
A recent rumour suggest that they might be about to order such a mega-ship (or two) which would be almost as big as Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the seas (225,000 gt).
Firstly I believe that such a ship would have to be a completely new design. NCL have added an extra deck to their ‘Breakaway’ design (146,600gt) to create the ‘Breakaway Plus’ (Escape and Bliss at 163,000 gt) but we are talking about a 200,000gt. That’s more than just two extra decks!
Not only is Oasis the world’s biggest class of cruise ship, carrying the highest number of passengers (6,296 maximum) she also has room for a number of breath-taking public spaces. Not only does she have an enlarged ‘Royal Promenade’, which is an internal street running along much the length of the ship, she has the ‘Boardwalk’, complete with Merry-Go-Round at the stern and the amazing ‘Central Park, an area with real trees and plants. Only the remarkable split-superstructure design and scale of the ship allows such ‘wow’ spaces.
Central Park (Oasis)
Norwegian’s three most recent ships: Epic, Breakaway, Getaway and the forthcoming Escape and Bliss all have a very different design to Oasis. Third generation ‘Freestyle’ requires almost every inch of the ships to be packed with multiple dining rooms, multiple bars and multiple entertainment venues. This leaves little room for double-height rooms or big spaces. Even their atriums are modest when compared to many other big modern cruise ships.
So what would they do with 200,000 gt? Well more cabins and more passengers than ‘Escape’ is a given. I guess her double occupancy might be around 5,000 passengers, so that’s maybe a 1,000 more than ‘Breakaway’? Obviously bigger dining rooms and bigger entertainment venues will be required to handle the extra passengers. However NCL’s new ships already have more dining options than you could use in 7 night cruise. Would a new NCL mega-ships really need even more?
It would be nice to see at least some of the extra-gross tonnage used for some big new public spaces. I assume the very attractive ‘Waterfront’ feature (bars and dining rooms lining an external promenade deck) will be back. After all it’s a simple, but excellent idea. I would expect such a mega-ship have a much enhanced ‘Waterfront’. They say that Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and the MSC newbuild project ‘Seaside’ will also have a big ‘Waterfront’ like feature.
What would NCL do with the pool-deck? We have already seen their big aqua-parks with mini golf, sports court, ropes course, rock climbing wall and water slides. What next, a Ferris -Wheel or roller coaster? Maybe even a mini-train around the deck?
Personally I like some of the traditional ideas such as a high forward facing observation lounge. This helps give a ship a better ‘connection with the sea’. Even RCI have abandoned their signature ‘Royal Viking Crown’ lounge on-board their new ‘Quantum’ class ship, which is a shame.
How about pools? Everyone seems to complain that the pools on-board mega-ships are not plentiful enough and too small. I believe this is because they are now always located on the top deck and having too many tons of water up their can compromise the ships stability. How about creating a big pool, on a low deck, inside the ship. This is where the pools were located on-board the ocean liners of yesteryear. Just an idea!
In short, I have no more idea than the next man what NCL might incorporate into a new mega-ship, but its fun to speculate. What facilities do you think a new NCL mega-ship might have?