A neat part of the SAS shipboard experience is the bridge tour. In a relatively small group of 15 people we are taken into the back stage area of the Union and then via key pad entry (which was not nearly as impressive as I had first thought when I realized that the magical sound that occurred when the crew member entered the code was actually just Ana turning on her annoying loud camera) we are taken into the Bridge – the main control station for the ship. As we walked in the first thing we noticed was that on one was sitting at the Captain’s chair. Should we be concerned?
The crew member told us all about the systems, from the high tech to the very low tech. He asked what the most important piece of equipment in the room is and being a smart ass of course I said the coffee maker. Obviously there is THE Captain but the ship has a crew of 30 who work the bridge from the mappers (probably not the technical name) to the mechanical guys. He showed us the satellite phones, the GPS, the radars, the ship-to-ship instant messenger type thing, and the night vision capabilities.
As I had heard before, he told us that our ship is the fasted ship of its kind in the world. A wife of a faculty member asked about what sort of defense the ship has against pirates (ARRRRR!) and the crew member said with a smile and the push of a button on the computer showing four huge engines (only one of which is usually used) ‘we would just outrun them’. He told us that if we went full speed we would have made it from Halifax to Cadiz in 4 days instead of the 7 we are taking to allow time for classes. However in our last days of travel the Captain will ‘let it rip’ and push to all 4 engines towards San Diego so we can experience it. A few of my co workers were joking today that the Captain would come on and in his awesome British announcer voice say “Attention ship’s passengers, attention ships passengers. HOLD ON”