That cruise ship, Anthem of the Seas

That this 11-story+ structure looming over the dock, pocked with windows (laughably known as “portholes” aboard ship) and ringed with metal and barely nautical fixtures, can even float unwraps my mind from reality. Anthem of the Seas offers amenities that make sure no one is left out.

Passengers can avail themselves of bumper cars, a roller rink, a circus school, a basketball court, a 220-foot outdoor poolside movie screen, a 20-foot rock climbing wall, and, of course, a casino. I think I left something out….oh yes, there’s a skydiving simulator on deck.

Seems the ship had everything except a captain who knew how to judge weather conditions. Maybe he was too occupied running the indoor recreation business to pay attention to the giant squall ahead that rocked his boat and nearly overturned it (a passenger reaching land was shown on TV kneeling and kissing the ground). Nothing about the ship otherwise seemed to encourage passengers to notice the water they were traversing. A whale or shark fin breaking the surface might not have been noticeable from the deck’s height and during all the activities going on. The stars or moon above certainly would not have been visible during movie time on deck.

The place has 2146 rooms. Imagine traveling from your neighborhood to join up with another one. Royal Caribbean International runs 26 of these moving cities.

My personal acquaintance with ships involved the cargo steamer Sebastiano Caboto from Hong Kong to Naples. I roomed with three others in a top bunk that was relegated to me because I was 18 and of course more agile than my mother. Two strangers occupied the other bunks. I forget where my sister slept, I think it was in another cabin, I can’t remember why.

I remember being very much in touch with the elements, the windy deck where we laughed and hung onto our hair, the long mess table shared with a dozen others, the rattling of chains and cranes swinging over our heads when in port, the populace on the waterfront who had no duty to look picturesque, and the two deserters from the French Foreign Legion who attempted to rape me.
I had a good time telling about that incident in Journey from Shanghai.

Now THAT’s sailing on the seas!


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