Ship part

Milias: Ship of Fools, SS Aspen

Elizabeth Milias

Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship at 1,188 feet, has a maximum capacity of 6,988 passengers and 2,300 crew. The mega-ship has 18 decks and features eight distinct “neighborhoods,” including a central park with 20,000 plants and trees. Aboard the ship are 40 restaurants and bars offering a variety of dishes ranging from home-southern classics to rustic Italian favourites.

In addition to the tallest waterslide at sea, guests can enjoy a children’s playground, a 1,400-seat theater, a life-size basketball court, an ice rink, a simulator surf and a 10-deck high zipline.

The ship’s advanced sewage purification system treats 570,000 gallons per day, complete with a reverse osmosis desalination plant, glass crushers, cardboard baler, aluminum can compactor and trash pulper. food.



It reads like a travel brochure, but it also looks a lot like the SS Aspen.

Docked at the east end of the Pitkin County Pier, our mega-ship is home to 7,700 permanent passengers who have chosen a unique but expensive adventure lifestyle, shunning land life to live where ever others only aspire to visit.



This number is misleading, however, as it does not reflect the ship’s capacity, which is far larger but mysteriously unspecified; 7,700 represent full-time passengers (residing on the various decks) and include an unknown number of crew members, who earn a salary and receive board and lodging in exchange for hospitality work and services on board of the ship.

Confusing the 7,700 number further, there is a distinct class of “wannabe” passengers who have figured out how to “work” on board when not frolicking with the other passengers who are heavily taxed to provide them with cabins on a base subsidized.

Their work is legitimate; they are not vacationing on that expensive ship. But although they seem busy and generating income to cover their onboard expenses, many are by no means essential to the ship’s operations. They don’t sweat in the engine room or line up in the galley. Unlike the crew, they are regularly found poolside and in the casino during their off hours. They’re in with a deep discount, an unintended consequence of decisions made in a bygone era.

In this post-pandemic period of rough seas, however, the fragile dynamics aboard the SS Aspen have changed and unease is growing, threatening the delicate balance between the ship’s physical capacity, its ability to charge its paying passengers prices without precedent for attractive onboard offerings and amenities and the ability of the ship’s crew to provide them.

The ship’s officers say it’s because they’re understaffed and can’t hire enough crew, blaming this on a shortage of crew cabins and speculating that these are being converted and sold to fare-paying passengers and can -be even awarded to ambitious people who covet the good life on board.

paying passengers, permanent and passing through, embark in record numbers, pay a handsome sum for it and are more demanding than ever. Every deck is full, even the most expensive upper deck, which is now the first to fill. No surprise the word is out and the wait is long for ambitious passengers watching from the shore and clamoring to step aboard for a life of smooth sailing.

The aspiring passengers already on board are the luckiest, blending seamlessly with others and demanding the same high-end perks and services: fluffy towels, frozen daquiris, Broadway shows and bottomless champagne, and further contributing to the crushing pressure on those already underserved. workforce and overworked crewwhose morale is low.

Before the SS Aspen hits the figurative iceberg, it’s time to turn this thing into a dime.

  • It is a ship with finite space. We can’t get out of the problem. It’s time to rearrange the deckchairs.
  • The ship has a maximum capacity. We need to know about the lifeboats anyway.
  • There is an ideal relationship between passengers and crew; it is not arbitrary. Reassign cabins accordingly.
  • The ship’s manifest is deliberately incomplete due to the willful ignorance of the ship’s officers. Keep a count, even if some crew members no longer show up for their shifts.
  • Prioritize essential ship operations and the crew required for them. These critical crew members should be the first to be welcomed into the crew cabins.
  • Identify non-essentials: underperforming crew and budding passengers. It’s time to phase out the extravagant perks of living aboard forever. (Don’t worry, no one will be thrown overboard. But no one will be allowed on board just because they want to sail or be allowed to stay because they’ve worked here before.) Times have changed. . Besides, it’s the only way to stay afloat.

Unfortunately, it falls to the ship’s officers, former crew members, and ambitious passengers themselves to save the ship. Their judgment is often clouded by the fact that they have never worked elsewhere and are more troubled by making decisions that might hurt the feelings of non-essential passengers.

It is clearly time for a new, more professional leadership. With political will and tough choices, the ship can still right itself.

Welcome aboard.

We have a housing crisis, but it is not a shortage. It is time to fundamentally transform our subsidized housing program in order to save it. Contact [email protected]