Standing on the decks of a New Year’s Eve cruise vessel on Sydney Harbour, here I was welcoming another New Year. Heralding the beginning of a fresh new chapter in my life, there couldn’t have been a better venue than the Sydney NYE cruise and New Year Fireworks display. Looking at my fellow passengers all dressed in their best and nursing a glass of wine, an intriguing thought went through my mind.
Boats have always been a part of new beginnings and global breakthroughs for a long time. Before air and rail transport came about, ships were the main mode of transportation connecting the world. Sailing vessels made it possible for countries to be discovered and trade routes set up. Magellan circumnavigated the world on a ship, bravely sailing through uncharted waters. Cook was another explorer, who with the aid of ships, discovered Australia and New Zealand.
Many North American settlers owe heartfelt thanks to ships that helped them cross the Atlantic to the land of dreams. Immigrants from Europe and other nations find refugee on ships to reach the shores of America, their eyes glistening with joy on seeing the Statue of Liberty, just as ours do when we celebrate the New Year!
Boats have always been a part of life, but the boats of yester yore bear no resemblance to the modern vessels like this Sydney Harbour cruise vessel I am on now, though the whole concept remains same. They have also evolved a great deal in terms of purpose � from being a mass people carrier to specialised luxury tourist cruise vessels and cargo ships.
Ships are now an opulent mode of travel with cruise vessels docking at many ports in exotic locations. The cruise vessels have all sorts of creature comforts like swimming pools, restaurants, spas, game rooms to name a few. They are floating vacation spots that help you get away from the stress of everyday life and give you the opportunity to live in a perfect pampered world for a few days. Ships take their time to reach their destinations, but you can travel in comfort and style. Which is why people prefer cruise ships to airplanes, despite air travel being faster.
Personal luxury yachts are another fancy of the wealthy and are a symbol of power and prestige. The largest yacht �Azzam’ is owned by Sheikh Khalifa, the President of UAE followed by Roman Abramovich’s �Eclipse’.
So in the 21st century, ships still play a key role in our lives evolving in their purpose and becoming key players in day-to-day activities. Almost all of the world’s oil is still transported through gigantic tankers and most of the goods are moved through containers in cargo ships. They also play a key role in the leisure industry with dining cruises on harbours and boats that morph into venues for shows and parties.
Which brings me to another interesting thought� What will the ships of the future be like? Will they transform into huge floating cities with permanent residents? We’ll just have to wait and see!