The Monsters Are ComingBy DAVE KIFFER
March 19, 2015
"Era of Monster Cruise Ships Arrives in Alaska"
We’ll skip the fact that my 50+ year old eyes originally thought it was “Munster Cruise Ships.”
I bet all of us would sign for a cruise on a ship shaped like the Munstermobile!
Anyway, for those of us who still cling to the idea of "cruising" as those quaint little Canadian ships, the Prince George and the Princess Pat, passing through a half century ago, it remains jarring to think that even bigger ships will be stopping here with up to 5,000 passengers and crew members.
With great commerce comes great responsibility.
How ill prepared we were.
Our docks were too small and we only had a couple of jewelry stores.
Fortunately, we had three decades to catch up. I just hope the soon to arrive “monster” ships won’t make our docks seem too small and our jewelry stores too few again.
All you have to do is make one of those "social media" posts and you immediately get the "salivation army" response from those who still wish it was 1963, the pulp mill was still operating and Ketchikan had "more bars in more places" than anywhere in the world.
Ketchikan: Not perfect now, wasn't perfect then, probably won't be perfect in the future.
Unfortunately, that slogan is too long for the Welcome Arch.
It’s just as well. If Ketchikan were indeed as perfect as the “isn’t the same” crowd seem to believe it was, then millions of people would move here, making it ......... really not perfect.
That said, once upon a time, I calculated that all 6 billion people in the world could fit on Revillagigedo Island. They just couldn’t lie down.
Natch, there is one thing that all Ketchikanders believe and it’s that the drawbridge (and not the one to To Nowhere) should be pulled up shortly after they get here.
Dang, that was a digression.
Anyway, monster ships are coming. So sayeth the national media. Should we be concerned? I guess is depends on how you define "monster."
Don't get me wrong. To me, the fact that anything that weighs 137,000 tons can even float seems preposterous.
I skip a six ounce rock into the Narrows and it immediately takes its place with the other debris on the bottom.
Yes, I’m sure that all you Naval (as opposed to navel) Architects out there can show me the displacement formula (Rock on, Archimedes!) that allows absurdly heavy cruise ships to not sink when their lines are cast off in Seattle or Vancouver.
And this from me, a guy who still harbors trauma from riding a Storybook canal boat into the mouth of Monstro in 1965. I am afeared of anything monstrous.
But really, 16,000 tons is just a little over three Prince George's for comparisons sake. And we all know how puny the Prince George seems in retrospect.
It has something like 15 decks and 30 restaurants and 200 jewelry stores.
Something like the Allure of the Seas or the Oasis of the Seas, both of which top out at 225,000 tons or 1 gazillion skipping stones. I believe they each have something like 250 snack bars.
Not to mention that there aren’t enough buses in the entire Northern Hemisphere to offload a boat that big in the six hours it would be in port.
One good thing about anchoring out, a ship that’s 1,187 feet long means you can walk bow to stern and be on Gravina.
But given how fast ships are built these days it will be only the 25th largest by the time you read this.
And you just know that somewhere the "Humongous of the Seas" is taking shape.
It will be the world’s largest cruise ship, one bazillion tons, 935 miles long, staterooms for 1.2 million passengers
Best of all, it will have the greatest fuel economy ever devised and be super cheap to operate. It won't actually use any fuel because it will never leave the dock in Seattle. Which, best of all, means almost no carbon footprint!
By then, of course, Carnivore Cruises will have purchased Alaska for $7.3 million in a bankruptcy sale (if you go $3.5 billion in the hole each year, Chapter 9 isn’t that far off) and there will be a train that connects Glacier Bay and Denali parks (Wilderness? Schmilderness!).
Or perhaps, the visitors will just reverse their steps back to the stern and disembark back in Seattle. I’m just hoping that a few of them will decide to briefly step off in Our Fair Salmon City either coming or going.
After all, they won’t be able to find all the tanzanite they need in the onboard stores. And they can’t claim their diamonds are Alaska diamonds if they don’t buy them “in Alaska.”
Because the ship itself won’t actually be in Alaskan waters. As long as it sits several miles offshore, they can keep the casino going 24/7.
Now that's a monster cruise ship, even the Munsters could love.
Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
Contact Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Kiffer ©2015
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