When it comes to cruise ships, size matters

cruise ships sizeRoyal Caribbean just keeps on making big news with big ships in a big way. The line released video this week of new Allure of the Seas meeting up with nearly-twin ship Oasis of the Seas for a late night rendezvous.

In a ceremonious way, the ships sailed side by side and small crafts were launched from each to meet between the two. An exchange of gifts ceremony of sorts was conducted including posters signed by the officers of both ships, delivered by Adam Goldstein, Royal Caribbean’s President and CEO.

Both Oasis-class ships are rated as the same size, a whopping 220,000 tons carrying 5,400 guests at double occupancy. Allure has some cosmetic differences and is a wee bit longer. Her captain knows it and takes full advantage of his bragging rights.

Just five centimeters difference in length is all but Captain Zini of Allure did not hesitate to send along an over-sized measuring tape when company officials met mid-ocean. So yes, when it comes to cruise ships, size definitely matters.

One has to wonder how this exchange would have played out had the new ships been commanded by women captains.

Allure of the Seas hosts 5K run on St Maarten

Focusing on a healthy lifestyle is nothing new for Royal Caribbean. Their ships have world-class rock climbing walls, ice skating rinks, full-size basketball courts and more. This week the spotlight turns to running and active lifestyle activities as guests aboard new Allure of the Seas are invited to participate in the line’s first “Royal 5K St Maarten run”.

New Allure of the Seas will be making a vitality-themed swing through the islands this week on a 7-night sailing encouraging 500 passengers to get off the ship and run in different events as the cruise progresses.

On the starting blocks Monday, is a Fun Run on the Bahama island of Nassau featuring breathtaking views of Paradise Island.

As the week continues there will be a one-mile race on Allure’s .46 mile running track where participants will attempt to set record time for a mile at sea. On-board seminars with top-shelf icons of the running world will be part of it all featuring Frank Shorter, 1972 Olympic silver medalist.

“I know from past experience how much fun it is to combine a cruise vacation with my passion for running,” said Shorter.

Other elite athletes along for the sailing include Sean Jefferson, six-time All-American track star at Indiana University, Bart Yasso, America’s “Mayor of Running” and others.

The event culminates with a 5K run on St Maarten Thursday and all of it will be aired on ESPN’s Caribbean network January14th and on ESPN2 January 15th. Commentators for the Royal 5K St. Maarten show are Joanna “Jo” Ankier, a former British record-holder and Annette Raveneau, a reporter and producer for Univision Network and Entravision Communications.

Talk about some different scenery for your run, this beats a treadmill at the gym any day.

Flickr photo by 666ismoney

Cruise lines focus on the arts

cruise line artsIt’s often a little-noticed detail on board today’s cruise liners: the artwork that adorns everything from stateroom walls to stairways. While passengers do everything from climb a rock wall to just enjoy a day at sea with a good book, all around them is art that has been carefully selected to create a theme or set the mood of a ship.

New Allure of the Seas stirs up quite the buzz on everything from the ship’s sheer size to the tiny details that go into much of what they do. Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, a classic ocean liner with an elegant air, boasts the work of top-shelf artists from around the world. Carnival Cruise Line pays diligent attention to a theme for each ship that separates one from another in their fleet.

What was once simply a way to make a ship look less like a ship and more like a hotel has become a central focus of cruise lines that invest heavily in the arts.

Royal Caribbean’s new Allure of the Seas is one of those ships that has a central theme carried throughout. On Allure its all about “Wonders of our World Cultures” with artwork depicting scenes from all over the planet.

The artwork onboard Allure of the Seas, over 9800 pieces in all, has been created by artists from over twenty different countries such as Norway, Korea, Germany, South Africa, the Netherlands, Iceland, Spain, Colombia, Thailand and the United States. The diversity in artist nationalities in itself adds to the colorful and sophisticated aspect of the curatorial vision of Wonder of our World Cultures.

With pop-artist icon Peter Max along for the ride on inaugural sailings and an on-board Britto store with works from Romero Britto, Royal Caribbean is serious about what they do with art at sea. Sister line Celebrity Cruises has a similar focus on the arts, announcing recently some new additions to onboard programming on new additions to their Solstice-class ships. On those new-builds, the line will offer hands-on instruction from experts in drawing, painting and beading, as well as the art of food with culinary-themed classes.%Gallery-109473%

World’s largest cruise ship to feature Samba Grill

The Allure of the Seas will debut a new specialty restaurant for Royal Caribbean International, the Samba Grill, a South America-style churrascaria.

The grill is one of the few unique features that will distinguish the 5,400-passenger Allure from its sister ship, the Oasis of the Seas, when she debuts in November The Solarium Bistro, situated in the ship’s adults-only Solarium, will be transformed into Samba Grill by night, with waiters will wear gaucho costumes and serve grilled meat from skewers. By day it will serve healthy fare for breakfast and lunch.

On the Oasis, the Solarium Bistro serves healthy fare for all three meals, adding a dinner and dancing under the stars ambience at night for a $20 surcharge. Samba Grill will carry a $25 cover charge for the entire menu. It will also offer a $15 vegetarian option offering an extensive salad bar.

Norwegian Cruise Line also introduced a churrascaria on its newest ship earlier this summer; the Norwegian Epic debuted the Moderno Churrascaria.