Sunday, November 22, 2009

Oasis and Airbus

My Dad and Sarah are visiting from Arizona for the holiday while my Mom and Del spend Thanksgiving with a friend in Texas. Since Dad and Sarah like to go on cruises, I will ask them if they intend to sail on the heavily promoted Oasis of the Seas. This Royal Caribbean ship is so enormous that its home port had to be enlarged and many ports are too small to accommodate it. It weighs 225,282 tons, has a length of 1,181 feet, has a height of 154 feet above the waterline, has 16 passenger decks and 6 engines, cost $1.4 billion to build, and carries a crew of 1,165. The 6,296 passengers it holds may enjoy the following amenities: a park with 56 live trees, a carousel, a casino, a tattoo parlor, a 750-seat amphitheater, 4 swimming pools, a jazz club, a comedy club, an entertainment venue, boutiques, restaurants, 5 movie theaters, a spa, a fitness center, a zip-line, a mini-golf course, a volleyball court, a basketball court, 2 surf simulators, 2 rock-climbing walls, and a youth zone that offers a science lab and computer gaming. To build and launch such a thing seems to me to be hubris and to sail on it seems to be conspicuous consumption. We know what happened when the Titanic was billed as the largest and safest ship ever built - and Oasis of the Seas is 5 times the size of the Titanic...

And then there's the Airbus A380, the largest passenger airliner in the world. Since its debut in 2007, a total of 38 have been built at a cost of more than $300 million apiece, with orders for dozens more. It has 4 engines, weighs 610,000 pounds, carries almost 82,000 gallons of fuel, and can carry 100 tons (the freight version can transport 150 tons). It is 240 feet long, 79 feet tall, and has a wingspan of 261 feet. The cabins in the A380 are customized, so the various planes offer bars, lounges, casinos, duty-free shops, beauty salons, and private suites with beds, desks, and shower access. The A380 has 2 decks and - with a flight crew of only 2 - can carry up to 853 passengers. I'd be afraid to be one of them for fear of tempting fate.

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