It’s hard to get a ticket for the world’s largest cruise ship’s maiden voyage. Isn’t this just Disney on the sea?

▲Royal cruise ship Lusitania. Picture from: wikipedia

Huge chimneys, bright sunshine, and the sailing cruise ship present an impressive sight. British cruise line Cunard's RMS Lusitania is equipped with a new engine different from its rivals and will break the record for the fastest transoceanic voyage not once, but twice.

This sentiment was written by a reporter in September 1907 to record the world's largest ocean liner as it embarked on its first transatlantic voyage with 3,000 people on board.

117 years later, the Icon of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world today, embarked on its maiden voyage from Miami, the cruise capital of the world. At this time, the number of passengers on the ship was three times that of the year.

This is the 27th large-scale cruise ship under the international cruise company Royal Caribbean. This departure has as iconic a meaning as the name of the cruise ship:
– The largest tonnage cruise ship, breaking the 12-year-old world record of the “Oasis Series” cruise ships
– Royal Caribbean’s first LNG (liquefied natural gas)-powered ship, although environmentalists have mixed reviews about it
– Featuring the largest water park, water slides and waterfalls at sea
– The largest pool bar
– Largest number of room categories

▲ Icon of the Seas. Picture from: Shipspotting.com

If you stand on the bottom of the Ocean Marker, you can not only see with your own eyes the majesty of man-made manufacturing achievements, but also feel your own insignificance under the pressure of the giant.

Giant cruise ship? No, it's a floating city

This is a "maritime palace" that took 7 years of conception and more than 900 days of design and construction. It is also a "mobile city" that embodies the world's top shipbuilding technology.

Big is the most striking feature of the Ocean Mark. But what exactly is Dacheng like? Why is it said to be the largest cruise ship in the world? When we observe from different dimensions, we will have a more intuitive feeling.

First of all, let’s bring up the Titanic. In addition to leaving a mark on film and television, it has also become a commonly used standard unit in comparisons of giant objects.

The Ocean Marker is like the big brother of the Titanic, two times bigger.

▲ The picture is a comparison diagram. The ocean mark is actually larger than the ship behind: xxx

Coming to the side, the Ocean Mark has also grown by nearly 100 meters, and the total length of the hull has reached 365 meters, which can roughly cover four football fields. It takes about 15 minutes to walk from the bow to the stern.

Although the official height information of the Ocean Mark has not been clearly given, it can be inferred from the number of 20 decks that the actual height is about 80 meters.

▲Ocean Marks vs Titanic. Picture from: rollingsteel

Gross tonnage is a measure of cruise ship size and stability. The Titanic, which was not fully filmed in the 3-hour movie, was only 1/5 of the tonnage of the Ocean Mark.

At the same time, at 250,000 tons, it also broke the world record for the largest cruise ship set by Royal Caribbean's "Oasis Series" 12 years ago and continues to this day; to be more exaggerated, it is larger than the world's largest aircraft carrier "Ford" More than twice as much.

Large tonnage means more space for activities and the number of passengers. The number of cabins on the Ocean Mark is 2,805. According to the "Forbidden City Room Counting Method", it would take seven and a half years to sleep in all the rooms if you sleep one per day.

▲ The perfect family villa, the top room type on the Mark of the Seas

The official full capacity of the ship is 9,950 people, including 7,600 tourists and 2,350 crew members; however, the passenger capacity of 5,610 based on double occupancy is smaller than the 5,734 of the Miracle of the Seas (formerly the largest cruise ship in the world). This news On the other hand, Mark of the Seas has more space per person and a more comfortable cruise experience:

1 large water park, 1 ice rink, 1 theater, 6 water slides, 7 swimming pools, 40 restaurants and bars

This is the most eye-catching entertainment group on the ship, and it also accounts for the largest proportion of the ticket price ranging from RMB 10,000 to RMB 500,000.

Playgrounds, CBD, you name it, it has it all

"Icon of the Seas" will surely become a new benchmark for international cruise vacation experiences.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley was unstinting in his evaluation of the Mark of the Seas. Of course, when the product cost reaches US$2 billion (approximately RMB 14.3 billion), there is no need for humility.

Letting tourists enjoy the journey as much as possible and making the cost visible and tangible are the core tasks of cruise entertainment.

Jay Schneider, Chief Information Officer of Royal Caribbean, believes that they are a brand that "has both movement and stillness." With this design concept in mind, the entertainment space of the Mark of the Seas has formed eight major themes that combine both movement and stillness.

Adrenaline can't stop

Thrill Island is the water park of Ocean Sign. Visitors can experience almost all water entertainment activities in the park. The six slides and six ways to play have also broken six records.

Among them, the green whirlpool (Storm Surge) is the largest rapids device on the sea, with a boat that can accommodate 4 people; the blue rush (Storm Chasers) is the first two-person racing slide on the sea.

In order to provide a more exciting play experience, the designers also replaced the turning points of the three slides near the edge of the hull with acrylic transparent materials, maximizing the thrill when tourists pass by at high speeds.

Schneider explained that this design can make tourists scream to the maximum extent: "When passing through the transparent part of the slide, the pleasure is maximized."

Another high-altitude sport, although it has little to do with water, is no less exciting than the former: Crown's Edge, a walk at an altitude of 47 meters above the sea.

Facing the bottomless and vast seascape, the protection of the rope does not seem to be able to suppress the soaring hormones. At this time, looking at the Ocean Sign from a panoramic perspective, the tourist standing on it must be the most conspicuous one on the ship, because this project is arranged right in front of the cruise ship's big logo.

Travel needs to slow down

Compared with the previous thrills, the Chill Island Sea of ​​Clouds section will be slightly quieter, and most of the swimming pools on the ship are concentrated in this area.

▲ Leisure area. Picture from: CBS 58

Royal Caribbean's first floating pool bar, Swim & Tonic, is the liveliest place on the deck. Bartenders and resident DJs will add to the atmosphere at the pool bar.

The Royal Bay Pool next to the bar is the largest swimming pool on the cruise ship. It contains more than 40,000 gallons of water and is equipped with underwater lounge chairs and a high-altitude circular pool. Sitting on it, you can enjoy the entire space. The best view in the area.

At the top of the leisure area is The Hideaway, a skyline 41 meters above sea level. This is the best viewing platform for sea views, and the first infinity pool on the sea is located here.

▲The Hideaway. Picture from: Reddit

The infinity pool has been a must-visit spot for travel in recent years, and the Ocean Sign has also incorporated an infinity design – the infinity pool Cove Pool is integrated with the edge of the cruise ship, and the transparent glass also opens up the boundary between the pool and the sea. Whether it’s visual impact or photo sharing, the sense of boundlessness on a cruise ship is like cheating.

From the beginning of its design, Ocean Marker combined elements of beach vacations, resorts and theme parks. Therefore, in addition to the above-mentioned entertainment facilities, Ocean Marker also provides a business center and food court.

Surfside, a fun place, integrates restaurants, bars, carousels, entertainment halls and other places. Everyone from the elderly to children can find their own comfort zone in this area.

At the same time, this area is also the only way for passengers to access their guest rooms after boarding the ship. It also contains the subversive design details of the Ocean Marker.

Reimagined design concept

"An often overlooked but important part of the cruise experience is the boarding process – in the past, cruise ships were designed to make it easier for tourists to go directly to their rooms, by placing the elevator closest to the entrance. However, there were no windows (no view). The journey to the cruise ship (panoramic view) is very much like passing through customs at the airport.”

The unconventional boarding route plan on the Ocean Mark allows passengers to see the entire cruise ship and the sea view along the block as soon as they board the ship. Chief Information Officer Schneider said that this is a design based on the principle of putting passengers first.

This concept began with the early planning of the Mark of the Seas. Royal Caribbean invited previous customers to participate in cruise workshops during the design process. The ship design team will make appropriate adjustments based on their feedback, such as guest room beds and closet quilts. It was relocated to optimize the water views out the window; even the shower stalls had benches and railings added.

We create a vacation where the adventurous, the laid-back and everyone in between can achieve all the possibilities in one place.

At least judging from the current design, zoning, and configuration of the ship, these words from Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley can be regarded as a more pertinent evaluation of the Ocean Mark.

Cruise travel is becoming younger, and the cost-effectiveness that young people value is called ease of use

Since going on sale in October 2022, Mark of the Seas has set a record for the highest single-day bookings and the highest single-week bookings in Royal Caribbean's 53-year history.

The Ocean Mark, which was highly anticipated by the market before it was launched, has lived up to expectations. Many netizens who have boarded the ship have given this ship a lot of praise and cheers, and now it is even hard to get a ticket.

Although the worries about the revival of the cruise industry a few years ago were reasonable, it seems to be a bit unnecessary now. High-ticket and high-cost cruise travel seems to be increasingly favored by tourists, especially young people, because apart from the ticket price, Consumption on a cruise ship is relatively controllable:

Royal Caribbean released a video on the YouTube platform detailing the ticket price. Generally speaking, the ticket generally includes room fees, meal fees during dinner periods, and access to major entertainment facilities.

You can add money to enjoy additional services, but it’s possible if you don’t want to spend extra money. Just be careful not to go to the wrong restaurant and eat on time, and attend activities and watch performances according to the items included in the ticket.

However, tipping is inevitable.

Fares and time costs are still the two major thresholds for cruises to reach the public, but a new type of travel route and even lifestyle have been added to many people’s to-do list.

▲ Overview of marine marking numbers. Picture from: dailymail

The "China Cruise Industry Development Report (2023)" shows that as old ships are phased out, new ships are launched, and new brands enter the industry in 2023, global cruise capacity will continue to grow. According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the number of global cruise passengers is expected to reach 39.5 million by 2027.

Since last year, the development of the Asian cruise market has accelerated, and the scope of routes in Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean and other areas has continued to expand. On New Year's Day this year, the first domestically produced large-scale cruise ship "Aida·Magic City" officially launched its maiden commercial voyage, which also marked that local cruise companies were the first to restart China's international cruise market.

▲ Aida·Modu. Picture from: Global Network

At the same time, foreign-owned cruise ships have successively announced their return to the Chinese market, and the "Spectrum of the Seas" will arrive in Shanghai in April this year, re-adding domestic seaports to international routes.

In the past, cruise ships were mainly slow-paced: staying away from the city and sailing across the ocean; with a classic in hand, hot tea in mouth, the sea breeze blowing on your face, and humming a tune, time slowed down along with the long sea route.

But now, the gradually integrated entertainment projects are making cruise ships younger. Young people seem to have found the optimal solution for traveling on cruise ships:
– Playground, bar street, DJ party, free buffet;
– The scenery is easy to capture, and you can follow the boat throughout the entire journey without any planning.

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