Gods Of The Sea

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On these narrow pages we’ve managed to showcase the five biggest cruise ships in the world. Who says we don't have class? Excuse me, stewardess, we're ready for our free peanuts now.

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The idea of cruising the deep blue for kicks germinated in the head of wealthy Scotsman Arthur Andersen back in 1835. In his newspaper, The Scottish Journal, Andersen published an article that, at the time, was outrageous. It talked about sea travel around Scotland and Iceland in winter and the Mediterranean Sea in summer—just for the heck of it. This may seem perfectly normal now but in the 19th century it was an absurd joke—like a vaccine for polio or the notion of not going to a prostitute on a weekly basis. Two years after the publication of this article, Andersen established the Peninsular Steam Navigation Company (which later became P&O). A few years later, he launched two small ships for student trips, which became very popular around the 1860s. Still, travelling on big ships for pleasure remained prohibitively expensive, and was enjoyed solely by rich dudes with bidets in their homes. Fast forward a century or so to the late 1980s and early 1990s, and the cruise industry erupted like a volcano with blue balls. The jumbo jet ended the use of transatlantic ships for normal travel and they once more became a form of exotic transport. Today, the most popular trips are around the Caribbean and the Mediterranean seas. 

Ship Name MSC DIVINA

Operated By MSC Cruises

Passengers 4,345

Length 333 m

Displacement  1,26,462 tons

Cost  $550 million

This ship debuted in May 2012. It resembles a 13-storey building, glides at 23.7 knots (44 kmph) and, while it sails under the Panamanian flag, it is, in fact, Italian. Sporting 18 decks and over 1,600 luxurious cabins, the ship has 17 passenger elevators, which flit between the casino, disco, restaurants, bars, massive 4D cinema, F1 simulator, and the pool on the top deck, which hosts “adults only” parties at night (they’re the ones where you wear a mask and cape and masturbate in a circle, right?). For members of the MSC Yacht Club, i.e. not you, there is a special day spa and private bar. There are 1,370 staff aboard the ship and, if you do happen to be a yacht owner, you could probably pay them all to do a Flash Mob to “Locked Out Of Heaven.” During August, the sailing route is Istanbul-Dubrovnik-Venice-Bari-Katakolon-Izmir-Istanbul. If you’re willing to go during the chilly months, you can hop aboard for around Rs. 38,000.

Ship Name RMS QUEEN MARY 2

Operated By Cunard Lines

Passengers 2,620

Length 345 m

Displacement  1,34,263 tons

Cost $900 million

The improved version of the legendary Queen Mary (circa 1936) held the title of the largest passenger ship in the world from 2003 to 2006 and is the pride of Cunard Lines. Fact: RMS indicates that, in addition to carrying wealthy widows, the ship carries mail on behalf of Royal Mail (RMS stands for Royal Mail Ship). Older passengers might remember that the RMS initials appeared on virtually all British ships from 1840 onward, including the Titanic. Then again, you’d have to be at least 172 years old to know that, so it’s doubtful. Despite its huge dimensions, the Queen Mary sequel is the only ship that is still categorised as an ocean liner. There is 40 percent more steel in its body than a typical cruise ship, in case it has an argument with an underwater mountain or an iceberg. In the hold, four diesel Rolls-Royce engines produce electricity for the propellers. If additional power is needed, two nuclear reactors kick in! The beast can reach a rather aggressive speed of 30 knots (56 kmph), which is much faster than normal, and you’d hate to be on the top deck when it hits that figure.

Ship Name INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS

Operated By Royal Caribbean International

Passengers 4,370

Length 339 m

Displacement 1,39,706 tons

Cost $828 million

Independence of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas are the three flagships of Royal Caribbean International. Built in the Finnish workshops of STX Europe, there is no bigger ship on the seas than these three. (OK, we kind of lied: The Queen Mary 2 is six metres longer and a little wider, but it isn’t as heavy.) On board are a 136-m-long shopping centre, numerous restaurants and cafés, and a water park right at the highest point of the ship. There you can surf on artificial waves or get a blood rush on the water slide, parts of which hang outside the body of the ship. If you aren’t into water adventures, well, why the fuck are you on a giant ship? You can go abseiling on the 17th deck (there are 18 in total) but if height isn’t your thing, you can shoot the hoops on the basketball court or go ice-skating at the rink. If you’re feeling inactive, the TVs in all 1,817 cabins are flat LEDs and the bars and casino are always open. There’s also a WiFi network, so you can visit PornHub in international waters. A six-day Caribbean stint (a cabin with a balcony) is Rs. 40,500—but you’ve gotta embark from Florida. Why wouldn’t you, though?

Ship Name NORWEGIAN EPIC

Operated By Norwegian Cruise Line

Passengers  4,100

Length 329 m

Displacement  1,40,614 tons

Cost $1.2 billion

With 19 decks (and the distinction of each cabin having its own balcony), this floating skyscraper has everything: A water park, shows, children’s playground, cafés galore, nightclubs, even an ice bar called Svedka, with a controlled temperature of – 80 degrees C (what, no strip club?). But all that ship swag isn’t what the Norwegian Epic prides itself on: This is a cruiser for foodies. There are 20 specialty restaurants on board, offering a range of cuisine, from Kobe beef to various molecular experiments to sick sushi. This Norse god of boating tears the waves apart at 22 knots (41 kmph) and is powered by a 1,07,013 horsepower engine. According to the original plans, two identical ships were planned but the building of the second one was cancelled because of a disagreement between the owners, NCL, and the French arm of the ship builders, STX. More drama: Before its maiden voyage, a suspicious fire started on the fourth deck but was quickly brought under control with minimal damage to the ship. The fire raised serious sabotage concerns, because, you know, it’s rather difficult for a fire to just start in a space where there are no sources of heat. Oh, and the fire alarm had been disabled. The incident is still being investigated by the French police. Back to business, the ship’s route is between Italy and Spain, and expect to fork out about Rs. 1,09,000 per oligarch for the primo package.

Ship Name ALLURE OF THE SEAS

Operated By Royal Caribbean International

Passengers 6,296

Length 362 m

Displacement 2,04,117 tons

Cost $1.2 billion

The Allure is longer than aircraft carrier USS Enterprise by 18 m. Our point being, it’s big as shit. The biggest cruise ship in the world is divided into seven sections, and whatever other ships boast of, this ship has double (except shady arson incidents). In fact, it’s so advanced that its funnels retract when going under bridges. To get a vague idea of its immensity, think a real park with real trees, a shopping mall, and 16 decks housing 2,706 cabins and suites (some of which have balconies… on the internal side of the ship). Casino Royale, with a gaming area of 1,680 sq m, will relieve you of your cash in luxury, and there is also a 1,380-seat 3D cinema. Throughout August the ship moves at 42 clicks on a course from Florida to the Caribbean and back. You’ll get change from Rs. 55,000 for a weeklong stay. Put that change on blackjack. Its operator, the Norwegian-American company, Royal Caribbean International, also controls 17 percent of the world cruise market. The mofos are currently building two new ships, under the name of Project Sunshine, which should be ready in 2014-15. Lord knows what wonders they will boast but, according to a rumour we invented, there will be complimentary blowjobs and fruit baskets upon boarding.