I wanted to introduce to you a brand new cruise ship. One that’s packed with amazing features, some of which you’ll never have seen before at sea, as well as many of your favourites from popular ships already sailing the oceans. It’s from a cruise line you might not have heard of either. It’s the Royalty Valhalla.
Oh, and it’s from an episode of The Simpsons.
It’s not actually brand new, if I’m honest. The episode first aired in the US in April 2012, and over in the UK it wasn’t too much after that. It revolves around Bart, who’s been feeling depressed about the mundane nature of life, decides to get the family to go on a cruise, and once he’s on-board he doesn’t want it to end.
There are a lot of in-jokes and winks to cruise fans in the episode, particularly when the ship is introduced. A lot of the touches are lifted straight from real cruise ships – including the boardwalk in the ship that almost looks ripped straight from the Oasis-class ships owned by Royal Caribbean.
Other features shown that are taken from real cruise ships include swimming pools with water shows and slides, a rock-climbing wall, sun decks, deck parties, a choice of restaurants and more.
But there’s plenty of fanciful features too. The aft of the ship has its own miniature fun fair, including a ferris wheel and a rollercoaster. There’s a go-karting track that spills out onto the deck, and some of the cabins have their own aquarium and a mini rock-climbing wall of their own.
And the Fun Schedule, which lists all of the daily activities on the ship, includes semi-realistic options as well as some just taking a pop at real life cruises. You almost wouldn’t be surprised if the next announced family-friendly ship included activities such as ‘Claymation Movie Studio’, laser tag and ‘tie-dye your own cowboy hat’.
However ‘Toss melons at the propellers!’, ‘Punch through paintings!’ and ‘Sith training with certified Sith Lord’ are probably a bit beyond the realms of decency or realism. And I don’t even know what ‘Para-mini-golf’ is, but I am intrigued.
A lot of the newer Simpsons episodes drag on, and are either not funny enough or too stupid, but as a fan of cruising this one had a lot to entertain me. There’s plenty of little gags that people who know cruise lines will get, and it’s not like the ship hasn’t been prophetic before. So don’t be surprised if in ten years cruise ships are pioneering the Para-mini-golf world championships.
Whatever it is.
By Ian Lewis