Posted by: Jerry Garrett | April 21, 2012

Day 6: Adventure of the Seas Trans Atlantic Cruise

No "King of the World" moments today! (Jerry Garrett Photos)


What is the difference, in cruise ship parlance, between a crosser and a cruiser?

A crosser is a ship that was designed for use primarily as an ocean-crosser. A cruiser is a ship that was designed more for running loops around a certain itinerary, such as a week in the Caribbean, stopping daily at various ports.

A crosser has a knife-edge prow, deep draught and sleek lines, meant to help it cut through heavy seas, while maintaining high speeds – in the range of 14-26 knots; top speed of the Queen Mary 2 – a crosser – is 30 knots. A cruiser typically is wider, has a shallower draught, and travels much more slowly – at speeds of 7-14 knots; yet it can speed along as fast as 23 knots. It is as steady as an island in calm seas.

On the QM2, I noticed most of the public areas were either inside the ship, covered, or at the back of the ship in wind-protected areas. This makes some sense, as the QM2 generally travels at a higher rate of speed. And some of the seas it travels, such as the North Atlantic Ocean, are relatively cool (or downright cold), compared to, say, the Caribbean. (But when QM2 winters in warmer climes, such as the Caribbean, its limitations for sun-worshiping are apparent.)

On a cruiser, like the Adventure of the Seas – a Voyager class ship, every square inch of outside space seems to be maximized for enjoying the Great Outdoors. Royal Caribbean’s Voyager, Freedom and Oasis class ships are among the largest passenger vessels in the world; and from what I’ve seen of these cruisers in action, passengers make the most of their outdoor capabilities – with activities such as rock climbing walls, miniature golf courses, inline skating parks, wave riders and even a zipline.

It is interesting, however, to watch changes when a cruiser becomes a crosser, as the Adventure of the Seas has this week for the re-positioning cruise we are on; the ship is being moved for the summer from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean; in fall, it will return to the Caribbean.

An example: One of the popular areas on Adventure of the Seas is the open bow (where the helipad is located); this is where you can have your own “King of the World” moment. It’s a great vantage point – more so when the weather is warm, the winds are light, and the cruising speed is slow. But this week, we are plowing along at speeds of 17-22+ knots (roughly 20-25 m.p.h.) into a head wind of 20-45 knots. So, standing on the bow in those conditions is a bit like trying to stand up in a speeding convertible on the highway. Throw in some cold temperatures, and you can see why the usually popular bow is nearly deserted of would-be Kates and Leonardos.

There are other examples, of course, such as how and where deck chairs are arranged, or which parts of the ship the walkers and joggers use.

A good day to play inside!

But, otherwise, shipboard life goes on much as it usually does on Adventure of the Seas.

One area that has not been affected, or compromised, is safety. Our captain, Ole-Johan Gronhaug, emphasized there is no difference in seaworthiness between a cruiser and a crosser (he doesn’t feel there’s much of a distinction between them, in the first place). “All Royal Caribbean’s ships are designed and built to be fully capable of handling all conditions to be encountered at sea,” he said.

Duly noted. Yet, it has been educational to watch this week what happens when a cruiser becomes a crosser.

Jerry Garrett

April 20, 2012

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