Sovereign of the Seas - Throwback Thursday from 1999

In 1998 I had a growing list of friends who had taken cruises. I had dabbled with the idea of taking a cruise now and then.  As a kid living in southern California I had toured the Queen Mary and toured the old Sitmar Fairwind. I was also a huge Titanic buff even before the movie.  However when the movie came out, and with every friend I have, seemly going on one, I got pushed over the edge. So after vainly trying to find some folks to go with me, and pondering every cruise line on earth, I booked my first cruise.

After going around in circles with my travel agent debating lines, itineraries, dates, and ships, I settled on the Sovereign of the Seas. Several friends had cruised on her, and my research has made the ship of special interest to me.

The 4 and 3 night trips attract a younger crowd, and was highly recommended by my agent, online references, and a friend that was on it recently. I left on August second after driving to Tampa to visit my aunt. I stopped in Kennesaw Georgia on the way down, which is my favorite overnight stop from recent trips south.

Named after the ancient British Sailing ship of the same name, the Sovereign of the Seas was launched in 1988 and was the first of the "mega ships" which revolutionized the cruise industry. Prior to Sovereign, the average Caribbean cruise ship topped out in the 35,000 gross register ton range. The only ships larger were the Cunard Queen Elizabeth II and the former France, which had been rebuilt and named the Norway.

At more than 73,000 tons, she is longer than three football fields, and taller than a 15 story building. She can accommodate over 2,500 passengers, with several hundred crew members. She introduced the "Centrum" concept to the cruise industry, which is a large sky-lit atrium serving as the hub for the ship's passengers.

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