Aker Yards, Turku, Finland
Oasis of the Seas is the first of the Oasis Class (formerly the Genesis Class or project Genesis) luxury cruise ships in the Royal Caribbean International (RCI) fleet. The ship was ordered in February 2006 and the keel was laid in December 2007. It entered service in December 2009.
With an estimated build cost of $1.24bn, the 16-deck ship is one of the largest cruise ships afloat, with 220,000gt (43% more than the Freedom Class ships) and a double occupancy capacity of 5,400 passengers in 2,700 staterooms. The ship was built in the Aker Yards at Turku, Finland, and was followed by its sister vessel Allure of the Seas, which entered service in November 2010.
Royal Caribbean International took delivery of Oasis of the Seas from STX Europe on 28 October 2009 in Turku. On 2 November, the ship passed through the Solent and made a brief stop on the UK’s south coast en route from Finland before preparing to cross the Atlantic.
The official naming ceremony for Oasis of the Seas took place on 30 November 2009. In December, a four-night launch celebration began before leaving Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on 5 December.
Finnish Export Credit, a unit of Finnvera, financed 40% of the ship’s cost while BNP Paribas, Nordea Bank and SEB financed 20% each.
In May 2019, Oasis of the Seas underwent a $165m modernisation to include a Caribbean-inspired pool deck, kids aquapark, signature bar and a water slide as part of the Royal Amplified fleet modernisation effort.
Royal Caribbean ordered the third Oasis-class cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas, in December 2012. The new vessel was built at the STX France’s St. Nazaire shipyard at a cost of $1.3bn. The steel cutting for the vessel was held in September 2013 and it became the world’s largest cruise ship when it was delivered in May 2016.
The cruise ship has an overall length of 1,181ft (360m), a beam of 154ft (47m), a height above the waterline of 213ft (65m) and a draft of 30ft (9m). The ship is powered by eight Wartsila V12 diesel engines generating 17,500hp each. The main propulsion system consists of three 20MW azimuthing Asea Brown Boveri Azipods to give the ship a cruising speed of 20.2kt.
Oasis has the distinction of being one of the largest commercial ships to be constructed. Aside from the normal range of bars and restaurants, the ship has a number of facilities that are unique on a cruise ship.
Features include a full-size carousel (27 figures), zip-line cable (nine decks high), Central Park, two rock-climbing walls and the AquaTheatre amphitheatre (the largest freshwater pool on any cruise ship), as well as the Rising Tide bar which moves up and down three decks in Central Park.
The luxury cruise liner is divided into seven neighbourhoods with different themes, including Central Park, Boardwalk (reminiscent of a seaside pier) and the Royal Promenade.
The open-air Central Park occupies the centre of the ship and forms a unique public gathering place, including pathways, flower gardens and a canopy of trees. The central piazza is a multipurpose space for alfresco dining, entertainment, concerts and street performances. The Central Park neighbourhood is lined with 334 staterooms (254 with balconies) rising five decks high and offering views of the park.
Restaurants include 150 Central Park, the Central Park Café (picnic lunches), Antonio’s Table (Italian restaurant), Vintages wine bar, Chops Grille steakhouse, the Canopy Bar and Rising Tide bar. The park also hosts two glass-arched domes called the Crystal Canopies, which provide natural light for the inside decks of the ship. Central Park has a range of boutique shops, a chess garden, a pergola garden and a sculpture garden.
The AquaTheatre is an outdoor venue at the stern of the ship near the Boardwalk neighbourhood. The amphitheatre space offers a kidney-shaped pool (swimming and scuba diving) and sun loungers on tiered platforms.
At night, the pool can be used for performances such as acrobatics, synchronised swimming, water ballet, high-diving and fountain shows. The AquaTheatre pool has a dimension of 21.9ft by 51.6ft with a depth of 17.9ft.
There are three-stage machinery devices to raise or lower its depth for different usage and three lifts for multilevel performances. Underwater cameras can film performances and project the images on two giant Barco LED screens around the stage.
There are also two diving towers, two springboards, two ten-metre-high dive platforms and a trampoline between the dive towers.
A trapeze is built on the rear side of the high dive boards. Trapeze artists seem to climb the curtain of water.
The ship has a wide range of accommodation, including suites, family suites and staterooms. However, a new concept introduced on Oasis is the loft suite.
There are 25 of these two-level accommodation spaces (crown lofts) with private balconies and floor space of around 51m² (545ft²).
In the lofts, there are 52in LCD televisions, two bathrooms, fog-free mirrors and limestone tiles.
There are also three other loft types. The Royal Loft Suite (1,524ft²) can accommodate six people, and has its own baby grand piano, inside and outside dining room, private wet bar, whirlpool, library and an 843ft² square feet (78.3m²) balcony.
The two corner Sky Loft Suites are larger than the standard ones, giving up to 770ft² of floor space, a separate dining room and a spacious balcony.
There are also two accessible crown lofts, which are slightly larger than the standard ones and with better access for disabled passengers.
The cruise ship includes Royal Caribbean International’s first barbeque restaurant, Portside BBQ. Other dining options at the ship are Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, Bionic Bar by Makr Shakr, El Loco Fresh and Sugar Beach.
The entertainment facilities aboard the Oasis of the Seas include One Sky, Spotlight Karaoke, Music Hall and family adventures such as All-new Adventure Ocean, Social298, Glow-in-the-dark laser tag and Royal Escape Room-Mission Control: Apollo 18.
The ship also features the Splashaway Bay kids aquapark, The Lime & Coconut signature bar, the Perfect Storm trio of waterslides and the Ultimate Abyss for guest entertainment.
The initial ship design began in 2004-05 and included a number of designers and architects such as Atkins Global, NB&D, RTKL, Waterfield Design Group and Wilson Butler Architects.
The ship sailed with seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Miami, US, in November 2019 and headed to New York in May 2020. It repositioned to its summer home at Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey, offered seven-night sailings to The Bahamas and visited Royal Caribbean’s newly transformed private island destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay.
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