Game of names, from Emerald to Explorer
Is it any wonder many travellers think all cruises are the same when ships have such similar names?
In Australian fleets, we have Pacific Dawn, Dawn Princess, Sea Princess, Sun Princess, and until recently, Pacific Sun. Things started looking up when Princess Cruises announced plans to offload Dawn Princess to P&O, but then P&O decided to rename it Pacific Explorer, when we already have Explorer of the Seas. Royal Caribbean owns Explorer of the Seas, as well as Voyager of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas. Sounds a bit like Regent Seven Seas’ Explorer, Voyager, Mariner and Navigator?
By the way, Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess belong to Princess Cruises, not Royal Caribbean. But Royal Caribbean does have Legend of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas; not to be mistaken for Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Legend, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Splendor.
Still with me? Then there’s Carnival Spirit, Carnival Pride and Carnival Breeze, while Windstar Cruises has Wind Spirit, Star Pride and Star Breeze (and a Star Legend ...). Oh, and let’s not forget Carnival Magic, Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Dream, versus Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Magic, Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream.
Meanwhile, in Asia, Dream Cruises has just launched Genting Dream. I guess nobody mentioned SeaDream I, SeaDream II, Thomson Dream and Alaskan Dream Cruises’ four Dream-suffixed ships.
Don’t get me started on Holland America Line, guilty of recycling names for 140 years, and all ending in the same three letters. There are 15 of these “dam” ships. Maasdam, which is sailing its first season down under, is the fifth (dare I say damned) Maasdam. The line’s other Sydney-based ship, Noordam, is the fourth incarnation. So far, the world has endured four Nieuw Amsterdams (and one plain Amsterdam) and five Statendams. Guess what’s coming in 2018? Nieuw Statendam.
Next year, Norwegian Cruise Line is sending us Norwegian Star, as opposed to Star Princess, and Norwegian Jewel, not to be confused with Pacific Jewel, Jewel of the Seas or Scenic Jewel.
Scenic is a repeat offender, duplicating Pearl, Emerald, Crystal, Diamond, Ruby, Jade, Gem, Sapphire, Spirit and Eclipse from various lines. Sister company Evergreen Tours has Sun, Dawn, Emerald and Radiance, just like other Australia-based ships, not to mention Sky and Star. Viking Ocean Cruises uses Sky, Star, Sun, Sea and Spirit, plus 60-odd riverboats named after, um, vikings.
Perhaps as a last resort, P&O turned to the public to come up with meaningful monikers, leading to votes for Skippy, Crikey, Croc and a whole range of flowers, indigenous words and characters from Game of Thrones. And who can forget last year’s British poll topped by Boaty McBoatface. My only thought was that it would be more accurate to be called Shippy McShipface.
Clearly giving up, the management at Royal Caribbean asked the creator of Boaty McBoatface to come on board as its chief naming officer. Although the job was offered on April Fool’s Day, they seriously need all the help they can get. My next cruise is on Something of the Seas, followed by Princess Someone to somewhere else. What’s in a name, anyway? A ship by any other name would sail as sweet.
Louise Goldsbury is the senior editor of cruisecritic.com.au.