Seeing that great floating city (a terrible cliche but the only real way to describe it) tied up at the Napier Port last Sunday was truly staggering.

While it proudly bore the name Ovation of the Seas, in letters taller than our house, it could also have borne the title of Outstanding Logistics.

For here we had a giant cruise liner which tipped the scales (in nautical terms) of just over 168,000 tonnes and which, when at full capacity, could carry 4900 passengers.

Add the 1300 crew and the total is about 400 more than the combined populations of Waipawa and Waipukurau.


It was quite a sight, and worth being forced to crawl the car by at around 3km/h in a gridlocked stream of traffic which went almost as long as the liner.

Eighteen stories high it was, and the people we spotted on those remarkable great upper swathes of decking would have had a great view ... of hundreds of rubberneckers like us crawling by at 3km/h to check out their temporary home.

Not everyone goes ashore when they tie up, which when you catch sight of what's available within, is hardly surprising.

The ship is filled with shops, restaurants, bars, boulevards, gardens, thrill rides, theatres, lounges ... everything.

And it would be a determined and tireless passenger who could claim to have "seen it all", even after a 20-day stay aboard.

So yes, those logistics.

There are something like more than 20,000 meals required and therefore created every day.

Imagine if everyone on board, passengers and crew, ordered two eggs a day ... that's about 1030 dozen ... a day.

And if everyone fancied a cold can of fizzy (are you with me?) at the end of the day then that would be about 515 dozen.

If one were to budget on having a dozen fizzies a week well then that's close to 10 years worth ... in one day?

And don't think those parched folks aboard would not indulge in a cold one or three.
A day in this recent heat and gale blows encourages a healthy thirst.

The logistics of it all.

When I journeyed by sea to England back in '74 there was certainly a stark example of the logistics in supplying a ship and its passengers.

By Acapulco the beer supplies were effectively dry.

All the Fosters they'd brought aboard at Sydney were gone and we were down to oddball draughts and ciders ... the Aussie boys went ballistic.

They went even ballistic when it was noticed that great pallets of some American brew were being winched aboard in Mexico.

I cannot repeat here what they said.

Big ships have big appetites ... for everything.

And in this day and age there has to be allowances for every appetite, for there are vegetarians and vegans among us and they have their own preferences which need to be catered for, as they too have paid their way aboard.

What I remember clearly is that while we went ashore the storage and stacking crews went to work to restock pretty well everything, and at one stage it was fascinating to watch a couple of locals take the opportunity to don caps with words like "Cargo" on them and carry cartons up the gangway.

They were potential stowaways.

Believe me, the security back then was, to say the least, a tad lax ... although they did get rounded up eventually.

Getting on and off, at the start and the end, was challenging, and you could almost hear the united sigh of relief from the crew ... although in a couple of days they would be back in the logistics game again ... dealing with, coping with, advising and organising people ... and praying that 35,000 dozen cans of Fosters would be sufficient.

A documentary on Prime this weekend uncovers and reveals the game of cruise ship logistics, in terms of dealing with so many people in such a confined space of time.

The Cruise, Prime at 7.30pm Sunday: This series follows the (I'll use that word again) "logistics" of dealing with so many people aboard a great cruise liner who of course have so many individual demands, not to mention pieces of luggage. And this episode focuses on the luggage issue, as the crew have to check in and check out about 3300 people who collectively have around 10,000 items of luggage.


Underage and on the Stage, TV1 at 9.05pm tonight: It is an absolute joy to see the little kids performing in their school plays, choirs or musicals. They're part of a performing team and the looks on their faces when the applause sounds is priceless. They all play whatever part they want to play. There is however another side to youngsters taking the stage, and this doco' touches on that other side ... the pushy parents who have high aims for their youngsters. There are some genuinely talented and ambitious kids here, but there's always the obsessive folks factor to dull things a bit.

CRC Motorsport, TV3 at 1pm Sunday: Part of this four-hour pursuit of motorsport action involves some motorbikes taking a bit of a tootle around the normally serene streets of outer Wanganui. The Boxing Day road races are a traditional piece of the great motorcycle racing jigsaw in this land, and seeing them live is remarkable ... and slightly frightening. Kerbs and straw bales and whatever ... these guys don't mess about and when they cross those railway lines ... whoa. I did a couple of laps there aboard a slightly quick V4 Yamaha back in the '80s and decided ... I'll spectate for now thanks.