by NickFord on 01/09/09 at 3:34 am
The largest cruise ship ever is undergoing sea trials. The largest cruise liner ever is the Oasis of the Seas.
I am always intrigued by the largest ships in the world. The demand for Caribbean cruises is such that nine or ten new cruise liners have entered service in that market in every year since 2001. When new liners enter this market older vessel relocated to the Asian cruise market.
The Caribbean cruise market is competitive. The primary tour operators are Carnival and Royal Caribbean International. Both companies have steadily increase the size of their ships to take advantage of the growing market and economies of scale that come from a larges ship.
Whereas Carnival likes to be conservative increasing size from known designs Royal Caribbean International is ambitious. The Freedom class of ships owned and operated by Royal Caribbean are already the largest cruise liners in operational service. These are MS Freedom of the Seas, MS Liberty of the Seas and MS Independence of the Seas. A fourth ship is expected by 2011.
Source: Wikipedia. The Freedom of the Seas is 1,112 feet (339 m) long, sits 209 feet (64 m) above the water line, and measures 160,000 gross tons.
In February 2006 Royal Caribbean International ordered an even larger ship. The STX Europe shipyard in Turku, Finland has built the Oasis of the Seas. The keel was laid down in 2007 and the ship was launched on 22 November 2008. Sea trials took place on 10th June 2009.
Picture showing the Oasis of the Seas in June 2009. Source: Wikipedia
Everything about the Oasis of the Seas is immense. The gross registered tonnage (GRT) will be 220,000 tons (compare this to the 160,00 ton GRT for the Freedom of the Seas). The ship will have 16 decks, carry 5,400 guests at double occupancy and 2,700 state rooms.
Within the cruising industry ship design is the hardware. Attention to the software, such as interior design and day to day operation is just as important.
To date, Carnival have had a good reputation for interior design. Carnival use standard ship designs then personalise each vessel.
Royal Caribbean International intends to divide their ship into a number of themed neighbourhoods.
These will be:
- The Broadwalk
- The Royal Promenade
- The Central Park
- The Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center
- The Pool and Sports Zone
- The Entertainment Place
- The Youth Zone
Construction of a sister ship in the Oasis class began in February 2008. The Allure of the Seas is expected to be launched in November 2010.
The Oasis of the Seas will operate out of Fort Lauderdale. Cruises will alternate between the western and Eastern Caribbean. The maiden voyage to the Western Caribbean takes place on 12 December 2009. Tickets are available from 3rd September 2009.
If you enjoyed this article you might also enjoy Cruising with the Oasis of the Seas which takes a look at the winter interary.