Story and Photo by Ed Salvato
Ahoy, Ed! Out Traveler guru Ed Salvato reports from Atlantis Event's Caribbean cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas.
A group of about a dozen gay journalists from around the world were
invited to tour the bridge. For reasons of security the ships' officers
are less and less willing to host visitors, so we were all very
excited. The bridge is on deck 10 forward and spans the entire width of
the ship plus a few yards on either side with a cantilevered viewing
area the juts out over the side of the ship for better visual
sightlines when docking.
The shocker to me was the serene nature of the bridge, the fact there were only four officers on duty navigating a 155,000 ton vessel at 17 knots through the Caribbean with nearly 5,000 souls on board and the almost entire lack of mechanical instrumentation.
There were several computerized panels (very Star Trek Enterprise) and, in case of power outage, one tiny back up steering wheel. No clanging bells, no harried officers barking orders at one another. Just a calm, skeletal crew gently guiding this behemoth through the seas.