Why the Icon of the Seas Cruise Line Is Splitting the Internet

(CNN) — The world’s largest cruise ship has yet to welcome a single passenger, but it’s already causing a stir on the Internet.

Icon of the Seas, which has completed its first series of sea trials in preparation for its maiden voyage in January 2024, has some impressive credentials: 365 meters long (96 more than Titanic), 48 meters wide, a total of 20 decks and a maximum of 10,000 passengers and crew.

But when a picture of her back It went viral In July, it polarized opinion, eliciting emotional reactions from all sides. The artist’s impression showed the fully loaded ship in vibrant colors, highlighted its massive water park with record-breaking slides, and revealed the ship’s extraordinary size and density.

Not everyone sees it as a beautiful sight of fun and relaxation on the high seas. was labeled as “monstrosity”, “The Wreck Heap” And one user suggested that it’s better to call it “Icon of Disease”. They called it “Complex Cunning and Bad” and compared it “Stuck in a Floating Walmart” One “An even stack of whole food plates: chaotic, confusing, possibly dangerous”.

Many compared it to visions of hell and one commentator suggested In parallel with Hieronymus Bosch, A Dutch Renaissance artist known for his intricate scenes of hell. Another gave a more contemporary cultural reference, saying the ship looked like a dystopian underworld version of Candy Crush. “Silo”A television show in which humanity survives an apocalypse by retreating to an underground city hundreds of levels deep.

But what is it about the film that evokes such strong emotions?

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A perspective trick?

Tom Davis, a professor of psychology at the University of Alabama, told CNN: “I, too, find this depiction oddly unusual. After looking a little harder, the haunting nature is an interesting combination of perspective. Selective artistry and the post-pandemic personal space and distance training we’ve all been instilled in.”

It’s not an actual photograph, but a representation that plays an important role, says Davis. “It almost gives the impression of a narrow, over-stacked ship sailing rough seas, but this may actually be a trick of perspective, as the actual ship is three or four times as long. The rendering. The images I’ve seen most in profile give a more reasonable idea of ​​the height in context with the overall length. provide.”

A number of variables can be to blame, Davis says, including personal anxieties and phobias and personal experiences at resorts and cruise ships. “For some people, a cruise of this size is just too much fun, non-stop activity and no boredom. For some people, they have never been on a cruise before and think it’s too much to take on at once,” he said. He says.

“The choice depends on one’s experience and personality: Is fear of social situations, open water or confined spaces a problem? This image will trigger all kinds of memories, from viral news to movies like Jazz, The Poseidon Adventure and Titanic” .

“For others, their experiences with cruise ships and many successful voyages provide the solution information that leads them to see things differently.”

According to Adam Cox, psychologist and phobia expert, a common description of the Icon of the Seas as “five times bigger” than the Titanic may suggest the idea of ​​a bigger disaster. “More so after the recent submarine tragedy [de exploración] of the Titanic. This instills a desire for protection to avoid a similar tragedy,” he said.

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The ship’s conditions create a sense of claustrophobia for some people, he continues, because they feel the ship is a place where thousands of people are trapped, rather than enjoying a cruise vacation. “For others, loud colors make the ship look like a toy, and a ship with neutral colors won’t,” he adds.

The ship will set up the world’s largest water park at sea. Credit: Royal Caribbean International

A money machine

Jonathan Abramowitz, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, thinks the picture is too chaotic and confusing: “Maybe too many things are happening at once and it’s all taking place at sea. There’s nowhere to go in case of an emergency,” he said.

But Ross Klein, a sociologist at Memorial University of Newfoundland and an expert on cruise ships, says the ship’s design was a natural progression for Miami-based cruise line Royal Caribbean. “It’s a bit humorous, with a bit of a mystical undertone. But it’s an extension of where they’ve gone over the last 25 years with their ship design.”

He believes that reactions are often based on previous experience on cruises. “Royal Caribbean fans are going to see this and say, ‘Wow, something new! This is so exciting, I can’t wait to see what happens there!’ He says.

“But people who don’t cruise, or people who want a different kind of cruise on smaller ships, ultra-luxury ships or something in between, will look at it as an eyesore and say, ‘Why would you do that? “.

Cruise expert Stewart Chiron agrees. “Images of Royal Caribbean ships have often elicited strong reactions. Negative responses to Icon of the Sea are evident from non-ship guests. The current image is more colorful and shows a ship with many options. Positive responses outnumber others,” he explained.

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A Royal Caribbean spokesperson contacted by CNN would not comment on reactions to this particular film, but said there has been an “incredible reaction” since Icon of the Seas’ release in October 2022, leading to a heavy booking week. Volume in the company’s history when sales begin.

Starting at $2,000 per person for a seven-day cruise, the cruise is likely to become a cash machine, according to Rose Klein, with some boats already sold out. “Royal Caribbean has been known to go over 100% capacity on their ships. Part of that is because they’re giving something to people who want to come on board and spend a lot of money once. That ship is going to raise US $10 million a week,” he says.

Gillian Patton

"Tv aficionado. Lifelong communicator. Travel ninja. Hardcore web buff. Typical music geek."

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