A Connection with the Sea?

Connection with the Sea

No it’s not the name of a new Royal Caribbean ship. What I would like to discuss is how some ships have a better ‘connection with the sea’ than others.

Now, by ‘connection,’ I simply mean that a ship with a good ‘connection’ would have lots of windows in the public rooms, maybe a forward facing observation lounge overlooking the bow, a good promenade deck (ideally a wrap-around type) and adequate deck space to sit and get a sea view. You would never be too far away from a sea-view, the sea itself and the smell of the ocean.

You cannot expect big ships to have such a good connection with the sea as smaller ships. Big ships almost certainly have very wide public rooms, and the windows are relatively small compared to the overall size of the rooms.

For example if you dine on-board Fred Olsen’s Black Watch (28,00gt) or similar, wherever you sit in the main dining room, you are never very far away from a window and a sea view. On the other hand, if you are dining in the Queen Mary 2’s (150,000gt) beautiful Britannia dining room, a window could be a considerable distance away from your table.

The disadvantage with older/smaller ships, like Olsen’s and CMV’s is that they lack a large numbers of balcony cabins, if they have any at all. Some do not have the luxury of a front facing observation lounge or a full wrap-around promenade deck.  Newer-smaller ship, often the luxury brands, have plentiful balconies.

On many large ships, some public rooms and public spaces may be located internally and may not even have any windows.

(QM2)

(QM2)

The sheer height of mega-ships keeps passengers a long way from the sea  level. For example, If you stand on the QM2’s stern, the sea is a long distance below you.  If you stand on the stern of a smaller ship you would be much nearer sea level and could probably feel the sea spray.

Norwegian Epic: A Prom without a view!

Norwegian Epic: A Prom without a view!

The ‘Norwegian Epic’ is an interesting example (the second biggest class of ship in the world when she entered service): As you can see from the image above there is not even much of a sea view from her promenade deck.

Epic has an Atrium with a very large video screen in it, but few windows.  Ironically this screen often shows views of beautiful landscapes around the world and passengers often sit,  relax and watch it.  On this ship, ‘virtual reality’ obviously takes precedent over the natural beauty of the seas and any land outside the ship.

The Lobby

The Lobby

There are some exceptions to the rule that large ships have less of a connection with the sea. Royal Caribbean’s Radiance-class has tons of glass and offers plentiful sea views. these include views from some unlikely places, such as from the gent’s public toilets. The ships design also makes the interiors very light. In fact I would say that this class of ship has more ‘connection with the sea’ than some smaller ships.

RCI’s Voyager class, Freedom class and Oasis class ships are all much bigger than the Radiance-class ships. They also feature a significantly different internal design. They have the ‘Royal Promenade’, which is an indoor “street” with shops, cafes and bars, runs through the centre of the ships, with  no windows/sea views and little natural light. There are cabins with windows which overlook this space offering a somewhat artificial view compared to the many balcony cabins.

(Liberty's Royal Prom)

(Liberty’s Royal Prom)

In RCI’s defence,  these big ships probably have no worse connection than many other big ship.  With so many balcony cabins, many passengers have their own private connection with the sea.

One of my favourite RCI designs: Brilliance of the Seas.

One of my favourite RCI designs: Brilliance of the Seas.

NCL’s newer ‘Breakaway’ and ‘Breakaway+’ class ship improve upon ‘Epic’s’ design. They have a large promenade deck, lines with restaurant and bars etc. called ‘The Waterfront’.

breakaway_header

The Waterfront (NCL)

Another meag-ship offering external space is MSC’s new ‘Seaside design.  Like NCL’s ‘Waterfront’ she will have a very large external promenade deck.

crucero-msc-seaside-naviera-msc-cruceros-nudoss-panoramica-2-677x395

Seaside Prom. Deck (Courtesy MSC)

But does a ‘connection with the sea’ matter?

Well I think it does. Although modern ships are increasingly becoming giant ‘floating resorts’, the passengers are still buying an ocean going experience.

If you can’t actually see the ocean very often, you are missing out on one of the main joys of cruising and might as well be taking a vacation in a land based resort.

Malcolm Oliver

My ‘Brilliance of the Seas’ review http://wp.me/PfRKD-a  (A pretty big ship with sea views!)

One Response to “A Connection with the Sea?”

  1. Simon Says:

    I found this article very interesting and thought provoking.

    You said that even some smaller ships don’t have much connection with the sea. Which ones do have a good connection? Aside from the ones you’ve sailed on, you’ve visited Oceania’s Regatta, so what do you think about the R ships?

    Aside from the Radiance class, the other class of big ships that are noted for natural light are the Solstice class, but I’ve read criticism that the prom deck is obscured by life boats and the observation lounge is frequently occupied with activities. What did you think? And isn’t that a problem with the Radiance class, that there’s loud music or activities everywhere, to prevent you feeling a connection with the sea?

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