The Biggest Ships Ever to Set Sail

When the subject of the big ships is raised it is generally assumed that we are talking about the modern era. Nothing that sailed before the year 1900 came close to rivalling the massive super tankers or warships of the 20th Century.

Which Ship is the Largest?

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Ships are measured in three categories. You can look at the length, the weight, or the displacement, which is the amount of water that a ship has to displace in order to be able to float. Ships also fall into three categories: warships, cargo ships, and passenger ships. All of the top ten longest and heaviest ships ever launched are cargo ships. Topping this list is the Knock Nevis, a super tanker owned by Norway’s Fred Olsen Productions which is 458.5 metres long and displaces 564,763 DWT (dead weight tons).

Rounding Out the Top Ten

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Eight of the remaining top ten longest ships made are super tankers. The only exception in the top ten is the Emma Maersk, a container ship that is 397 metres long. She ranks number four on the overall list. The tenth ranked ships on that list are the Jarmada class super tankers which measure out at 373.5 metres, just 13.5 metres longer than Royal Caribbean’s “Oasis of the Seas” and thirty-one meters longer than the Enterprise Class aircraft carriers in service for the United States Navy.

Largest Warships on the Seas

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Ships of war have been responsible for the testing and implementation of new technology for centuries. The military always seems to get the best of everything before the private sector even knows it exists. The technology needed for GPS navigation and wireless signals has been available far longer than average people have had access to it. Shipbuilding is no different. The top ten largest warships are all aircraft carriers, eight of which are operated by the United States, one by Great Britain, and one by Russia.

Tough Luck for Eleven through Twenty

500w-bismarck

The aircraft carriers in the top ten are all fairly new, but if you go back a little further to the ships ranked eleven through twenty you’ll find an interesting statistic. Of those ten ships, seven of them have been sunk. Two of those are actually rather famous: The Akagi, a Japanese aircraft carrier that was involved in the attack on Pearl Harbour; and the Bismarck, the famous German warship sunk by the British Navy in 1941.

Top Ten Cruise Ships

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The longest cruise ships in the world are the “Oasis of the Seas” (360 metres) and her sister ship the “Allure of the Seas” (launching in 2010).  The “RMS Queen Mary 2” ranks third (345 metres) and Royal Caribbean’s “Freedom of the Seas” and “Liberty of the Seas” (both 339 metres) round out the top five. Numbers six through ten are the “Independence of the Seas” (339 metres), MSC Splendida (333 metres), MSC Fantasia (333 metres), Celebrity Solstice (315 metres) and Celebrity Equinox (315 metres).

Where would the Titanic rank today?

500w-titanic

The Titanic was 268 metres long and was considered unsinkable. Obviously that was not the case. Today’s ships are sturdier and the technology used to navigate them is far better than it was in 1912. The iceberg that was the bane of the Titanic would have been detected with today’s equipment and the accident could have been avoided. All of the larger cruise ships on the water today are equipped with the best tracking and navigation equipment on the market.

A Floating Resort Island on the Sea

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The “Oasis of the Seas” carries over 5000 passengers and houses a shopping mall, a park with over 12,000 plants and trees, and a sports deck with a full basketball court, flow-riders, and an eighteen hole miniature golf course. There are staterooms available that overlook either the park or the ocean and there are Jacuzzis that hang over the side of the ship fifteen decks up. This massive floating city is most likely the most impressive shipbuilding creation yet. Can someone come up with something bigger and better? If they do it may not fit into a harbour or dry dock anywhere. They may have to install helipads to get passengers on and off the ship.

Working on a Cruise Ship

Could Working on a Cruise Ship be Your Travel Dream Job?

Working on a Cruise Ship
Working on a Cruise Ship

If you are dreaming of travelling the world while working at the same time, have you considered looking for employment on a cruise ship?

Imagine waking up each morning in a different beautiful port city as you make your way through tropical islands on peaceful Caribbean cruises! Getting a job on a cruise also means that you will be working with interesting travel-minded and enthusiastic people from all over the world.

There are many different job opportunities on a cruise ship. Food service staff and housekeeping are always needed, but there are also positions for child care providers, tour guides, medical staff, security officers, retail assistants and a lot more. No matter what type of job experience you have, chances are that there will be a position on a cruise ship which would suit you.

One of the other major advantages of working on a cruise ship is also that you can have the potential to save a lot of money. You will be paid a wage, and your accommodation and food will all be free. With no bills or rent to pay, you will save a huge chunk of your earnings which is great if you are planning another big travel trip after your cheap Caribbean cruises adventure.

The Reality

Before you get too excited and think that working on a cruise ship would be 100% amazing all the time, don’t forget that there are some disadvantages as well. First of all, it is very difficult to get a job on a cruise liner and so the job application process will be somewhat of an ordeal. Also, working on a cruise ship can mean that you work long hours, and often work every day of the week.

You will also have to get used to living on the cramped quarters of a ship. You will not have a lot of personal space, and might be sharing a cabin with someone else. If you suffer from seasickness or don’t like sleeping in a room with no windows, you might not be comfortable living on a cruise ship.

How to Get The Job

If you have read through the following section and think, “yeah, I could handle that,” and you want to get started on the path to becoming a cruise ship worker and sailing away on exciting cheap Caribbean cruises, what is the first step in the job search process?

  • First of all, make sure that your CV is current and looks as impressive as possible. Include any relevant experience and training for the position you are applying for. Write a well crafted cover letter which highlights the reasons why you are a great candidate for the position.
  • Always target your CV to a particular position, rather than applying for any position available.
  • If you are not picky about where you travel to, you will have more choice of positions, so apply to everything from cheap Caribbean cruises to luxury Scandinavian cruises and other positions all over the world!
  • If you get an interview with a cruise line, it can be a good idea to do some research on the company in advance so that you appear knowledgeable.
  • If you get the job, you will need to take medical exams, receive a first aid qualification, and obtain any relevant visas for the country you will be working in.

Good luck!

Interested in exploring the many aspects of the Caribbean? Book your cheap Caribbean cruises today!

Constructing a Cruise Liner

It’s difficult to imagine the sheer scale and precision of engineering and fitting a cruise ship. Often with a population of more than many villages, hopefully after reading this, you’ll have a greater appreciation of the skill that goes into building these massive floating hotels.

Cruise Lines
Cruise Lines

Fabrication and Materials

Shipbuilding today has evolved into a high tech science. The techniques and materials that were used in the first half of the last century have become obsolete. Since 1950, ships have been constructed almost exclusively of fabricated steel or, more recently, aluminium alloys. Cruise ships, due to their massive size, have to be constructed in pieces called prefabs and assembled in dry dock before they can be launched and tested at sea.

Assembly of the Hull and Spatial Planning

Once the hull has been welded together and the ship has been evaluated for seaworthiness the fun can begin. The basic structure of a cruise ship is not much different from that of any other seagoing vessel, except the staterooms and corridors tend to be larger and the décor is definitely more lavish. Cruise ship lines are constantly competing about who can put out the largest and most opulent cruise liners.

Designed for Comfort

Is your flat at home equipped with a plush queen sized bed, whirlpool bathtub and flat screen TV? Your cabin on the cruise ship just might be, depending on who you sail with. When a cruise ship is built today no expense is spared. Unlike their predecessors in the days of old when corners were cut and the lowest bid was king, the players in the shipping industry today have learned painfully what happens when they try to save money on construction costs.

Luxuries Abound and Plenty of Places to Play

The creature comforts don’t end when you step out of your room on cruise holidays. Lounges and pools are plentiful on cruise ships, along with bars, restaurants, game rooms, and of course those romantic spots where a couple can be alone and watch the stars and the moonlight glisten off the water. Worried about sea-sickness? Even the queasiest will have a hard time feeling a cruise ship rock at all. Cruise ships are constructed using a “U” shaped hull design for maximum displacement and stability.

Modern Technology, Cell Phones, and WiFi

Just because you go off to sea on a cruise doesn’t mean you have to leave those wonderful electronic gadgets behind. In addition to flat screen TV’s in the cabins, cruise ships today also offer state-of-the-art entertainment and communications options throughout the ship. You can use your cell phone on virtually all major cruise lines and most of the modern day ships have WiFi and internet cafes where you can surf the web or do a little work while you’re on board.

Entertainment

Other amenities that may be included when a cruise ship is constructed are casinos, movie theatres, and amusement rides for children and adults. Anything that you see on dry land in the world of entertainment is usually available at sea also. Some cruises also have live shows and fireworks displays. Modern technology has made that possible. Storing or using pyrotechnics of any kind on a ship was unheard of just a few short decades ago.

Recruiting the Best in the Business

A position on a cruise ship pays well, more than that same position pays on the mainland or even on resort islands. The final stage after constructing a cruise ship is choosing the personnel that are going to staff it. For this, the industry accepts only the very best in the business. It’s not hard to be selective because anyone who works in the hospitality industry wants a dream job that takes them out to sea and pays them twice as much as what they make at home.

Expect to See Former Naval Officers

Those who operate the ship are also among the finest in their industry. Many cruise ship captains and officers are former naval personnel who have retired or completed their term of service. The same is often true of the engineers and maintenance people, many of whom have advanced maritime degrees and education. It is said that a seafarer will always be a seafarer so it’s no surprise to see sailors with decades of experience working for all of the major cruise lines.

What will the future bring?

The cruise ships of today, compared to those built in the 1960’s and 70’s, are like something out of a science fiction novel. The internet didn’t exist back then, nor did cell phones, aluminium alloys, modern pre-fabrication techniques, and many of the other elements that go into building ships today. What will the future bring? Only time will tell. One thing that is clear though is that people will continue to sail the seven seas and cruise ships will allow them to do that in safety, style and comfort.

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About the author: Sarah Van Rensburg is an avid travel writer. She covers a wide range of travel-related topics but with a focus on cruise holidays.

How to Cross the Atlantic in Style

P&O Ventura
P&O Ventura

Sailing across the Atlantic was once the only way Europe could connect with America, and prior to the 19th century sailing ships were used to transport people as well as goods and mail between the two continents. Nowadays there are many different cruise deals avaiable that sailing across the Atlantic has become more affordable as most of these sailings tend to be ‘repositional’ cruises, where the ship is moving between the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. These sailings will often include several stops in places like Madeira and the Canary Islands, as well as a couple of the Caribbean islands,depending on where the ship is coming from and heading to.

The only passenger ship that makes regular crossings is Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, which is one of the most luxurious ocean liners in the world. Launched in January 2004, Queen Mary 2 has been making regular trips between Southampton and New York every year since. She is the largest ocean liner ever built and was designed for the specific purpose of crossing the Atlantic.

Generally the crossing will take around 7 nights and many people choose to have extra days in New York when they arrive if heading westbound, or before they set sail when heading eastbound. There are several different stateroom types to choose from, ranging from well-appointed insides for budget conscious travellers to the budget-busting Grills penthouses and suites. All are stylishly furnished with en-suite bathrooms, and those choosing either a Princess or Queens Grill suite are treated to additional extras which include exclusive access to the Grills Lounge and Grills restaurants.

Daytime activities really vary depending on what you feel like filling your day with, but rest assured there is plenty to keep you entertained. You can choose from enrichment classes, spa treatments, sports tournaments, port talks, pub quizzes, and ‘traditional’ cruise games like bridge and shuffleboard to name but a few.

Cunard’s Insights Programme is hugely popular and gives you the opportunity to meet and hear from guest speakers and experts in a particular field, such as arts and entertainment, science, history and literature. Past guests include actor and comedian John Cleese, motorsport commentator Murray Walker, and singer/songwriter Chris Difford. In addition to this there is also the Cunard Connexions, which give you the chance to learn a new skill or hobby like ballroom dancing or wine tasting, and the RADA Acting Workshops, where you can join several actors from the prestigious acting school who will share some of their training with you.

During the evening there are lots of different bars and lounges to choose from, all offering a wide variety of different entertainment choices from live music and comedians, to cabaret acts and dancing. The on board theatre will have several production shows and musicals throughout the cruise, performed by the ships’ own group of singers, dancers and actors, and the Illuminations theatre shows the only Planetarium show at sea, as well as classic movies and the latest blockbusters.

Crossing the Atlantic by sea may take much longer than flying, but when your surroundings are as luxurious as those found on a cruise ship it is easy to understand why it is still considered as the grandest way to travel.

Inside the Engine Room of Some of the Largest Cruise Ships

The engine rooms of today that are the heart and soul of large cruise ships would be confusing and unrecognisable to the engineers and operators from the past. The big ships are still run on turbine power, but the similarities end there. Steam has been replaced by gas and diesel. The new fuel systems burn cleaner and don’t require the use of oil or coal like the steam engines of the past. Since oil has recently gone up significantly in price this also means the new ships are more economical.

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II

The Conversion of Queen Elizabeth II

The QE2 was launched on September 20, 1967 as a steam powered cruise ship. Twenty years later she was converted to electric diesel to prolong her sea life. The engine room still looks the same as it did before the conversion. Only the fuel system and turbines have changed. With the conversion, QE2 sailed the seas for another twenty-two years. Don’t expect any cruise offers to travel on her this year, though. In 2010 she’ll be converted to a luxury hotel and remain stationary where she is currently docked in Dubai. A high end shopping and entertainment complex will be built around her.

Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)

The Safety of Life at Sea Act was actually passed in the United States back in 1914 in response to the Titanic disaster. In 1948 it was adopted by the International Maritime Organisation and is generally considered the current standard by which ships are measured for safety. The Act has been modified a number of times over the years with the most recent change going into effect in 2010. It is these guidelines that are primarily responsible for the change from steam to gas or electric turbine power. The engine rooms on a steam ship tended to be somewhat less safe than their diesel counterparts.

2003 Boiler Explosion on the SS Norway

SS Norway
SS Norway

The SS Norway was crucial in bringing international attention once again to the dangers of using super-heated steam to power ships. On May 25, 2003, one of the four boilers on the SS Norway exploded while she was docked at the Port of Miami, and luckily no passengers were hurt. The SS Norway was launched in 1962 (originally as the SS France) and was the longest cruise ship in the world (316 metres) until the RMS Queen Mary 2 (345 metres) was launched in 2004. While operating as the SS France she had eight boilers which provided 175,000 hp and gave her a cruising speed of 31 knots.

The Engine Room of the Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2
Queen Mary 2

The Queen Mary 2 runs on four 16-cylinder marine diesel engines and two gas turbines which put out a combined 67,200 kW at 514 rpm. This system is known as CODAG (Combined Diesel and Gas turbine), and has been common in naval vessels for some time. It’s considered the most economical for a ship when travelling at low speeds and has the power to help it attain high speeds quickly. Despite being 345 metres long with a displacement of 76,000 tons she is one of the most manoeuvrable cruise ships on the water today. The technology that went into the construction of the Queen Mary 2 is some of the very best ever used on a cruise ship.

The Power of Oasis of the Seas

Oasis of the Seas
Oasis of the Seas

Oasis of the Seas, at 360 metres long, is the largest cruise ship to ever be launched. Her sister ship, Allure of the Seas will be joining her in 2010, making the Queen Mary 2 the third largest cruise ship in the world. It is powered by six marine diesel engines that put out 97,020 kilowatts (130,110 hp) which is used both to propel the ship and provide electricity to its passengers and entertainment facilities. The Oasis is also the first cruise ship to utilise Azipods instead of long screws with propellers on them. Azipods are propellers mounted to tubes which turn, making rudders unnecessary.

The Future of Cruise Ship Propulsion Systems

When you enter the engine room of one of today’s large cruise ships you’ll be surprised at how clean and advanced they are. The technology that goes into constructing a cruise ship today is like nothing that has ever been used on sea-going vessels before. What comes next? With the current record holder at 360 metres it’s unlikely that the ships will get much bigger. Propulsion systems are more powerful and economical now but there’s no doubt that they can be improved. As the techniques used to build ships and the fuel systems utilized by the rest of the world advance there will unquestionably be changes in the cruise ship industry. The next few decades should be a new “Golden Age” for the 21st Century much like the 20’s and 30’s were in the 20th.

About the author: Sarah Van Rensburg is an avid travel writer. She covers a wide range of travel-related topics but with a focus on cheap cruises.

Cruise Lines Get More Environmentally Friendly for 2012

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

Cruises are more popular than ever and can make for a memorable time. With all the concern about the environment today, many cruise lines are going green and becoming environmentally friendly for their cruises 2012 agenda. That way, eco-friendly customers can rest assured that the cruise line shares their environmental concerns. Here are ways that some cruise lines are not only offering amazing vacations but helping to save the planet, too.

1. Holland America Cruises took the first step in fuel savings by looking at the tides and using them to decrease the usage of fuel. Going against the tides takes more energy so the cruise line arranged the docking schedules to use the tides to the greatest advantage. Another way they save fuel is painting the outside of the ship with a silicone-based paint that decreases drag in the water. To help on cooling costs, they tint the windows to cut out some of the sun’s energy. Taking their eco-friendly attitude one more step meant using towels over again, using natural soap and green cleaners, and having low flow faucets and showerheads.

2. Family friendly Disney Cruise Lines are showing their environmental consciousness by starting a huge recycling program on board their ships. Practically anything that can be recycled is being recycled and that includes metal, cardboard, aluminum, and plastic. Any materials that can be used again are donated to places along their route that are in need. Disney Cruise Lines also uses lighting that saves energy and for onboard laundry, they use water that has been reclaimed from the cooling system. To save fuel, Disney Cruise Lines have taken steps to make their ships lighter.

3. Another cruise line that is going green is Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. They no longer use disposable table ware or plastic water bottles on their ships. To also reduce waste, they order bulk condiments to cut down on extra packaging. They look for ways to offer their guests options for reusing a product or using a biodegradable one. For fuel efficiency, they have modified the design of the hull of the ship, altered their motors, and repainted the ships to decrease drag. To the tune of 100 million dollars, they upgraded the water purification system to an environmentally friendly one.

Now when you go on a fabulous cruise, you don’t have to leave your eco-friendly beliefs at home. Your adventure will be even more enjoyable knowing the cruise ship is reducing its carbon footprint.

Smooth Sailing For The Whole Family

Sailing
Sailing

Holidaying at home has been popular for the last few years as families tighten their belts and try to keep calm and carry on.  However, there are only so many wet weeks in the Lake District or boring boarding houses in Bognor many families can stomach, before the kids start making the most of Legal Aid, while it still exists, and arrange to ‘divorce’ you.  Despite their luxury reputation the cruise industry has found that it is managing to ride the storm of the recession (some puns are irresistible) and cruise holidays are as popular as ever.  Unlike many single location holidays cruises have, in fact, seen continued growth.

A room with quite a lot of views

So why are cruises so popular?  Well, they aren’t usually subject to volcanic ash cloud disruption, although that is probably a minor consideration.  The first reason that cruises remain popular is that they offer excellent value for money compared to other resort deals; to beat off the effects of the global recession cheap cruise deals have become more common than ever.  Most resort hotels have everything you could want; shops, bars, restaurants; entertainment; childcare and the same old view day in day out.  This is the first plus for your average cruise – don’t expect to get used to that view from your hotel room because it will change by the hour.  It’s also extremely unlikely with a cruise that your room will overlook a half-finished hotel.  Many land based resorts have found themselves wrecked on the rubble of economic downturn, slowly gathering dust and weeds.  While your first night on board may feature a view of the Southampton dockside, you can be pretty certain your second won’t – even on a budget cruise.

Choice destinations

When it comes to organising family holidays at a resort you have to take into account the age ranges and tastes or needs of the whole group.  Juggling between Grandma’s intolerance to Spain (in general) and the twins new found vegetarian principles can leave you with the feeling that you’d like to send them off to the opposite ends of the earth on more than just a holiday.  The favourite British cruise destination is still the Mediterranean (43% of us pick it over other destinations) and it’s easy to understand why.  Why pick between France and Spain, when you can have them both – with Italy, Greece, Turkey and Egypt thrown in.  Certainly it seems to be the variety that the cruise can offer that appeals to so many people.  The Mediterranean offers such a wealth of history and different cultures that even a short cruise around some of its shores has more to offer than you might think. Add to this the consistency and quality of the service on board, and you have a recipe for success.

Taking the planning out of planning

When it comes to individual requirements a cruise, again, can beat many other types of holiday.  Having all the advantages and facilities of most resort hotels – often more – you can also have the comfort of eating in at familiar restaurants whether you are moored off Morocco or going ashore in Athens.  Organising a trip on this grand scale could be a nightmare, but the single base that your ship offers tends to take the ‘planning’ out of ‘planning’, which when it comes down to it, is really what holidays should be all about!

Mediterranean cruises can offer a little of something for everyone – ensuring that everyone has the chance to relax and nobody but the childcare assistant is left holding the baby.  For variety, choice and quality of experience a Mediterranean cruise can offer the best of all worlds.

3 Top Summer Cruises for 2011

Summer Cruise
Summer Cruise

What are your plans for this summer? Is it to stay home and bake in the hot sun as you do every summer? Is it to travel to see family, which you have likely done on too many occasions? Or is it to do something special? If you’re an adventurer who likes to make the most out of life and you fall into the latter category, the best option for you is a summer cruises deal. This is an event you will remember for a lifetime, especially if it’s the right cruise. Three of the highest rated summer cruises are covered below.

The first great summer cruise to consider is Fjords – Newcastle to Leith. This is a 5-night cruise on the Ocean Countess by Cruise and Maritime. Ports of call include Newcastle, Hellesylt, Geiranger, Bergen, Kirkwall, and Leith. There is an excellent chance that at least one of these ports of call sound interesting to you. If that’s not the case, then you’re in for a pleasant surprise. If you’re more into staying on board, you will have plenty to do. Amenities include a casino, a fitness center, a pool, several Jacuzzis, and did we happen to mention a casino? The best part about this summer cruise is that it’s affordable, especially if you book it online.

How about a summer cruise with the title of ‘Holland, France & Spain from So’ton’? That should pique your interest right away. When else will you have an opportunity to see so many amazing places within only 8 days? Ports of call include Amsterdam, Southampton, La Rochelle, Bilbao, La Coruna, and Cherborg. There are also free excursions offered in Balbao and La Caruna. On the MSC Opera, by MSC Cruises, you will find pools, on-deck activities, a gym, a sauna, a library, a game room, a midnight buffet, and the list goes on and on. If you’re traveling with family or a large group, strongly consider reserving the Family Oceanview Stateroom, which is magnificent.

If you would like to take a summer cruise with the family and you want everyone to be happy at all times, consider travel on the Norweigan Jade by Norwegian Cruise Lines. This ship will take you the Easter Mediterranean, the Adriatic, Greece, and Turkey – all within 6 days. More importantly for the kids, there is a Splashdown Kids Club. Add that to a pool and sports courts and they will never get bored. Considering the nighttime entertainment here has won several awards, you won’t get bored, either. 24-hour room service is available and there is also a fitness center. Enjoy.

The Top 5 Largest Cruise Liners – And Their Best Features!

Oasis Of The Seas

In a world where bigger is always better, aside from skyscrapers and some bridges, some of the biggest things that you are likely to see (if you live by the coast) are massive cruise liners that you can see miles off the coast.

Now while most of these ships are huge, there are a couple that dwarf the rest and are virtually floating cities that can hold as many as 6,000 passengers at one time.

I thought it would be a great idea to highlight the biggest cruise ships, who owns them, and a quick rundown of their best (and most impressive) features.

Who Is Behind The Largest Cruise Liners?

Before we get into the huge numbers and impressive features, I think it is important to mention that all 5 of the largest cruise ships are owned and run by just one cruise company – Royal Caribbean International.

With 42 ships in their fleet and over 25% share of the cruise market, Royal Carribean is definitely one of the major players in the industry – and having the 5 largest ships is just icing on the cake for this global cruise juggernaut.

  1. MS Allure of the Seas

    Holding the title of the worlds largest passenger liner, the Allure of the sea was created to be identical to it’s ‘sister ship’ the Oasis of the Seas, but is actually 2 inches longer.

    At 360 meters long and weighing over 200,000 tonnes, this ship definitely creates a feeling of awe when pulling into a dock.

    Interesting Facts:
    The Allure of the sea is the first cruise line to haves its own Starbucks, as well as being guest to Taylor Swift, for the first concert of her Speak Now World Tour.

  2. MS Oasis of the Seas

    Being the sister ship of the Allure, we already know the key stats for this ship. So let’s just straight to the interesting facts.

    Home to a full mini golf course, multiple night clubs and five swimming pools, there is plenty of things to entertain every member of the family.

    Now home to The Dreamworks Experience, this Oasis now has 3D movies, ice shows and water shows with some of your favourite Dreamworks characters.

  3. MS Freedom of the Seas

    The MS Freedom of the Seas, shares 3rd place with both the Liberty and Independence below – as they are all part of the ‘Freedom Class’ of ships based on the same frame.

    Being able to to house 3,600 passengers and 1,300 crew at capacity, the freedom class ships are not exactly dwarfed by it’s larger cousins.

    Interesting Facts:
    Complete with water park and 11 path rock climbing wall, the Freedom would satisfy the most active of cruisers.

  4. MS Liberty of the Seas

    The Freedom, Liberty and Independence are basically the same ship, so the features are practically the same on each ship.

    Equiped with a nice skating rink, boxing ring and full sized sports courts there is defintely plenty to do on the Liberty.

  5. MS Independence Of The Seas

    The MS Independence wraps up the top 5 largest cruise liners, with it’s gross tonnage of 160,000 tonnes and 339 meters of length – it is no baby.

    Cruising through a range of destinations in Europe and the Caribbean, be sure to check out their Casino, Shops and cantilevered whirlpool.

Kenneth Beckham is a cruise fanatic, he loves finding packaged cruises with airfares included as it allows him to see the world from two very different perspectives – one from a birds eye view and the other sailing the high seas.

Italy: The Gateway to the Mediterranean World

Florida Cruises
Florida Cruises

If you envision a cruise in the Mediterranean, then Italy is sure to come to mind. Italy exists in the heart of the Mediterranean, and the country’s boot like shape could be an advertisement for the millions of people who step onto the cruise ships there each year. Its prime location makes Italy a great launching pad for a holiday. It is the gateway to the Mediterranean word. Italian cruises offer trips around the ports of Italy, as well as to islands like Corsica, Malta and Sardina. However, if you are in the mood for adventure and distant shores, then there are a variety of different destinations to choose from. The majority of cruises depart out of the port of Civitavecchia, which is about 70 km outside of Rome, but their final destinations vary considerably. From Morocco and northern Africa to Turkey and Greece, the cruise ships take advantage of the fact that the Mediterranean is a vast and expansive waterway and the link between different countries and continents. Whether you set off for foreign countries or cruise around the ports of Italy, the Mediterranean Sea will be crystal blue and the sunshine twinkling like a glass of Pinot Grigio.

The most difficult aspect of planning an Italian cruise is deciding where to go. If you have never been to Italy before, then exploring its coastal towns and ports is a good place to start. The Italian Riviera, otherwise known as the Lugurian Riviera, stretches from the Cote d’ Azur region of France to Capo Corvo. The city of Genoa is the focal point of the Italian Riviera, and many cruise lines operate out of this old fishing port. The Italian Riviera is different than the French Riviera. It is charming and rustic. Its hillside villages lack the glamour and polish of places like Cannes and Monaco. The sheer cliffs and sandy beaches are captivating, and you feel like you are lost in time and a million miles away from the clamour of Rome or Florence. Portofino, Lerici and Cinque Terre are some of the most popular destinations on the Italian Riviera.

After exploring the Italian Riviera the cruise ship heads south. Naples, Palermo and Sicily are all high-trafficked ports of call. However, the culmination and grand finale of any round trip cruise of Italy is Venice, and it only makes sense, as this enchanting city with the Grand Canal and 100 islands was once the Mediterranean’s most formidable shipping power. The vast wealth and cultural riches of its empire is seen today in the form of majestically faded palazzos, ornate churches, palaces and bridges. The tangled waterways and narrow canals are best navigated by gondolas or vaporettis.

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