Thanks to the lightweight design principles adopted by William Francis Gibbs, 'SS United States' actually has a relatively shallow draught compared to the cruise liners of today. The 'Costa' ships draw about 46 feet when afloat, whereas the 'United States' draws only 33 feet. A detailed local hydrographic survey carried out in summer 2016 in the Caribbean ports to which I was referring shows a minimum dockside and harbour water depth which would be sufficient for the 'United States' to safely navigate the approaches and to berth alongside the dock. These charted figures have been checked by sonar and lead lines.
Looking at the statistics, 'United States' has one less deck than a 'Costa' (12 against 13) and is about 15% slimmer on the beam (101' compared with 116'). So the usable volume within the hull and superstructure is about 20% less on the American ship. She's certainly big enough for the job, without the addition of more decks. In any case, this is all about quality, not quantity. When you drive through the suburbs of south Florida, checking out the houses and cars will show that these potential passengers aren't looking for budget deals. Offer them a berth on the fastest liner in the world, tell them it's American, and watch them fight for tickets!
My main work as an architect involves buildings on terra firma, including large hotels. It is normal practice in that sector to completely gut and refit guest rooms and public areas every 4 to 6 years, usually a floor at a time. The work usually includes taking out the wall, floor and ceiling linings, removing all electrical and plumbing services and fittings, fitting updated wiring, pipework and electronics, installing an entirely new bathroom, and total redecoration, refitting and refurnishing. We are currently preparing to do this in a 600-room 5 star hotel in Cyprus in February, in a fast-track programme lasting just 25 days, with three teams working in shifts 24/7. It's an expensive process, but necessary if hotel operators want guests to provide repeat business and recommend the hotel to new guests. The cabins of cruise ships, and their public spaces, have to be regularly refurbished in the same manner. So the fact that the 'United States' would require a complete interior refit is not a dealbreaker. Whichever way it is calculated, putting the ship back into the cruise business is going to cost close a billion US dollars before any income is generated. Most potential 'investors' for the 'United States' have fallen by the wayside because they could not pass Due Diligence tests. They couldn't really provide the cashflow and/or security that the deal requires. Of course, they'll never admit that, but will externalise the blame with diplomatic PR language.
'SS United States' needs to be looked at as a unique venture, not just as another potential cruise ship among many. There certainly is a place for her in the expanding market, for the reasons I described in my previous post. The new concept for the ship has to be inspiring, well-informed and viable. None of the schemes I have seen so far are good enough. I'm hoping that a respectable shipping line will see fit to say: "No, we're not going use a billion Dollars to commission another just another anonymous white box, we're going to do something imaginative, intelligent, historically significant and, by the way, profitable!". Fingers crossed, people...