When it comes to ships,
who can tell what the future has in store? During the last two decades
of the 20th century, we saw cruise ships developing at a rapid
pace. In 1997, the Queen
Elizabeth was finally surpassed as the largest passenger ship ever,
with the arrival of Carnival’s Destiny. The future will undoubtedly
bring more fantastic ships, but there are a few projects on the drawing
boards that perhaps should not be labelled ‘ships’, but ‘floating cities’.
arrival of Carnival’s 101,000 gross ton Destiny in 1997 marked a
very special event. Not only was she the first passenger ship to exceed
100,000 tons, but this was also the first time that a cruise ship surpassed
the liners of old in size. Since the Destiny, more giant cruise
ships have entered service, the 109,000-ton Grand Princess and,
of course, the 137,000-ton Voyager of the Seas. One might ask oneself
where this will end, if it ever will. Some ship experts and historians
believes that the great era of the ocean liner may just have begun, instead
of ended 40 years ago with the advent of the long distance airliner.
ships today are not what ships were in the old days when the North Atlantic
was the arena of fierce competition. No longer
are they used to transport emigrants
to new countries, and no longer are they used as mere means of transportation.
Nowadays, the ship is many times a destination in itself, offering large
shopping streaks and glittering, Las Vegas-inspired shows, while cruising
in warm waters and making stopovers at paradise islands. The modern ocean
traveller is in search of one thing: recreation. And the cruise ship companies
are building ships to give them just that.
|The vision of the America
World City, with its three giant towers.
might see giant ocean-going vessels unlike anything the world has seen
so far. There are people who are dreaming of massive floating cities that
will dwarf even the Voyager of the Seas.
Kloster, the man who in 1979 bought the derelict superliner France
and turned her into the world’s largest cruise ship, is now dreaming of
a new ship; the America World City. This ship would be more than
twice the size of Grand Princess by measuring some 250,000 gross
tons. At 1,250 feet in length and nearly 300 feet wide she would surely
be an impressing sight.
city, with three giant towers placed upon a massive hull, the America
World City would offer her passengers amenities such as a 2,000-seat
theatre, a 100,000-book library, an art gallery, a 2,800 hotel room capacity
and a complete American main street, filled to the brim with shops and
boutiques. Furthermore, the ship will offer 100,000 square feet of dedicated
meeting and conference space and a stock brokerage office for business.
World City is intended as the first of three such ships, which will
all sail in US territorial waters. One on the west coast, one on the east
coast and one in Hawaiian waters. Drawing just approximately 33 feet of
water, the ships will be able to visit
most major ports. But
where such visits is impossible, her passengers will be carried ashore
by her four 400-seat day cruisers. These will be located in the stern part
of the hull, which will contain a complete marina within its closed doors.
|The enormous Freedom.
The QE2 is in the lower left corner for comparison.
dream indeed, but no matter how impressive 250,000 gross tons may sound,
it is not much compared to Norman L. Nixon’s project – the Freedom.
With a length of 4,320 feet, a beam of 725 feet and a height of 340 feet,
such a ship would probably be the longest that will ever be constructed.
Displacing 2,700,000 tons of water – compared to the largest tankers of
today which displaces some 500,000 tons – this would probably be the ultimate
is if this is at all to be called a ship, as much as a giant floating real
estate. According to Nixon, Freedom will be large enough to bring
on more than 50,000 residents, 15,000 employees, 20,000 day guests and
still have four times as much roaming-around square footage per person
as the most modern cruise liners. The size of the Freedom will be
so large that it will have to be built in sections, which will then be assembled at sea.
Naturally, no port will be able to handle such a creation. This is no problem,
as the top of the ship houses a complete airstrip, capable of handling
private jets and smaller commercial planes.
will indeed be a community on its own. Because of its vast size, she will
be equipped with her own railway system.
All that is needed for a year-round
stay will be there, from movie theatres and a stock exchange to grocery
stores and educational facilities.
|An aerial view of the
Freedom. The QE2 is on the starboard side.
of her size, the Freedom will not resemble any ship ever built.
Unlike the America World City, the Freedom will
not have a traditional hull. Instead, the base of the ship will consist
of over 600 individual air tight cells. These cells will be the foundation
of the rest of the ship, which is more or less just an enormous superstructure
with an airport on top. As with the America World City, there will
be a marina at the stern, making it possible for the wealthy residents
to do daily excursions from the Freedom with their own private yachts.
plans will ever come to fruition is of course impossible to say. Those
who were sceptical when Kloster announced the America World City
are probably laughing at Nixon and his dream of the Freedom. It’s
true that these projects – especially the Freedom – might seem as
crazy dreams that will never come to be. But no one can tell. The history
of shipping has presented surprises in the past, and it is not at all unlikely
that a few more will come in the following years.
back in time, one finds examples of men who were laughed at when they tried
to make their dreams come true. Take Isambard Kingdom Brunel for example.
Not many believed in him when he constructed his 18,000-ton Great Eastern
– a veritable mammoth in her days. When Knut Kloster turned the France
into the Norway, most people thought that it would be financial
suicide. So, all we can do is wait and see what the future has in store.
Perhaps there will come a time when the America World City is thought
of as a small ship…