June 20, 2008 It’s destined to be the world’s largest cruise ship – when launched next year, Royal Caribbean’s US$1.24 billion Project Genesis will be 1,180 feet long, and carry 5400 passengers (6,400 at a pinch). It’s the most expensive ship in history, and it’s longer, wider and taller than the largest ocean liner ever built, (Cunard’s QM II), 43 per cent larger in size than the world’s largest cruise ship, (Freedom of the Seas) and remarkably, bigger than any military ship ever built, aircraft carriers included. In a world where choice of amenities count, Project Genesis has yet anothert trump card – in the the center of the ship is a lush, tropical park which opens to the sky.
We like the idea of living in the same space and changing the scenery outside, be it permanently (residential cruise ships or air vehicles) or part-time (cruise ships). Cruise ships are a relatively new phenomenon, born from reinventing many of the passenger liners made redundant by affordable air travel. Beginning with refitted ocean liners, cruise ships quickly evolved into purpose-built five star hotels, and then being the biggest meant having the most on-board amenities.
With its intention of taking the best of the land to sea the aptly-named Central Park spans the length of a football field. The aim is to make the park a public gathering place like a town’s central park, with pathways, seasonal flower gardens and a canopy of trees. Aiming to give the ship a number of distinct districts, the Central park neighborhood is one of seven neighborhoods to be unveiled on Project Genesis. Each neighborhood will provide vacationers with the opportunity to seek out relevant experiences based on their personal style, preference or mood.
Central Park’s central piazza will be the ship’s “town square” which will evolve from a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere during the day to a gathering space for alfresco dining and entertainment in the evening, where guests will enjoy concerts and street performances. The neighborhood is lined with balcony staterooms rising six decks high with views of the Park below and the sky above.
Surrounding this social space will be an array of restaurants, with choices ranging from fine dining to casual chic. Guests will have the option of an elegant dinner at the new 150 Central Park or a picnic lunch from the more casual Central Park Café, where they can sit outdoors and people-watch. Other dining choices will include: Giovanni’s Table, an Italian restaurant; Vintages wine bar; and Royal Caribbean’s signature Chops Grille steakhouse. Several bars will be scattered throughout the Park, including the Canopy Bar, located at one of two impressive glass-domed canopies, and the unique Rising Tide bar - the first moving bar at sea.
Truly an engineering feat, Rising Tide will span three decks and allow cruisers to enjoy a cocktail as they slowly ascend into Central Park and then descend back into the public spaces below.
“Our brand identity is founded in innovation and on delivering the best cruise vacation through ‘WOW’ experiences,” stated Adam Goldstein, President & CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Central Park is a true evolution of cruise ship design and allows us to provide our guests with not only a more varied selection of balcony accommodations, but also a stunning public venue that will be a central element of the ship, both during the day and at night.”