Monday, 29 January, 2001

Day 2:  At Sea

We spent the entire day at sea, relaxing in the sun or in our cabin and (of course) eating.  During the day, I learned a little about this ship we're on.  The ship is 857 feet long, weighs 77,000 tons, has 14 decks, and has a maximum draught of about 27 feet.  Three times around the ship on the Promenade Deck (deck 7) equals one mile.  Four diesel engines power four generators with a total output of 44.5 megawatts.  These generators in turn feed two 15 megawatt electric propulsion motors, giving a maximum cruising speed of 21 knots.  (30 megawatts, by the way, equals about 40,200 horsepower.  I wonder what the actual shaft horsepower is—the thing can't be 100% efficient.)  They don't normally cruise at 21 knots, though, because it takes too much fuel.  They usually average around 15 knots and burn fuel at the rate of about 1 gallon for every 50 feet.  That's about 1,850 gallons per hour or 45,000 gallons per day.  Gulp!

Maybe the state of California should invest in some cruise ships:  they could tie them alongside a pier somewhere, plug them into the grid, and run the boat like a 5-star resort.  A 45 megawatt power plant is a steal at $350 million:  certainly less than what they're paying for electricity on the open market.

One of the reasons the ship always looks so good is that they literally scrub the public areas every night.  I get up early in the mornings (4:00 or 5:00) and wander the deck.  There aren't too many passengers awake at that time, but the crew are busy cleaning, painting, and straightening things.  Every morning the deck chairs are nicely lined up, all of the trash is picked up, and the deck has been soaped, scrubbed, and rinsed.  The ship is immaculate.  In addition, deck attendants pick up trash throughout the day and keep the public restrooms spotless (there's somebody in there every hour).