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How Much Is Too Much?

November 9, 2009

As the largest passenger vessel, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, departs Finland and crosses the Atlantic towards it’s new home in Florida, we have to ask ourselves: just how much is too much?

oasis of the seas 2

photo via flickr user ereine

At about 220,000 gross tons (versus the Titanic at 46,000 gross tons) it has 16 decks, can accomodate 6,300 guests and features: a bar that can move between three floors in just 11 minutes, a zip line, casino, mini golf course, volleyball court, basketball court, theme park (seriously), 4 swimming pools, an ice rink, two rock-climbing walls, a tattoo parlor, a 750-seat outdoor amphitheater, an area for computer gaming, a carousel, not to mention the multitude of boutiques, spas, restaurants, cafes and bars.

I guess there is no limit to the Royal Caribbean’s motto of “the nation of why not?” I mean, why not do everything you can do on land while floating around the Caribbean? I can think of a few reasons. . .

The monstrous floating city is so big, in fact, that it has to be broken up into 7 different ‘neighborhoods’. One, called Central Park, is the “first living park at sea” with a variety of plants, flower beds and a whooping 56 trees.

oasis of the seas central park

Design for 'central park' image via Royal Caribbean

Do you think those 56 trees can offset all the carbon emissions from the ship? Hmmm. So big, that even though you’re on a ship in the middle of the ocean, you can feel like you’re in the park in the middle of New York City. Why again, would you spend the money to glide around the Caribbean if all you want is to sit in cafes, go to the park, and play a game of basketball?

And then, the name. Oasis of the Seas? Well, the word ‘oasis’ in itself means a fertile area in a generally arid region, or, something that provides relief or a pleasant contrast. Is that what this is all about? Having the power to overcome nature? Swimming in fresh water pools in the middle of the salty ocean? Rock climbing at sea-level? Why use a word associated with the natural world for the biggest man-made vessel in the world?

And the price? A cool billion euros.

My apologies for ranting first thing on a Monday, but it just seems ridiculous that the novelty of bigger, more luxurious, and more expensive hasn’t worn off yet. Where will it end? Until the biggest ships in the world are run on completely clean fuel without using potable water and without creating waste, ships like the Oasis of the Seas and the soon to follow sister ship, Allure of the Seas, are offering over-the-top luxury at the expense of our environment. And that is something nobody can afford.

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