One thing that really grinds my gears when people talk about cruise ships is the cliché term of ‘floating city’. Before anyone kicks off, I’ve probably used it myself yes, so don’t go trawling through my posts to try and get one up on me. But I’ve been thinking about it more recently and realised it’s a strange phrase. ‘Floating hotel’ or ‘floating resort’ is much closer to the mark, but there’s a big difference between a place you go to relax and a city where businesses thrive, where you work and where you call home.
The original plan of this blog was to come up with the idea of what would make a floating city real. However I then found out there are already plans afoot to build one, and I realised then how strange an idea it all seemed. If you’ve never heard of it, take a look at the Freedom Ship. Have a quick browse, and then let me know what you think.
The idea of ocean colonisation isn’t something that’s completely new. Indeed in many circles it’s seen as the likely precursor to space colonisation. But can you imagine really living out at sea?
I think I could do it if the ship didn’t travel far from the UK. That’s not me being overly patriotic, though I do love it here and have never given a thought to emigrating. It’s more for the sense of security. If the city I was on was out at sea, or travelling the world, I definitely think there’d be a sense of claustrophobia.
If you’ve been on a cruise ship, you’ll know it’s not too bad. But then you know that’s because it’s a holiday. You know that you’re going to be calling in at a number of ports, giving you ample time to get off the ship and explore, and then after a week, two weeks or even a couple of months, you’re done and you step off ready to head home.
What if the ship itself was home, and you weren’t always getting off the ship?
Now imagine you’re at home. You might be, which should make that job a bit easier. But imagine being told that, for a month, you were confined to the town where you lived. Less than that even, just a one mile radius. Just like in Logan’s Run, only smaller. Or if you’ve seen it, The Simpsons Movie. That sort of idea. You’re welcome to leave the house, go about the business, but you can’t leave the dome. You can’t dig out or anything like that. Oh, and the dome isn’t transparent. It’s blue. So you can’t physically see the outside world. Think you could cope?
Even if the ship was to travel the entire world and keep stopping at ports on a regular basis, it’s still dictated to you where you can go. OK, the Freedom Ship has its own airport but that’s not the same as just deciding you want to drive round and catch up with mum, you can’t just casually drop everything for a catch up with your mates in the pub in the next town.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe you think a floating city would be an amazing idea. Let me know if you do in the comments below, but I think there are a lot of issues to iron out before then.
By Ian Lewis