NBA Dream Team Books Cruise Ship Housing for Olympics
With stories circulating of plumbing and electrical problems in the official housing for the Rio Olympics, some participants appear to have taken a smart form of insurance: booking a cruise ship for accommodation during the games.
The NBA basketball stars playing for the United States at the Olympics have chartered the boutique luxury cruise ship Silver Cloud, a 400-passenger vessel which usually books its 200 suites at a rate of at least $13,000 per week (for two passengers).
The "Dream Team," as it is known, has not stayed in standard athlete housing since the 1992 Olympics. "We don't stay in the village because we don't feel it's the best way to prepare for competition," spokesman Craig Miller told the AP. "The players have a long professional season and they want to spend as much time as possible with family and friends."
Security measures will be tight. A bulletproof fence guarded by police will keep the ship private. "The Federal Police will also have two boats . . . that they will be used to prevent navigation near the vessel," said port operations director Alexandre Gomes, who added that the ship will be moored far from the other cruise ships which will call during the games.
The international Olympic organizing committee and its corporate sponsors will also be staying in floating accommodations. The 2,000-room Norwegian Getaway will be leaving its usual rotation of Caribbean ports to stay at Rio for the duration of the games. The location will put dignitaries right next door to Rio's recently revitalized port district, the result of a $7 billion infrastructure and development project which demolished an elevated roadway, built out miles of new roads and sidewalks, and created a new waterfront promenade.
The basketball players and organizers will be skipping the housing specially constructed for the event, the Olympic Village, and it appears that they will be skipping on its associated problems as well.
Team Australia made an unusual public statement in late July condemning the state of their housing. "I have never experienced, this is my fifth Olympic game, a village in this state — or lack of state — of readiness at this point and time," said Kitty Chiller, head of Australian delegation. The team said that deficiencies in the apartments included leaking pipes, exposed electrical wires, dirty floors, dark stairwells and blocked toilets. The British teams reportedly hired their own plumber to be on standby to deal with leaks and other problems.
The 2016 Olympics will open this Friday.