|Saturday, October 28, 2023|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
know what you want to read may be inconsequential to those who have gone on cruises a million times, but still I advice you read to the end, it may enrich your next cruise experience beyond your imagination!
By the grace of God, I have traveled to over 85 nations so I am no more "wowed" about aircraft and principles of aerospace, aerodynamics, and how a little bird can carry 400 people in the air with their luggage. The cruise experience is new, intriguing as well as exciting. It is about how a boat (ship) can carry about 5,000 people with their houses, food and luggage for over one week and still sail seamlessly, leisurely and purposefully.
On Thursday August 10th 2023 my wife and I boarded Air Transat from Toronto to Barcelona Spain for a seven-day cruise on Celebrity X Cruise. The cruise covered Spain, Italy and France. In spite of the amount, we spent to buy the cruise, Air Transat charged us $90 for a bag! On arrival in Spain, we wanted to use Uber to get to our hotel but found out Uber does not work in those areas of Europe as it does in North America. We were forced to use the more expensive taxis throughout the trip instead of Uber.
We rested that afternoon and took a walk around our hotel in the evening, had a quiet non expensive dinner and noticed crowds of people moving into the hotel.
So many instructions are given to get on a cruise, pay attention to them. My wife from her law experience learned how to pay attention to details, it helped.
The engineering background I have makes me curious about engineering feats. When I went into the university in 1976 in Nigeria, the computer we saw was half or three quarters of a room. 20 years later technology had improved, desk top computers were being introduced when I went to England for the first time in 1996. On getting to London I said " I don't just want to use a computer, I want to know how a computer works! I bought a book on how you can build your computer. Computers were expensive those days, about 2500 pounds sterling, so when I bought my mother board and other components and put it together with the help of colleagues in the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) the cost was drastically reduced to 500 pounds, a great savings in those days.
The same curiosity still drives me. They say curiosity kills the cat, mine doesn't, it makes me better. I have used local boats made of wood and hand-paddled to get it moving, graduated to fast boats with small engines, even used ferry from the airport of Freetown, Sierra Leone to the main city. It wowed me!
But just looking at this massive cruise from outside made me to think of Gen 1:28- Be fruitful, multiply, replenish and have dominion. Man, indeed has dominion!
I counted the decks they were 14 from outside, I told myself it is not possible! When I entered, they were actually 15! Our room is almost as big and exquisite as the Best Westin hotel we slept the previous night, and I was told this is just one of the medium ones. Only this one has a balcony on the 7th floor. There were 12 elevators each one can carry 29 passengers.
From my enquiry there were 1024 crew members, catering for 3,500 fun seekers like me all in one ship! It had one huge cafeteria opened 24/7 on the 14th floor and another 7 special restaurants just to make you feel special, they all serve the same basic food, for instance fish, but maybe cooked in different ways and served by special attendant dressed to match!. Some are paid specially and you pay for any drink except water and tea.
Time will fail me to describe the beauty of this cruise, the designs, contours and decorations, it was exquisite, full of glamour and splendor. Most hotels and airport duty free areas are child's play in comparison. All the pools are on the 14th and 15 floor. One of them is called Whirlpool design like a vortex, very beautiful. When you are tired of every warm pool you graduate to this warmer spa. The children have their pool, different from adults.
All these fanciful, high quality, decorations were not the centre of my fascination. It is how you have a city of 5,0000 people and their houses on the sea and yet sailing howbeit slowly is what wowed me! Most nights the cruise is going from one destination to another. During the day it stopped in prearranged cities where people disembark and go on various paid excursions. You need extra money for excursions when going on cruise. The first excursion I wanted was the one on the ship to teach us the principles of this massive sailing mobile house on the ocean. My wife and I paid. I had my questions ready from the previous night. It includes:
What is total tonnage of the ship (250,800GT)
Length of cruise (362 meters - 1187ft)
Cost of this ship. $1billion
Where was it built? Land or on the sea. If land, how did it get to the ocean. (
How do you anchor this massive ship when not moving? (2 GT anchors)
What is the depth of the ocean that can carry this? 8 meters minimum)
How long is the ship built to last (almost for life)
How many years to build the ship. (> 8 months)
What was the motivation for this project. (Pleasure & profitability)
Is it listed on stock exchange if yes where (Yes)
How do you generate electricity and water (drinking and toilet) (steam evaporation process turning saltwater (sea water) to distill water.
How do you do your laundry -The beddings are changed and the rooms are clean every day? (State of the art laundromat on board)
When we got to the control room - they had 2, one each, on deck two and deck 11. The control room reminded me of my working days in Warri Refinery and Petrochemicals Company where I was once a Chief Operator. They explained how they have 5 turbines to generate power and the various back up for power, like diesel generators and batteries. As a matter of fact, they can generate power for over a million people! Can you imagine?
During the tour of deck 11, the captain of the ship, Captain Coastas welcomed us. I wanted to see the steering wheel to turn this massive object. It was a little rudder. The Bible says the tongue is a little substance that controls the body!
Outside the 'control room' our tour guide was generous with his answers, he showed us how they press the pop cans before discharging them at various stations, the laundry room with massive, modern machines, how they use different machines to iron dresses and fold them. I salute human ingenuity!
The challenge I have for you if you have read up to this point is, what are you contributing to humanity? Various shops of diamonds, wrist watches, costly design items were gorgeously displayed for people to lavish their money. Theatres are there with various high-class musicians, instrumentalists, dancers to entertain the audience every night. The Cruise business creates businesses and employment opportunities. Most employees were from low earing countries of the world, East and South Africa, Caribbeans, Brazil and the like. They can stay for up to seven months before taking one-to-two-months breaks. They were happy. Who will not be; free housing and food for seven months. Farmers are not left out. When we got to Vanesia our tour guide told us that most of the billionaires from that city make their money from planting oranges!
From Florence and many of the European nations I see how they maximize the use of the ocean as if the Atlantic did not pass through our back yard in Africa. Many years ago, I was on vacation with my wife in Daytona Beach, Florida and was told the street where our hotel was is called Atlantic Avenue- I said I hope it is not the same Atlantic Ocean I was going to for Free when I was dating her in the 80s in Lagos called Bar Beach that I am going to Pay for here! And you know when your hotel room oversees the ocean you pay extra!
Conclusion. My cruise experience or experiment made me realize that men have gone far! Men are still coming. Inventions and innovations are still on the increase. Men are using their brains. I must use mine. The more you know, the more you know that you don't know. The more you see, the more you know you have seen nothing. The more you hear, the more you know you have heard nothing. Therefore, mix what you know, see or hear with deep thinking and create something for the universe. Do something meaningful. You are wired for greatness. Don't just use items, think on how those things are made and what you can do to improve on it. The Captain of the ship told us how GPS has changed everything even in navigation on the waters. You must not follow them to come to this world to engage in consumption only, you must produce. It is not too late.
Finally, take the words of Solomon to heart- Eccl 3:13 "And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God." Enjoy your life! Take your family on vacation. I will see you on the next cruise! Shalom