Floating Hotel: Unusual Way to Use a Cruise Ship. Part 1 | CruiseBe
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Floating Hotel: Unusual Way to Use a Cruise Ship. Part 1

6 minutes read • July 10th, 2018
Dear cruise lovers! We decided to talk about an unusual way to use a cruise ship, and here’s why.
Last week, JTB Corporation, the largest travel agency in Japan, announced that the Princess Cruises’ representative, Sun Princess, would be chartered as a

floating hotel

for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Previously it became known that MSC CruisesMSC Lirica also will house guests of this sports event.
We believe several more cruise liners will become ships hotels in Tokyo in 2020.
By the way, Qatar already expressed intention to use cruise ships to accommodate visitors during the World Cup tournament in 2022.
floating hotel cruise ship
Photo by Suzumiya Haruka/Wiki/CC BY 2.0

We should note that this won’t be the first time when the cruise ship serves as the floating hotel. For example, legendary Princess Patricia, Sunward, Viking Serenade, MSC Melody, SS Norway, and many other ships were hotels at some point of their career.
However, in recent years, such an unusual use of cruise ships is becoming more and more popular. Liners help to avoid problems with accommodation of guests during important events such as the Super Bowl, World Cup, Olympics, etc., and it is often the famous modern cruise ships that become temporary floating hotels.
We offer you to check several cases when well-known liners tried themselves in the unusual role.

Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 became one of the main “guests” of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, or rather, one of the most important “workers” since she performed a function of the hotel ship. Queen Mary 2 accommodated athletes families. Besides, she became a temporary home for then UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac, and US President Bush.
In Athens, Queen Mary 2 was also joined by other cruise ships, including Ocean Countess, World Renaissance, Silver Whisper, and other vessels.
floating hotel cruise ship
©  Public Domain/Pixabay  

When the whole world watched the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, two representatives of Holland America Line, MS Noordam and MS Westerdam, played a significant role. The vessels helped to ease accommodation shortages during one of the world's most important sports events.
floating hotel cruise ship
© Public Domain/Wikimedia

For the duration of the London 2012 Olympics, Fred. Olsen Cruise LinesMS Braemar was docked on the River Thames and housed people who worked at the Olympic site. By the way, she wasn’t alone there. Her sister ship, Gemini, also accommodated key workers shoulder-to-shoulder with Braemar. Two vessels provided a combined capacity of 2,000 guests.
floating hotel cruise ship
Photo by kees torn/Wiki/CC BY-SA 2.0

Next ship we’d like to mention in this article has a big experience in this sphere. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Getaway turned into the hotel during Super Bowl XLVIII in New York. It’s interesting to know that the vessel was even temporary rechristened the “Bud Light Hotel.”
floating hotel cruise ship
Photo by Dickelbers/Wiki/CC BY-SA 3.0

Besides, Getaway provided lodging space during Rio 2016. The liner housed the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee.
floating hotel cruise ship
Photo by kees torn/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Residents and visitors of Sochi had a unique opportunity to admire several world-famous cruise liners during the 2014 Winter Olympics. And not just to admire but also live on them. Louis Olympia, Thomson Spirit, Grand Holiday, Norwegian Jade – it is far from being a complete list of all vessels that were chartered as the hotels for this significant event.
floating hotel cruise ship
Photo by Abxbay/Wiki/CC BY-SA 3.0

In 2016, during the Summer Olympics in Rio, Silversea CruisesSilver Cloud helped Norwegian Getaway to avoid problems with accommodation. 296-guests vessel welcomed aboard the US basketball team.
floating hotel cruise ship
Photo by Pjotr Mahhonin/Wiki/CC BY-SA 4.0

Of course, the list of modern cruise ships that served as the hotels is much longer, but we just can’t mention them all in our article.

By the way, it is essential to note that cruise liners were used as additional accommodation not just during entertaining events but also during important aid missions. For example, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Fascination spent four months (October 2017-February 2018) in Saint Croix, the U.S. Virgin Islands. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) used the vessel to accommodate relief workers who helped the island to recover after Hurricane Maria.
Carnival Fascination was not the only cruise ship chartered by FEMA. Bahamas Paradise’s Grand Celebration spent three months in St. Thomas, the U.S. Virgin Islands ruined by Hurricane Irma. Gemini also spent 45 days in the Caribbean housing emergency response crews.
floating hotel cruise ship
© Public Domain/Pixabay

The use of cruise ships as hotels is very convenient and profitable. It helps to accommodate more guests at the event, avoid the construction of housing for Olympic teams, etc. Of course, first of all, this option is ideal for port cities. For example, it was impossible to charter cruise ships for Beijing 2008 since there is no harbor in the city.


Today we talked about the cruise ships that were temporarily chartered to serve as the floating hotels. Besides, many legendary liners were laid up and turned into the full-fledged hotels after finishing their cruise career. However, we'll talk about them next time so stay tuned!

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