Oasis of the Seas on her sea trials.
Photo courtesy Royal Caribbean
In 45 days, the largest cruise ship ever built will sail into its new homeport of Ft. Lauderdale for the first time, and whether a ship that size is your cup of tea or not, Royal Caribbean undeniably has a major industry event on their hands.

Oasis of the Seas is the latest incarnation of a long history of innovation for Royal Caribbean.  Sovereign of the Seas made waves (no pun intended) in January 1988 as the largest cruise ship ever built at 73,192 GRT – a title that was later claimed by Voyager of the Seas in 1999, Explorer of the Seas in 2000, Navigator of the Seas in 2002, Freedom of the Seas in 2006, and Independence of the Seas in 2008. 

Oasis of the Seas plans to claim that title by a large margin.  The specs are impressive:

Tonnage: 225,000 GRT
Length: 1,181 feet
Beam: 154 feet
Height: 213 feet (above water line)
Draft: 30 feet
Decks: 18 Passenger
Speed: 20.2 knots cruising / 23.8 knots max.
Propulsion: 3 azimuthing electric propulsion pods
Capacity: 5,400 Pax (double occupancy); 7,300 pax (all berths)

To put this in perspective: the ship is longer and wider than the RMS Queen Mary 2, but not taller.  At 148,528 GRT, the QM2 has a deeper draft (33 feet) and greater speed (29.62 knots), and is propelled by 4 azipods.  The ship only hold 2,620 passengers and 1,253 officers and crew.

The major jaw-dropper with Oasis of the Seas is undeniably her capacity: with all third and fourth berths full, the ship holds a whopping 7,300 passengers.  To put that in perspective, that’s the entire passenger compliment of the QM2 almost three times over.  And that doesn’t include officers or crew.  Remember The Love Boat?  The original Pacific Princess could fit her entire passenger compliment inside Oasis of the Seas eleven and a half times over!

Don’t let that get you down though – this is, after all, Royal Caribbean.  They didn’t just wake up one morning and say “let’s build us a superliner!”  Oasis represents a twenty-year evolution in building bigger and better ships that are executed beautifully.  Careful thought has been given to passenger movement and flow, and activities and public rooms are spread out over a greater number of decks in an effort to reduce crowding.

Speaking of activities and public rooms, picture this: a zip line.  A carousel.  A poolside theatre.  A bar that is also an elevator.   Tying it all together?  An outdoor promenade ‘neighborhood.’  Other notable features include four pools and ten whirlpools, dual ‘flowriders’ that allow you to surf while onboard, two rock climbing walls, a min-golf course, and an adults-ony solarium. 

Staterooms range from standard interior staterooms to dual-level suites, and represent all budgets and tastes. 

Built at a whopping cost of $1.2 billion USD, the Oasis of the Seas represents a number of firsts for the cruise industry and indeed in terms of ship design itself.  Her future sister, Allure of the Seas, is already under construction at the STX shipyards in Turku, Finland. 

There are plenty of exciting newbuilds coming in the next yea, but arguably none will be watched closer by passengers and industry insiders alike than the launch of Oasis of the Seas this December.  Royal Caribbean is on-stage for what could be the greatest magic show in cruising history – now they just have to get the rabbit out of the hat.

Oasis of the Seas will begin a variety of Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises starting this December.  For more information about the ship, her itineraries and innovations, visit the official Oasis of the Seas Website. 


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