World City Phoenix
In the early eighties, the founder of Norwegian Cruise Line hired a ship-design firm to create something the world had never seen before. At 225,000 tonnes, it would have been six times larger than other cruise ships at the time. Many of its designs and immense physical scale were finally realized in the Oasis of the Seas, twenty-five years later, which featured the Phoenix’s neighborhoods concept and maximized the number of balcony suites onboard. Like Brunel’s S.S. Great Eastern, the Phoenix was planned decades before the world was ready for it.
The shipbuilding was set to take place in the United States, where the ship would also be flagged (but this wasn’t always the plan, as the concept drawings show Norwegian flags on the vessel and tender). At the time, there were a few US laws in place that prevented construction and flagging; notably, gambling was illegal on US-flagged vessels, and tax deductions on business meetings and conventions couldn’t occur if the ship visited foreign ports. Repeated attempts at changing US laws to win cruising rights ultimately landed Norwegian with the most successful ship sailing to Hawaii: the Pride of America. As a US-flagged vessel, it is the only large cruise ship that can sail between the Hawaiian islands without going out of the way to visit a foreign port during the journey.
I spent a long time looking at the plans and information for the Phoenix on the design firm’s website. When I finally reached out, they were kind enough to send me more materials, including hand-drawn deck plans for most of the ship. I have isolated each deck and stacked the plans to create a wire-frame model in 3D software. I would like to contribute to this project by bringing the ship to life. It will live as a virtual-reality render, or perhaps even as a 3D-printed object. Check back for more updates as the project progresses.