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As the first glints of sun appeared in the east, we were five miles from Venice.
As the Corinthian slipped into the Venetian lagoon, the dawn light strengthened and lit up the sleeping city’s monuments one by one: the dazzling white marble façade of the church of San Giorgio Maggiore; the faint pink Gothic pinnacles of the Doge’s Palace.
After Southampton, the ship will sail for Vigo, Spain, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
But, rather than encouraging its travellers to contemplate the seven seas and the wonders of foreign countries, the Oasis just replicates the anonymous, stateless pleasures of your local shopping mall.
The good ship Corinthian arrived in Venice at dawn.
My compliments to the gods for stage-managing a heavenly light show with perfect timing.
The Oasis passengers injected half-a-million pounds into the local economy in their single day docked at Southampton.
There are 10,000 square metres of retail space, more 20 restaurants and 37 bars — including one, the Rising Tide, which goes up and down between three decks.The Oasis has one great thing going for it — it can travel the planet, unlike hotels that can’t help being glued to the land.Of all the attractions aboard the Oasis, the two most depressing on offer are the biggest swimming pool at sea and not one, but two, surfing machines.What on earth is the point of a swimming pool, however big, and fake waves, when you are sailing through the biggest pool in the world — the sea itself?
The £800 million ship, weighing 225,282 tonnes, is 40 per cent bigger than any other vessel that’s ever docked in Britain. What a spectacular feat of Finnish engineering the Oasis Of The Seas is! Of course, you are there to enjoy yourselves with friends and family, but you are also there to drink in the wonder of being at sea, miles away from the hurly-burly of the office, from the hellish squeeze of the 7.23am to Charing Cross, from the endless chatter and noise of island life.
The sea turned a deep blue — the ‘wine-dark’ sea, as the ancient Greek poet Homer called it in the Iliad and the Odyssey — as the purple, hump-backed Cyclades islands glowed in the soft orange rays of the setting sun.