Cruising: The ship that has everything

Even its carpets are changed every day on this £410m floating superhotel

The carpets in the glass lifts that glide up and down the atrium of the world's biggest cruise liner are changed every 24 hours to display the current day of the week. One can only presume this little touch is for the "It's Thursday so it must be Nassau" passengers.

The carpets in the glass lifts that glide up and down the atrium of the world's biggest cruise liner are changed every 24 hours to display the current day of the week. One can only presume this little touch is for the "It's Thursday so it must be Nassau" passengers.

The crew say that losing track of time is easy on the £410m floating superhotel, The Explorer of the Seas. With the casino, theatre, nightclub, ice rink, swimming pools and malls of bars, restaurants and shops, it is easy to lose track of everything, including the sea, aboard this city.

Last night The Explorer sailed from the port that long ago saw the Titanic off on its maiden voyage. In three weeks, 5,000 people, 3,840 of them passengers, will board the Royal Caribbean cruise ship for her first trip around the islands.

All day her 142,000 tons had sat quietly, a quarter of a mile of gleaming white hulk overshadowing Southampton docks. Thousands of deckchairs were on parade, row upon row, glinting in the sunshine, on guard around her elegant pools.

Below decks, 1,500 linen and silver table settings had been laid in the three-tier dining room. In the Las Vegas-style casino, hundreds of slot machines stood silently, awaiting an invasion of players. White-coated barmen polished glasses in the Cloud Nine piano bar, Dizzy Gillespie jazz room, Crow's Nest, Old English Pub, 19th Hole, Aquarium and Champagne Bar.

"This is not really something for the independent traveller," said a compnay spokeswoman, Kate Selley, with massive understatement. But it is something for those who want their every need catered for. From the pagers given to parents who leave their offspring in one of its five creches, to the pool table that alters to counter the ship's movement, every touch has been considered.

Passengers on a one-week cruise of the Caribbean will pay from £929 each up to £13,000 for two if they want the Royal Suite. With its marble bathroom and Jacuzzi bubbling on a private outer deck, the suite will suit those who couldn't possibly travel without having their piano next to the bedroom.

"Whatever you want, we have it here," said the white-coated beautician at the elegant ShipShape spa, and described dozens of tortuous-sounding treatments designed to reduce the cellulite brought on by all the meals. The more energetic have a choice of the "gorgeous" gym, the basketball court, a miniature golf course, and even a climbing wall.

The Royal Caribbean company shot well over budget kitting out The Explorer of the Seas, second of five superliners, but the emphasis is on glamour rather than sophistication. Only in the Connoisseur Bar, with its dimmed lights, leather chairs and cigar humidors, can one imagine the black-tie elegance of yesteryear. The nearby Maharaja's Lounge appears to meet the criteria until you find the stage is set up for karaoke.

The ice-rink also doubles as a broadcasting studio that transmits ship-made programmes to the cabin televisions of those who cannot survive a week without game shows or cooking demonstrations.

"The emphasis is on fun," says Miss Selley. "We have a lot of families who travel with us." There are many temptations for younger passengers, including an alcohol-free nightclub.

Those who need to escape all the "fun" can seek refuge in the deep armchairs of the library as long as they don't develop a sinking feeling from the books on the final voyage of the Titanic. "[The film] Titanic did wonders for the cruise industry," says Miss Selley. "They all think they are going to meet their own Leonardo."

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Day In a Page

    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
    Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
    Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

    Feather dust-up

    A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
    5 best waterproof cameras

    Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

    Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
    Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

    Louis van Gaal interview

    Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
    Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

    Will Gore: Outside Edge

    The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz