We recently wrote an article introducing our readers to Freedom Ship, the biggest ship of all time (if it’s ever built). We explained the basic plan and aim of the Freedom Ship endeavor, which boiled down to this: the goal isn’t so much to build the biggest ship ever (in part because Freedom Ship isn’t a traditional ship at all) as it is to create a “city at sea,” a community of workers, vacationers, and retirees that float around the world’s oceans. Although it is not clear if Freedom Ship will ever be built, it’s a fascinating concept, and after writing an introduction to the project, we couldn’t help but dig a little deeper. Based on the claims of the project’s promotional material, we thought it would be interesting to imagine what life on board Freedom Ship would be like. What is it like to live in a city at sea, one with no tie to fixed earth?
Having never actually lived in a city that floats around the world, it’s hard to say. Freedom Ship is supposed to be many things if it is ever built, and the experience will be different depending on your relationship to the ship. (We could use the word “supposed” or “supposedly” a million times, but instead of being so tedious we will just write as if the project will one day occur, even though this is far from certain.) There will be 40,000 residents and 20,000 full-time crew members on board the ship – these are the people who will actually live at sea. Since there will be permanent residents, essential services will be available on board the ship. There will be an educational system that will offer a highly unique learning experience. Although there will be traditional classroom sessions, a lot of educational experience will be direct, as students will be uniquely positioned to see much of the world as the ship travels around. There will also be healthcare services available, including those offered by private practices and “a large state-of-the-art Western-medicine and Eastern-medicine hospital.” Other basic services like transportation will also be available. People will get around the ship on a subway system, and one can come and go from the ship by plane or ferry, as both an airport (for small planes) and port authority will be built into the ship.
There will also be lots of entertainment and recreational opportunities available on board the ship, and this is where the permanent resident experience and visitor experience converge. A huge duty-free shopping mall will be built for the ship, and there will also be a large commercial district with various shops, businesses, and restaurants. There will also be a library and technology, history, and art museums on board the ship. A casino is part of the ship’s plan, as is a large convention hall for sporting and entertainment events. Finally, recreational and athletic facilities will be open to the public. Both permanent residents and visitors will be able to enjoy these amenities, and since the ship plans to stay close to the shoreline, ever-changing parts of the world will constantly be accessible to the people on the ship.
If Freedom Ship is every built, it will truly be a city at sea. On board, the fundamental components of a city will be present, and seemingly much more. Moreover, since the ship will constantly be in different parts of world, the travel opportunities available to residents of the ship will be unparalleled. Of course, it’s impossible to predict with any level of accuracy what life would be like on Freedom Ship, and the promotional materials almost certainly make the experience seem more idyllic than it actually will be, but one thing is for sure: living on Freedom Ship would be radically different than living anywhere else in the world.