Royal Caribbean’s Sovereign of the Seas. Like John Lautner. Only blingier. (Photos by C-M.)
Over Labor Day, I took my first Caribbean cruise. (Long story.) And it was on a ship that the cruise line is about to retire. Which means that I spent 72 hours completely immersed in an environment that was considered the shit in the ’80s. As is to be expected, it was totally nuts in a big-hair-and-shoulder-pads kind of way. The sensory effect was amplified by the cruise ship architecture, which was never less than over-the-top (and which borrowed liberally from starchitecture). There were lots of shining environments engineered to wear you out. Kinda like a floating strip mall, with buffets and a lot of bronze. Not that it was all bad. I very much enjoyed the soothing, upholstered nature of Schooner’s Bar and being able to say I ate Johnny Rockets at sea.
Click images to supersize. More after the jump.
The interior atrium, which came equipped with a Seattle’s Best Coffee and a bunch of gift shops shelling glass dolphins and jewelry. It all had a South Coast Plaza kind of vibe.
A Norwegian cruise ship parked next to ours: The details were very Santiago Calatrava.
Cruise ships as far as the eye can see: There’ are so many things going on here, I don’t know where to start. The giant red fin belongs to the Carnival Cruise liner parked two boats down. The Starship Enterprise-type structure in the middle is part of the Norwegian ship whose Calatrava-esque wings are shown in the preceding picture. And, on the right, also on the Norwegian liner, is an air horn that looks as if it were channeling Frank Gehry. The sunbathers in front? They would belong to my glorious vessel. Now, all this mess needs is a light show!
The fish shape reminds me of another Gehry structure: the fish cage in Barcelona. Which leads me to think…Gehry should just do a cruise ship already. It’d be totally insane.