Wednesday, 18 May 2011


While in Madeira, we were treated to the sight of several large cruise ships, docking in the harbour.  The first to catch our eyes was the Costa Mediterranea, a 1,057 cabin holiday cruise ship with 4 restaurants, 12 bars, 4 pools and 4 jacuzzis - among other things.  With a gross tonnage of 85,700t, it cut an impressive sight at the harbour side.
We thought the Costa Mediterranea was big enough, but then it was replaced by the Independence of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.  This one weighed in at nearly twice as much as the Costa Mediterranea at some 157,407 tons.  Absolutely massive!  So big in fact that I had to take two pictures and stitch them together in order to get it all in.  Capable of carrying 4,370 passengers and 1,360 crew, it almost filled the whole dock.
On a smaller scale, but no less impressive, was the private yacht 'Happy Days'.  This is the biggest composite yacht ever built in the Americas and is usually available to be rented out for private holidays.  There is certainly plenty of space on board with 7,500 sq ft of living space including sun decks, a jacuzzi and bar.  There's some money about!
Lastly was the Ruby Princess.  Launched in 2008, it weighs in at 116,000 tons, has 19 decks and carries 3,080 passengers looked after by a crew of 1,200.  Impressive all round.
Nice as these ships are to look at, the thought of being locked up with thousands of others in a floating hotel for a couple of weeks, fills me with absolute fear and dread.  And, as none of these ships stayed in harbour more than a few hours (only about 2 hours in the case of the Independence of the Seas), there would be precious little time to see - let alone enjoy - the delights of one's destinations.  Not my cup of tea at all.
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