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Cruising Toward the Future: The last time I gave any serious thought to cruise ships was because I was listening to the collaborative musical efforts of Young Thug and Future on a song by that name. That is until this past week when I came across a Wired UK story by Oliver Franklin-Wallis that tracks the epic creation story of Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas, which is now the world’s largest passenger ship to ever set sail. The 362-meter vessel includes "more than 40 restaurants and bars; 23 pools, jacuzzis and water slides; two West End-sized theatres; an ice rink; a surf simulator; two climbing walls; a zip line; a fairground carousel..." and so, so much more. Oh, how far we've come since the days of schooners, skiffs, and sail.
I've partaken in one cruise during my lifetime, almost 15 years ago. Back then, I was a young fresh-faced chap of 11 with an eye for adventure. The trip to Bermuda was carried out with one of the "C" named cruise-line entities, Celebrity or Carnival or something. My only real memories of the journey are: the cramped cabins, cheap attempts at pseudo-luxury, watching Ben Affleck's infamous romp as Daredevil (Not a recommended pick), and getting a card that let me consume unlimited amounts of soda and indulge in one aspect of the pure excess involved in taking a massive collection of tourists to invade a tiny island.
Basically, all the essential elements of a cruise were included, and, in my view, they were not to be sought again. However, Franklin-Willis' sharp, well-crafted journey through meta-modern cruise-liner luxury forced me to reconsider my beliefs like an atheist confronted by the face of God. The innovation, thought, and design that has brought this industry from the staid drapery of the late '90s into a simulacrum of futurist urban planning is undeniably appealing, even to a skeptic. Read this piece and you too will be mesmerized by the engineering magic utilized to create these unquestionably fantastic, and perhaps overwrought, marvels of modern ingenuity.