If I hadn't actually seen the press release, I wouldn't have believed it. On a new ship of Royal Caribbean Cruises debuting a year from now (the "Quantum of the Seas"), that cruiseline will offer an indoor sports and entertainment complex containing a roller-skating rink, bumper cars, a basketball court, and a circus school with trapeze instruction. For other passengers, there will be "controlled sky-diving" in a closed facility on an upper deck.
Similar toys will be placed aboard another Royal Caribbean ship, the "Anthem of the Seas", going into service in 2015.
The evolution of cruiseships is thus complete. Ships are no longer ships but theme parks, maritime carnivals, entertainment arenas. One wonders why they even need to go to sea? Since passengers attracted by endless sports activities are probably unaware of the ocean, or of movement, or about the plan to stop at foreign ports, why not simply anchor these new vessels to a dock in the embarkation city and never proceed to depart? Who would know the difference?
And think of the saving--the absence of expenditures for fuel, the inert engine rooms all calm and turned off, the lack of a need to employ crew members having to do with navigation or sailing. With such reductions in cost, shiplines could offer seven-day "cruises" for, say, $100--and still earn a profit.
Groucho Marx once said the he would not join a club that would have him for a member. I frankly feel that I would not want to sail on a ship whose passengers have been persuaded to book aboard by roller skating rinks and circus schools. I somehow prefer mixing with people of a bit more substance.