Picture a floating city, population 4,000 or more, sliding gracefully into Cornwall's Falmouth Harbour. The inhabitants debark, spend an afternoon in town shopping and sightseeing, and vanish with the ship by nightfall. |
Some relatively extensive work is needed, but there's a growing chance that it will happen -- and soon.
And if and when the dust settles from the potential dredging of Southwestern England's Falmouth Harbour, the port may be able to accommodate city-block size cruise ships like Royal Caribbean's Freedom-class giants.
The trio of Freedom-class vessels -- Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Independence of the Seas (which will homeport in Southampton when it debuts at the end of April) -- are amongst the most innovative in the industry, featuring surf simulators, huge rock-climbing walls, one of largest gyms afloat and flat-screen TV's in all staterooms.
But why Falmouth?
One of the deepest natural harbours in the world, the dredging would work to deepen the approach so that the Freedom-class ships could sail safely into port, with their 4,000-plus passengers in tow. A call in Falmouth would represent a new destination for many cruisers, who would be introduced to the area's quaint villages, lovely tall-ships and National Maritime Museum.
While this doesn't represent the first attempt by lines to single out Falmouth -- a number of ships, in an impressive variety of sizes and styles (luxury, mainstream, expedition) are already calling at the increasingly popular British port -- securing a ship of the Freedom-class size would be a major windfall for the port.
Of course, the prospect of 3,600 tourists descending upon the town during market day might strike some as a bit frightening.
--by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor