Fast Co, March 2000, "Fantastic Voyage" : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Donna Frederickson Int'l Falls Cohort, UMD M.Ed. March 12, 2000 FAST Company Article, March, 2000

"Fantastic Voyage", by Charles Fishman, p. 170+

The opulence of the ship in this article, the Voyager of the Seas, fascinated me and bothered me, all at the same time. I cannot imagine a boat this huge (137,276 tons and 1,020 feet long) and expensive ($700 million) floating around the ocean. The Voyager of the Seas is a technological and engineering marvel. However, the ship seems like a city afloat, and since the boat can carry 3,200 passengers plus crew, it is a small city. I have a hard time believing that a ship like the Voyager is what today's society wants to vacation on, but maybe I'm to removed from that crowd. Have people today become so busy that we just want to relax in grandeur, be served, see shows, swim, lay in the sun, shop boutiques, exercise, climb a rock climbing wall, inline skate, ice skate, shoot hoops, visit a spa, view art, browse a library, gamble, dance, sleep, drink and eat while sailing on a floating mass the length of three football fields eleven decks tall? The CEO of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line asked the same question and, thus, had demographic studies done, conducted interviews, analyzed preference cards from patrons over the past 30 years and came up with the answer "yes." The research said that Americans, when choosing a vacation, want options. All that one has to do is make a phone call or contact by the Internet, book a date, pay the bill, pack, get to the ship on time and sail with every option for every whim.

The useful commercial life of a cruise ship is 25 years, so the article states. To see all of this time, energy, materials and money put into a ship with the life of 25 years when there are so many people starving and homeless in the world seems like a sin against society. True, when the ship was being built, it employed many people and gave the Turku, Finland shipyard life, but isn't it too much? What happens to the ship after its commercial usefulness has been lived out? Maybe this ship and others like it who have outlived their commercial life should be turned into homeless shelters and soup kitchens.

The Royal Caribbean line has been cited two times and admitted guilt to polluting the Caribbean Sea by dumping thousands of gallons of oily bilge, waste, dry-cleaning fluids and photo developing chemicals into the water. Their waste handling practices were appalling. The Royal Caribbean paid two fines for these infractions, $9 million and $18 million. If the RCCL was not able to handle the waste before and find capable, conscientious workers, how are they going to properly handle even more waste from such a huge ship, such as the Voyager?

The one interesting theme of the article was how it emphasized teamwork in all stages of the planning and implementation of the concept. The CEO of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Richard Fain, encouraged the flow of ideas, even ideas from companies not usually involved in cruise ship furbishing. Fain worked with Harri Kulovaara, senior vice president of RCCL, whose job it was to oversee the project of building the Voyager. The planning meetings had an agenda of presentations, discussions and, eventually, the development of decisions in relationship to plausibility, function, quality, care, artistic value, cost and time schedule. Kulovaara believes in having creative, reliable people at these meetings who will do what they say they will do. (p. 192) One of the members of the meetings, Scott Wilson of Wilson Butler Lodge, said, "the wisdom of these meetings is that the freewheeling style results in some things that wouldn't have happened otherwise. There is a real lack of ego at those meetings-my idea, your idea-and it becomes the adopted philosophy of the team." (p. 196) Thus, the ship was built by a team, from the marketing department, designers and operations people, financial people, problem solvers and builders to the committee to execute and oversee the progress. "The Royal Caribbean created the largest cruise ship in the world through teamwork." (p. 198)

-- Anonymous, March 12, 2000

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