Here's a fascinating video for those who think that size matters more than almost everything else. It shows a brand-new cruise ship, AIDAnova, emerging from her immense construction shed at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. The ship is the first of a new class of cruise liners fueled by liquid natural gas, rather than fuel oil or diesel. She's being built for AIDA Cruises, the German arm of Carnival Corp., 'the world's largest travel leisure company'.
I suggest watching this in full-screen mode, and comparing the size of the ship to the people visible dockside and aboard the vessel. She weighs over 180,000 tons, and can accommodate up to 6,600 passengers - a behemoth of her kind.
The size of the ship is all very well, but just look at the 'shed' (understatement!) in which she was built. That's amazing! The Meyer Werft 'Dockhalle No. 2' is listed as the sixth-largest building in the world by usable volume, with a floor area of 680,000 square feet (enough to accommodate well over 400 houses the size of mine on its floor!), and a volume of 167,000,000 cubic feet. Here's an inside shot, showing another, equally large cruise ship under construction.
I suppose it makes economic and engineering sense to construct a ship like that under cover, so that wind and weather can't slow down operations, or damage furniture and fixtures being installed in the cabins; but the sheer size of the building is daunting. I wonder who thought up the concept, and decided to fund it? It must have cost a not-so-small fortune to erect.
Here's another video of the float-out of the AIDAnova, this time focusing on the building and the activities rather than the ship herself.
It took a full day to get the ship out and into the holding dock, and make her fast to the quayside. Here she is after it was all over, with the building in which she was constructed in front of her.
I'm unlikely to ever take a cruise - who wants to be shut up, crammed elbow-to-elbow with thousands of strangers, aboard something one can't easily escape in the event of trouble? - but the whole process of launching the AIDAnova looks to have been fascinating. I'd have liked to have seen it for myself.