Visiting Central Park (to-be)

Part of the reason our ships come out so well the first time is that we cheat. The first ship isn’t really first. For key areas, we build mock-ups so we can see what the final product will be like. And we always find that we learn something in the process. No matter how much time and effort we devote to studying the plans or even the models, there is just no substitute for being able to see and touch a full scale version of the item.

We recently did a mock-up of a section of Central Park. Of course Central Park is so huge that there is no way we could build the whole thing on land. (It’s ironic that we can’t do it on land but we can on a ship). But they did build a section of it that included all the relevant components in one place. This way we get a feel for the walkway, the shrubbery, the trees and the living wall.

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We also took advantage of CLIA’s Cruise3sixty to have a meeting of our Travel Agent Advisory Board. The Board is comprised of leading travel agents from all sectors including full service agencies, cruise only agencies, home based agencies, internet agencies, national chains and smaller local agents. They are all successful in their own areas as well as respected observers of the industry and they provide us useful and candid advice about all aspects of our business. Be careful what you wish for, you may get it. In this case, we want candid feedback but I know that when diplomats describe a dialogue as “candid” they mean it didn’t actually come to blows (“a frank exchange of views” means they had to be restrained and “candid” means they didn’t have to be restrained but were thinking about it). The advice we get from them is not always pleasant, but it is always helpful and we do act on it.

So, while they were here, we asked them to look at our Central Park mock-up. It is only one half of one percent of the total space, but it contains all the essential elements. They had seen the earlier renderings etc, but reacted very well indeed to the actual piece. One important point was the topography of the Park. We want to be careful that it is not flat – naval architects like flat because it is easy to build – but want to ensure it has the natural rolling feeling one instinctively associates with parks while still maintaining the accessibility that is so important to us.

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Scott C. Wilson of Wilson Butler Architects, a architectural and interior design firm based in Boston, explains the Central Park mock-up to the Travel Agent Advisory Board.

On a technical level, the mock-up allowed us to check irrigation, installation logistics, water conservation, shrubbery density, etc. There were a number of small items the mock-up helped clarify, but only one substantive issue and that related to the green wall. The mock-up showed that the initial drawings were too “mechanical” and exposed the plumbing and other technical requirements. Too much input from the engineers and not enough from the artists. Also, the foliage shown included new plants and they looked insipid. The real planting is carefully selected and needs a long time to mature. They are growing in a nursery now so they will be mature and lush by the time of the ship’s arrival. Mock-ups are helpful but not perfect.

Overall, a very successful mock-up which gave us all even more confidence about how the final version will be and why the “first” Central Park will actually be a finished product.

10 Responses to “Visiting Central Park (to-be)”

  1. flyastrojets says:

    Can’t wait to see this up close on a cruise! Just found this blog, and enjoyed reading your thoughts and learning more about Royal Caribbean’s beautiful ships and other details from behind the scenes.

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  2. Arvids says:

    RIchard,

    A few things I am wondering about with Central Park.
    If these are living plants and trees. I would think that birds would become permanent residents of the Oasis. And of course with this also comes the droppings which we have never had a problem with once we get out into the ocean.

    The other thing is to get your plants to grow its great to have nightcrawlers in the planters.

    When a fisherman sees a night crawler he wants to fish. Will there be an access on the aft that RCCL can offer Deep Sea fishing?

    I’m sorry I had to ask.

    Can’t wait to get onboard.

    Of course in 15 days we will be on the Liberty and we can’t wait.

    Arvids–Saginaw, Michigan

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  3. eroller says:

    Richard,
    Thanks for the great blog! You are doing a fantastic job and I know we all appreciate any details about OASIS. Many of your competitors have blogs so it’s great to see one with Royal Caribbean as well.

    I have a question about OASIS unrelated to Central Park. I’m curious why the decision was made to paint the hull baby blue. Royal Caribbean ships have always had white hulls, so why the change now? To be honest the hull color has not won me over yet. When I first saw it I actually thought it was some kind of primer, or anti-fouling paint. I was surprised to learn it was the permanent color chosen for hull.

    Please keep your blog entries coming!

    Ernie

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  4. Murlis says:

    Only birds at sea will be Albatrosses

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  5. Greg says:

    Mr. Fain,
    When is central Park going to be outfitted since Finland get pretty cold I hear?

    Arvids,
    Its not so much the birds I would worry about, as CP is blocked off from all sides; I would worry about insects and if CP was to be infested, they could spread.
    Just my thoughts
    Greg

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  6. jimmyatc says:

    Richard
    I just wanted to thank you SO MUCH for this blog. Our entire family is booked on the Feb. 13, 2010 Oasis cruise, and we just can’t get enough info on the ship….but when the info comes from the CEO…well, that’s even more awesome. Thanks for being so candid too. In this world of companies hiding info, it’s refreshing to see a CEO “telling it like it is”. Thanks again, and I can’t wait for you next entry !!

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  7. Capt Data says:

    I too am wondering about picking up pests from the ports which could harm your US (then maybe spead to Canada).

    This sounds interesting. Keep up the good work.

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  8. Just a small point and I understand the ship is 80 per cent built so very well done. Last year on a med voyage of the Inde. we hit an amazing side swell one evening and the ship rolled and we all acted as willing drunks and gently rolled with it. The ship recovered, stabilisers went out but what happens to the vast amount of water on the Oasis, in similar conditions?
    2. The Legend of the Seas, the central atrium water feature was closed down, filled with rocks and planted just a couple of years after it was built. ASpparently it was too difficult to maintain and drenched the clients..on a roll..

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  9. Cruise Lines says:

    Cruisers behaving badly…

    Was it pure chance that Capt Data, responsing to Royal Caribbean chairman Richard Fain’s blog about Central Park, alluded to picking up pests from the ports just as Cruise.co.uk readers were writing about cruisers being kicked off their ship for……

  10. Elizanessie says:

    I believe there will be an onboard Horticulturist to look after the plants on Oasis and look out for any bug problems.
    Having just read the CP details again it does sound like CP will be a wonderful relaxing place with some fun available also with the checkers & chess.
    Will there be a charge I wonder for the lectures?

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