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Why the Newest Cruise Ship's Flashiest Amenity Isn't Everything It Promises

August 14, 2014 at 4:49 PM | by | Comment (1)

Ice-skating rinks. Rock-climbing walls. Planetariums. Mini golf courses. If it seems like cruise ships have it all, that's because they must cater to the whims of thousands of travelers with differing interests, all with the single goal of a good time.

Starting this November, that good time will be enhanced by yet another cruise line first, as Royal Caribbean debuts the 4,900-passenger Quantum of the Seas and her extendable arm viewing capsule, the "North Star." This contraption, which lifts passengers up and over the ship for a 360-degree view, would be a lovely little mid-ocean joyride, if only the key promotional rendering wasn't so misleading.

Above, you see a drawing of what the North Star experience should be, for those who pay an additional fee for the ride. Here's why that definitely won't be happening:

· Misleading location
The Quantum of the Seas will dock in Bayonne, New Jersey. Royal Caribbean ships have been docking here for a few years now, and the Quantum may even be too large a ship to fit in the centrally located docks up the Hudson River, on the west side of Manhattan. The fact the ship will not be traveling up the Hudson means it will not pass by the Statue of Liberty.

The Bayonne dock is further out in New York harbor, and although the ship will be near enough for zoom photos of Lady Liberty, it won't at all have the proximity advertised in the North Star image.

· Misleading availability
The North Star will most likely be unavailable while the ship is at port, when passengers could most benefit from the 360-degree views. You see, the Quantum will spend her inaugural season based in New Jersey, sailing back and forth from New York Harbor to the Bahamas. When ships depart, always in the evening before dinner, shipboard attractions are typically closed so that necessities like the lifeboat muster drill may take place.

Then, when ships return to New York Harbor, it is invariably in the earliest, pre-dawn hours of the morning. Onboard spending accounts have been closed, no more purchases (like North Star admission) can be made, and the ship is entering turnover mode to quickly prepare for the next batch of passengers.

If you're wondering what the North Star experience will actually look like, Royal Caribbean's less popular rendering, below, is nearer the truth. The Statue of Liberty image is somewhat embarrassing in its lies.

Watch the North Star in motion below:

Side note: Remember that time Royal Caribbean attempted to add an "Aerostat" (like a mini blimp) to their newest (at the time) ship, the Oasis of the Seas? Then it disconnected and floated away? It's never dull in the world of cruise line innovation.

[Images: Royal Caribbean]

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what about the bridge

Other factor against this EVER being used in NY harbor is the Verrazano Bridge the ship has to pass under. For most large cruise ships, the passage is carefully timed with the tides to ensure adequate clearance. Can't imagine they'd want a crane full of passengers sticking up even higher when they're anywhere near the bridge.

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