|Its all about ships
PROFILE AND REVIEW
Cruise line profile - Royal Caribbean - Oasis class - profile and review
Above: Oasis of the Seas
Above: Allure of the Seas.
Right: Harmony of the Seas.
Above: Harmony of the Seas.
Below: Symphony of the Seas.
Above: Symphony of the Seas.
Right: Wonder of the Seas under
construction in France. (Photo
courtesy of Royal Caribbean).
Above: Oasis of the Seas.
Right: Allure of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean's Oasis class includes: Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas,
Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas. A fifth ship, Wonder of the
Seas, is currently under construction.
The Oasis class ships are the largest cruise ships in the world. Their gross
tonnage - - the standard way of measuring the size of a cruise ship - - ranges
from 225,282 to 228,081 gross tons. All are approximately 1,188 feet long and
215 feet wide with a draft of 30 feet.
All of the ships provide a casual, resort-style cruise experience. However,
it is unlike the cruise experience offered on any other class of cruise ship
including the other classes of Royal Caribbean ships. There is so much space
on these ships that they can offer an unmatched number of options with regard to
entertainment, dining, sports, and leisure activities. In addition, the ships are
divided into sections, called “neighborhoods” each with its own character
ranging from a sophisticated city park complete with plants to an amusement
When the first two ships in class entered service (Oasis December 2009 and
Allure, December 2010), they presented a wide range of offerings designed to
appeal to everyone from the sophisticated traveler to the family vacationer.
Over the years, the more sophisticated features have tended to disappear. As a
result, of such changes, the cruise experience on the four ships is now pretty
much mass market family cruising.
The ships have a contemporary-style décor. Each ship has a large
collection of contemporary art. However, there is little emphasis on cultural
enrichment in the daily activities.
In the beginning, Royal thought that the Oasis class ships were
somewhat limited in their nautical abilities and thus would be
restricted to sailing the Caribbean. Furthermore, they would be
limited to certain ports where the special facilities had been
constructed for their use. However, experienced proved that the
ships were much more versatile than had been thought. As a result,
the Oasis ships have expanded their Caribbean itineraires and
have done several seasons of European cruising.
The first two ships also proved more popular than had been
antisipated, accounting for a disproportionate share of the line's
revenue. Therefore, after a gap of six years, a third Oasis class
ship, Harmony of the Seas, entered service. She was followed by
Symphony of the Seas two years later and, as mentioned earlier, a
fifth ship is under construction.
The first two ships in the Oasis class were built by STX
Europe in Turku, Finland. Oasis was completed and the time
for payment came due at the height of the World Financial
Crisis of 2009. With the credit markets frozen, there was
concern in the investment community that Royal would not be
able to raise the approximately one billion dollars it needed.
Royal's credit rating was lowered and the company's stock
sank. However, the Finish government stepped in and
guaranteed 95 percent of the debt. This enabled Royal to
obtain the needed money and the crisis passed.
Oasis and Allure were almost identical when they entered
service. However, Allure's first captain, Herman Zini,
noticed that the official measurements of the ship showed her
to be an inch or so longer than Oasis. Relying on this
difference, the Captain proclaimed that Allure was the world's
largest cruise ship. This notion caught on with and inspired
both the crew and passengers and so Allure became known for
her up-beat personality.
To build the later Oasis class ships, Royal turned to STX
France in St. Nazzaire. Among oher things this change in
builders eliminated the problem of how to get the ships out of
the Baltic under the Great Belt Bridge, which had been a
challenge for the first two ships.
Although the layout of the public areas is similar, there are
technological differences between the first two ships and the
second generation. For example, the second generation
actually ride on a carpet of bubbles released below the hull.
This makes for less friction and better fuel efficiency. Like
their earlier sisters, the second generation are listed as having
a cruising speed of 22 knots. However, Harmony of the Seas
reportedly clocked 25 knots during her sea trials.
The Oasis class ships are very stable, largely due to the
fact that they are so wide. It is usually difficult to tell that one
is at sea unless you have a view of the water. Of course, no
ship is immune from the power of the sea. On the way to her
maiden voyage, Oasis was caught in a hurricane. The first
lifeboats on either side were torn off by the waves. That is
why Oasis now has a steel barrier in front of these lifeboats.
The lifeboats on Allure, which was still under construction
when this incident occurred, are located further aft than on
To keep all the ships up-to-date, Royal has followed a
policy of retrofitting the earlier ships with new features that
premiere on the newer sisters. Thus, Oasis has the same 10-
story high “Ultimate Abyss” slide as on the second generation
In anticipation of a seaon based in New York harbor,
Oasis has also been retro-fitted with retractable smokestacks,
which should enable her to pass under the Veranzano Narrows
Bridge at the mouth of the harbor.
Above: Symphony and Oasis at Coco Cay in the Bahamas.