Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The world's biggest cruise liner is to have a New York-style "Central Park" on the ship, its owners have revealed.
Royal Caribbean is building the 220,000-tonne liner with the working name Project Genesis and the announcement is the latest salvo in the intensely competitive global cruise market.
The company said the park would be "a revolutionary design in which the centre of the ship opens to the sky and features lush, tropical grounds spanning the length of a football field". The 1,180ft long luxury liner is under construction in Finland at a cost of £700 million and dwarfs the current biggest ships - also owned by Royal Caribbean - which are 160,000 tonnes.
The builders said the space will be like a town square for al fresco dining and entertainment.
The park will be located on Deck 8 of the 16 deck ship and open to the sky, with dimensions of 62ft (19m) wide and 328ft (100m) long.
Trees in the park will tower more than two-and-a-half decks tall and the area is to have micro-climate control techniques to make sure the plants thriveRichard Fain, chairman and chief executive of Royal Caribbean, said: "This ship is a quantum leap in architecture and design and will deliver an unparalleled vacation experience to all who sail with us."
Figures from the Passenger Shipping Association predict 1.55 million Britons are expected to take a cruise holiday in 2008 - up from 1.35 million last year.
Royal Caribbean will base one of its current biggest liners, Independence of the Seas, in Southampton from next month for its inaugural season. P&O Cruises has responded with a new ship - the Ventura, which is named in Southampton tonight by Dame Helen Mirren, and Cunard recently launched the Queen Victoria - also based in Southampton.
The recent credit crunch does not seem to be affecting the industry as Royal Caribbean alone is pumping £1.4 billion into two Genesis class liners over the next few years.
When finished, Genesis will be able to carry 5,400 passengers and stood on its stern it would dwarf Britain's tallest building - the 800ft One Canada Square in Canary Wharf.
It will be longer than four football pitches and 40 per cent bigger than the existing biggest liners.
It is scheduled to enter service in autumn 2009 and its home port will be Fort Lauderdale in Florida.