Set the controls for the heart of fun

//Set the controls for the heart of fun

allurebridge.jpgApologies to anyone on Allure of the Seas who felt a bit of a jolt this morning, but I have been up on the bridge, driving the ship. Whatever led the top men at Royal Caribbean to think I could be trusted with control of their $1.5 billion baby I don’t know. Surely they can’t have been taken in by my self-appointed title?
Captain Hernan Zini was on hand to make sure I didn’t do anything too drastic with his 225,000-ton ship, which is 1,187 feet long and 208 feet wide. If it was possible to take it out of the water and stand it in the City of London it would completely dwarf the Gherkin office block, which is only half the size.
It’s so big that even from the overhanging bridge wing, the captain cannot see the water line when docking the ship, and has to rely instead on the view from CCTV cameras to ensure he doesn’t bash the hull against a quay side.
I was not entrusted with that manoeuvre, and Capt Zini took over the controls in time for a liaison with a helicopter taking publicity video shots a few miles off Miami.
I wasn’t allowed to run the ship at it’s full speed of 23 knots either – that would have required all five engines to be powered up, whereas it can run at a comfortable 15 knots using only two engines.
But it’s amazing to discover that from one high-tech leather chair in the centre of the bridge, and with a tiny joystick at one hand and a tracker ball at the other, it’s possible to control the 135,000 horsepower of Allure’s engines. Each of the four bow thrusters, used only for manoeuvring, is 10 times as powerful as the engine in a Formula One car.
We hardly got above 10 knots this morning; there’s no rush to go anywhere on this pre-inaugural cruise whose passengers are the company’s trade partners in the US, here to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families, and international media, here to work like crazy for three days.
I would have loved to perform an emergency stop, bringing the ship to a halt within four lengths of travel, but that might have spilled even more drinks.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:15+00:00 24 November 2010|Cruise Ships|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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