Space to make cruise what you want it to be

It is not everyday that travellers get the opportunity to go ice-skating while thousands of kilometres out over the ocean.

The biggest cruise ship to base itself in Australia really does show that the journey can be just as important as the destination.

Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas is designed not only to make the transit between ports comfortable, but what ever the traveller wants it to be. Whether that be an energetic, relaxing or entertaining journey, it has the space to offer many options.

In addition to an ice-skating rink, the ship, which weighs 137,000 tonnes, also boasts a mini golf course, rock climbing wall, casino, three pools, a theatre and a street lined with shops, bars and restaurants.

At almost double the size of any other vessel currently based in Australia, it is difficult to clearly conceive how big this ship is.

Voyager of the Seas, which left Fremantle on Monday for other state capitals, can host more than 3800 passengers, combined with crew, that is about 5000 people.

The ship also has nearly two and a half times more bedrooms than the largest hotel in Australia.

It has a full-sized sports court, which can be used for both basketball and volleyball and there is also an in-line skating track as well as the usual inclusions of a spa, fitness club and kids club.

For many the two most impressive parts of the ship would be the three-deck dining room and the La Scala theatre.

Like in most other parts of the interior of the ship, in the dining room and theatre, with their ornate designs, passengers could be forgiven for thinking they were back on dry land, in well-restored historic buildings.

The three-deck main dining hall is the largest restaurant in Australia and can seat almost 2000 people at any one time.

The 1350 seat theatre not only doubles as a cinema, which shows the latest movie releases, but stages Broadway style productions complete with an orchestra if required.

And the productions that are put on for guests are all produced by the company's own production house based in Florida specifically for the ship.

The entertainment continues on the ice skating rink, where a live show called Ice Odyssey is played out for passengers.

Those who are inspired by the graceful moves of the skating professionals at the show are also able to strap on a pair of skates in between scheduled shows, where they can go for a spin themselves and even get a few tips from the professionals themselves.

The Royal Promenade is where passengers can head for a spot of shopping, a bite to eat or a cold drink.

It is all laid out beneath a four-deck atrium, on which some cabins look down onto.

Those in these rooms might want to make sure they are fully dressed before opening up their curtains but do have the bonus of having a bird's eye view of the regular street parties and parades featuring animated characters Shrek and Kung Fu Panda.

While passengers are enjoying their journey between ports, there is one man, making sure that journey is a smooth one.

Captain Charles Teige admits he has a pretty amazing job.

"It's a fantastic job, lots of people just think that the captain just has a good time with the ladies around the ship, however, I have a very big responsibility," he said.

It is his job to maneuver the massive ship, which is almost three and a half times bigger than Titanic, between cities.

Captain Teige said getting it in and out of ports required concentration.

"It's not a Volkswagon," he said.

"You maybe have a car it's maybe 5 metres long, this is 311 metres, so I claim I know how to parallel park, and we have to be very, very alert all the time."

Captain Tiege and his team on board the Voyager are currently directing the ship towards Adelaide after its stop in Fremantle.

It will then head to Melbourne, Hobart and Sydney on its current cruise.

Voyager of the Seas will visit Australia, the South Pacific and New Zealand on 12 cruises between November and February sailing from Sydney and Fremantle.

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