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 Experience Jamaican Culture on Your Cruise

A cruise is perhaps the best way to travel in an area like the Caribbean. Stopping at beautiful islands such as Jamaica or Aruba is a delightful ways to experience new locations and cultures, all while enjoying the comforts of a floating hotel room. Travellers won’t need to unpack daily or rush to make flights and trains, but can instead spend the time between destinations relaxing, enjoying upscale cuisine or having fun! On a cruise to Jamaica, it is important that those on cruise holidays remember to soak in some of the local culture during the time onshore. The island nation boasts friendly locals, delicious authentic cuisine and a rich heritage. Here are some ways to experience the culture of Jamaica on your cruise:

Plan in Advance: Rather than arriving on the shores of Kingston or Montego Bay without any knowledge of the area, spend a little time preparing for what to expect when you arrive. Decide what you want to explore and enjoy, and make a brief itinerary for the highlights you don’t want to miss. This way, you will be sure to get a chance to see the places and sights most important to you.

Savour the Flavour: Jamaicans are proud of the unique and delicious cuisine, so be sure to enjoy it at one of the many authentic restaurants. There are countless dining options, many of which are international fare suitable for tourists. While they are often tasty, try to have at least one meal which offers a more traditional meal. Try the local staple of ackee and salt fish, or perhaps the popular and well known jerk chicken, flavoured with distinct spices. For dessert, have a fresh mango in the summer months, or gnaw on a piece of local sugar cane for a truly unique sweet after your meal. For a local drink, try the Red Stripe Lager or a mixed drink featuring Jamaican rum.

Historical Landmarks: For a chance to better understand the history and heritage of the Jamaican people, a visit to few of the major historical landmarks is a great idea. Depending on where your cruise departs, there are many options to visitors. In Kingston, head to the Bob Marley Museum, 17th century pirate haunt Port Royal, or even the National Gallery of Jamaica. In the popular port of Falmouth, you can can walking tours of the historical districts, better understanding the colonial environment of the island, and admiring the older architecture. While the beaches are a highlight of the island, the colonial heritage is also an important part of what shaped the nation.

Meet the Locals: Whenever possible, brach out and do your best to talk to some of the local Jamaican residents. Not only will it allow you to glimpse into their culture, but it is a great way to realize just how friendly the locals truly are! English is spoken fluently, although some visitors may need to learn to understand the colloquial phrasings used by many. Be sure to introduce yourself to those you meet on your cruise and your time onshore in Jamaica.

Click here for great deals and offers on a Jamaica cruise and cruise deals 2012.

Cruise Ship Holidays

Riding the waves of the recession with Cruise Ship Holidays

Last Minute Caribbean Cruises
Image by SWIMPHOTO

Perhaps it is because we are an island nation that the Brits are obsessed with the sea.  When it comes down to it, anything that involves water and boats seems to fascinate us.  Whether it’s a trip up Windermere on a wet weekend in August, or a relaxing cruise around the eastern Caribbean, you will be certain to find a large proportion of those on-board are the British doing what they do best – messing about in boats.  Thanks to our national obsession the cruise industry is one that has continued to beat the recessionary trend in the last few years and continued to experience growth.  So what is it about a cruise that appeals to so many of us and what are the hottest destinations?

An obsession with foreign parts

Ancestrally a large proportion of the UK’s not-so-distant ancestors came here in boats.  They were the type of people who allegedly wore silly hats with horns and whose idea of sampling the local culture was a bit of pillaging.  This has been shown to be a historically inaccurate version of our Viking relatives, but the fact remains that since the days of our Nordic ancestors, the British have been partial to sailing off into the sunset in search of new lands.  Today, this is generally a trait that appears in the form of a luxury cruise around the Med – around 43% of British cruise customers still favour the Mediterranean cruise over more far flung destinations.  As a nation we seem to be fascinated by other cultures – in the past this fascination included conquering and incorporating them into our own – but it’s still evident today in our desire to see the world, and see as much of it as possible in one go.  One thing you can’t accuse the British of is being disinterested when it comes to foreign parts.

The art of relaxing

Holidays, of course, should be about relaxing as well as exploring.  This is probably where our love of cruising really kicks in.  Organising your average family holiday can be a bit of a nightmare when it comes to combining relaxation with travel.  Travel involves something of a military operation for even small families, and when you are travelling further a-field the problem is magnified.  Keeping everyone entertained, all of the time, can seem impossible on some holidays while getting out and seeing those sights can take most of the ‘me’ out of ‘me-time’.  On a cruise, however, the sights come to you, with a rather attractive frequency.  The beauty of cruising seems to lie in its variety.  Whether it’s the familiar Mediterranean or the more exotic Caribbean, a cruise offers far more variety than two weeks in a single resort.

Truly all inclusive trips

Cruise ship accommodation and facilities have come a long way in the last few years.  At one time a cruise liner was simply a ship containing a small hotel; today floating resorts can seem to have only the vaguest hint of their maritime nature.  Cruise holidays offer the style and luxury of the best boutique hotels with the sense of adventure that comes from sampling the activities on offer, not only on-board but also at a range of resorts and destinations.  If relaxing on white, palm fringed sandy beaches is more your style – that’s included too.  The standards of accommodation are incredibly high and the service on-board is of the same quality.  Cruise ships today are holiday locations in their own right and many people choose them simply for this fact.  The continued success of the cruise industry throughout the recession also is an indication of the true secret attraction of cruising.  Value for money;  the majority of resort hotels can barely compete on the deals on offer through many cruise operators – with the high quality accommodation and service, the huge variety offered by the nature of a cruise and the on-board entertainment facilities.  Cheap Caribbean cruises have always been available, and the often all-inclusive offers have been part of the cruise industries speciality for many years.  While many resorts around the world continue to battle for survival in the tough economic climate, the cruise industry can expect to continue to ride the wave of recession.

It seems to be part of the British make up to feel the urge to hop into a boat and seek out strange lands – cheap Caribbean cruises make the dream a possibility even today, with the cruise industry keen to maintain its position as one of the hottest tourist options going.