Thursday, 9 August 2012

Master of the House

On my walk to work this morning I got the rare treat of being able to look out over the harbour and watch a cruise ship glide into its berth. The water was dead flat and from where I was I could not see that the ship was disturbing it. With the Olympic Range as a back drop, the bright white of the ships hull just glided its way into berth. It was pretty spectacular when you consider what I was looking at.

Each one of those ships is a floating city, some of them housing as many as 6000 people all told. All of the amenities and services a city dweller expects are contained in the collection of steel plates. Fire, police, medical, dental, communications, food service and entertainment for everyone on board, all packed into a space that is 1100 feet long by 213 feet wide and 16 decks high (Allure of the Seas, Royal Caribbean International). Every aspect of this engineering marvel is under the direct supervision of 1 man, the Master.

Truly the master of his destiny, the ships Master is the one responsible for every passenger, crew member, every inch of the ships hull and everything within it. What an awesome load these people carry - when that ship is under way, the Masters word is the only one that matters. There is no court of appeal, there is no " I am calling my lawyer" there is no telling him where the ship is supposed to go. Manoeuvring more than 200,000 tonnes of steel encased stuff  is an awesome feat, even with modern technology. When someone on board gets sick, he is responsible to ensure proper care is administered, a child gets lost and you will see how quickly one man can organize a search party. All of this and they have to be charming too. No rough and tough spit in your eye type manners, they have to be calm, courteous and debonair. Dinning at the Captains table is rated as the high point of many of the passengers trip and it had better be perfect.

The ships Master, truly the Master of the House

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