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Super Giant Mega Ginormous Cruise Ship Bound for Lauderdale

The Oasis of the Seas, the largest ship ever built (think Noah's Ark meets the Titanic meets Rhode Island), cleared her largest obstacle this week en route to a new home in Fort Lauderdale.

AP reports that crew on the massive 20-story, $1.5 billion ocean liner lowered the telescopic smoke stacks to clear the Great Belt Fixed Link in Denmark. According to witnesses, the ship cleared the bridge by about two feet.

We've posted video of the gargantuan vessel (which is due to dock at Port Everglades next week) here and here, but I spoke with a Miami-based representative of Royal Caribbean yesterday.

The company apparently commissioned this beast well before the economic downturn but hopes that with 2,700 cabins and enough room for more than 6,000 passengers (and more than 2,000 crew members), it'll eventually have enough volume to turn a profit. "The Oasis will undoubtedly change the cruise industry forever," the spokesperson said. "In the long term, the Oasis will make the cost of cruising even more affordable."

And what kind of things can you find aboard the Oasis of the Seas? Well there are seven neighbohoods, an ice rink, several theme parks, a pool with two ten-meter diving boards, a golf course, and a Greek-inspired outdoor amphitheater that seats 750 (an indoor theater seats 1,300). It is nearly a quarter of a mile long, nearly as wide as a football field is long, and as tall as virtually any building in Fort Lauderdale. The boat is 40 percent larger than the next biggest cruise ship on the water.

Once the ship docks in Florida, the crew will plant more than 12,000 vines and palm trees in the "tropical themed" neighborhood.

"There are so many interesting stories aboard the ship," the spokesperson said, "so many fascinating aspects." I'm still looking for a news hook (read: excuse) to hop aboard the first voyage, to set sail later this month. Suggestions welcome.

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Michael J. Mooney

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