S1608-19 Maiden Voyage 29-5-16 Andrew Cooke

Hot on the heels of the delivery of the third Quantum Class ship, the 168,666gt Ovation of the Seas, the Oasis III, named Harmony of the Seas, was delivered on 12th May 2016.

The Oasis and Quantum Classes have increased at very differing paces. The first Oasis Class ship, the ground breaking 225,282gt Oasis of the Seas, was delivered in October 2009 with her sister, Allure of the Seas, following in 2010. Both were built at the Perno Shipyard, Turku, Finland.

The first two Quantum Class ships were ordered in 2011 and delivered in October 2014 (Quantum of the Seas) and April 2015 (Anthem of the Seas) from the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany. The third class member was ordered in 2013 and delivered in April 2016 as the Ovation of the Seas. A fourth Quantum Class was ordered in May 2015 (delivery 2019) and a fifth was signed and sealed on 3rd November 2015.

The Oasis of the Seas was a giant leap forward in cruise ship design and construction. Her maximum passenger capacity of 6,296 (5,400 double occupancy) outstripped the 4,370 passenger capacity (double occupancy) of the 154,407gt/2008 built Independence of the Seas, the third member of the Freedom Class that had previously held the title of world’s largest cruise ship. The world of passenger shipping had never before seen a ship on the scale of the Oasis – the “impossible” had been achieved by Richard D. Fain (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.), Harri Kulovaara (Executive Vice President, Maritime, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.) and the design team.

If the measurements were correct, the Allure of the Seas surpassed her 361.60m long older sister by measuring 40mm longer at 362m. The Oasis III was designed to be both longer and broader. The overall length of the Harmony is 362.12m and the extreme breadth is 66m compared to the 362m length and 60.50m beam of the Allure of the Seas. The Harmony of the Seas is 50m longer than the Eiffel Tower is high.

Royal Caribbean International (RCI) has been at the forefront of the progression of cruising and first achieved the title of the world’s largest cruise ship in 1987 when the 73,529gt Sovereign of the Seas (Sovereign Class) was launched. The 137,276gt Voyager of the Seas (Voyager Class) took that title in 1999 with the “largest” of this quintet of ships, the Explorer of the Seas, offering a gross tonnage of 138,194gt due to differing facilities on board. The trio of Freedom Class ships claimed the title when the 154,407gt Freedom of the Seas was delivered in 2006 with the boundaries being pushed considerably further by the Oasis Class.

RCI was founded in 1968 as Royal Caribbean Cruise Line by Norwegian shipping operators Anders Wilhelmsen & Company, I.M. Skaugen & Company and Gotaas Larsen. The new cruise line unveiled its first ship, the Song of Norway, two years later. The Nordic Prince joined the fleet in 1971 followed by the Sun Viking in 1972. Four years later passenger growth demanded more capacity so the Song of Norway became their first passenger ship to be lengthened. RCI has also placed itself at the cutting edge of cruise ship technology with new innovations to attract a new generation of cruisers. The wow factor is a top priority, so much so that WOW has become one of the company’s trademarks.

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