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Oasis Of The Seas

Background

One time, nobody expected that passengerships could become bigger than the big trio from the 1930's, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary of Cunard Line and Normandie of the Compagnie Generale Transatlantique. With some more then 80.000 ton these ships were the largest man-made moving objects in history. In the 1970's, the ideal size for a cruiseship was thought to be around 20.000 tons, and some people stated that the industry had seen the growth it could handle.

Oasis Of The Seas is seen leaving Rotterdam at the 14th of october 2014, after her visit to the yards of Keppel Verolme. She was there for a two-week overhaul. Here, she is passing the 1958-built Rotterdam, quite a difference. Nice to see the largest ship that has ever visited The Netherlands together with the largest ship that was ever built in The Netherlands and compare the huge differences that have been made in passengership-design in this 60-year period. Keep in mind that when the Rotterdam was introduced, at that time she was the sixth largest passengership in the world.

In 1984, Royal Princess came out and she was over 40.000 tons. A few years later, Royal Caribbean International introduced three ships of more then 70.000 tons, the Sovereign-class. When introduced, Sovereign Of The Seas was the fourth large oceanliner ever constructed, indeed, just behind the big trio of the 1930's. After Sovereign Of The Seas and her sisters Monarch Of The Seas and Majesty Of The Seas, Royal Caribbean kept competing for the biggest cruiseships in the world untill they reached something that we now say will never be topped.

They reached this via de Eagle-class of around 140.000 tons (of which Navigator Of The Seas is featured at this site) followed by the Freedom-class of ships that measure 155.000 tons. During the introduction of this last class, Royal Caribbean also introduced another thing, the Genesis-class. In doing so, the unreachable America World City, brainchild of Kloster, became a reality in a different shape. Nobody thought they can really realize their plans, but now the thirth ship in service and a fourth in the planning stages.

Oasis Of The Seas earlier that same day at the Wilhelminakade at Rotterdam. 

Construction and general statistics

The Genesis class measures around 220.000 tons. The ships are 361,60 meters long, 60,50 meters wide, 72 meters high and a maximum capacity of 6360 passengers and 2394 crewmembers. The crew comes from over 65 countries, making it a very international bunch. Titanic can dissappear in the hull, well, five times. Queen Mary, the once thought megaship, can also fit in her hull, almost three times. Queen Mary 2, the largest passengership in the world in 2004, can also get comfortable within. She fits easily with still room enough for half her size a second time. The ships draft reaches 9,30 meters, not as deep as you'd think. But because she has a very wide, flat hull, she is a very stable ship. This was tested during one of her trials in the Atlantic, when she deliberately faced winds up to hurricane force and seas above 12 meters. The ships topspeed is 22,6 knots and she is driven by three 20 MW Azipods and four 5,5 MW bowthrusters. Those are driven by three 16-cylinder and tree 12-cylinder diesel engines designed by Wärtsilä. There are 19 decks in total, of which 16 decks are accessible for the passengers and they can use 24 elevators to go from one to the other. The passengers are housed in 2706 cabins, of which a staggering 1956 have a balcony, 254 are outside cabins and just 496 inside. Of those cabins, 46 are accessible by wheelchair. This all is registered at the Bahamas with homeport Nassau. As environmentfriendliness is very important in cruiseship construction these years, Oasis Of The Seas is partially powered by solar energy. Some 21.000 square feet of solarpanels are placed atop deck 19 and provide energy for the lighting on the Royal Promenade and Central Park.  

The first of these monsters of the seas was ordered from the STX Europe yards at Turku, Finland during february of 2006. Her keel was laid, as we say, at the 12th of november of 2007. She measures the exact tonnage of 225.282. Of course a cruiseship of this size had never been built, so when the ship left the building dock for the first time, the tugboats had a very difficult job and the new cruiseliner bumped into the side of the dock. It caused some minor damage, but nothing that could postpone her delivery date at the 28th of october of 2009. Her floatout had been at the 21st of november 2008 and her name now was Oasis Of The Seas, a name that had been chosen out of a competition organized by RCI together with the USA Today newspaper during the spring of 2008. George Weiser, a 53-year old from Michigan, submitted the names Oasis Of The Seas and Allure Of The Seas, the second planned megaship and his names were chosen by the jury.

Oasis Of The Seas left the yard at the 30th of october 2009 for Fort Lauderdale. To reach this, she had to pass the Great Belt Bridge, between the Danish towns of Copenhagen and Funan. The height of the ship is 72 meters and the clearing of the bridge 65. Luckily, the funnels of the Oasis Of The Seas can be retracted and by speeding up to 20 knots, the ship was pulled deeper in the water due to the so-called 'squat effect'. Finally, the ship passed the bridge with a clearance of just 60 centimeters. At the 13th of november 2009, the ship reached Fort Lauderdale for the first time from where several short cruises were sailed.

As seen from Euromast, the Aquatheater and the aft part of the Boardwalk.

Oasis Of The Seas was named at the 30th of november officially by seven godmothers. Gloria Estefan, Michelle Kwan, Dara Torres, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Shawn Johnson, Jane Seymour and Daisy Fuentes. All of them represented one of the seven neighbourhoods aboard (more of this later). The naming took place during a special charity sailing for the 'Make A Wish'-foundation. This foundation is active in making wishes come true for children with life-threatening medical problems.

Design

The ship was designed by a team of architects, including Atkins Global, NB&D, RTKL, Waterfield Design Group and Wilson Butler Architects and they had a huge job in their hands. Except for being the largest man-made moving object in history (which she now is not anymore, because her later sisters are now larger), Oasis Of The Seas is designed very, very different than other cruiseships. First of all, almost all cabins are outside ones, because in the middle of the ship they look out to the Central Park or Boardwalk area's. It means that the ship actually had two blocks of cabins in the lenght of the ship, with this open-air space called Central Park containing 12.175 plants, 62 vine plants and 56 trees and bamboo (some over 7 meters long) in between. There also is a chess garden, a pergola garden and a sculpture garden, by the way. It is the first living park at sea, as you can imagine. At the sides, there are boutiques, restaurants and bars overlooking the park. Also, the Rising Tide bar is situated here, moving up and down three decks while you can enjoy your drinks. Both blocks of cabins are topped by swimmingpools at the sundecks. Central Park is one of the seven neighbourhoods or districts aboard the ship and some 334 cabins look onto the park five-decks high, of which 254 have a balcony. At Central Park, concerts, entertainment and 'street'-performances are hosted. To easily navigate this massive beast, those neighbourhoods make the public places easier to find. Next to Central Park, there is the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality At Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Youth Zone, Entertainment Place, Royal Promenade and Boardwalk. Royal Promenade we know already from the Freedom- and Eagle class of ships and it is the onboard shopping street where the inside cabins are mostly faced towards. Boardwalk we also know from the ships of Norwegian Cruise Line, although at Oasis Of The Seas it is very different. It is situated aft of the Central Park and again is placed in between the two blocks of cabins.

At the Boardwalk, that is made like an American or English entertainment pier, a handcrafted 27-figure caroussel of full size, two rock-climbing walls, restaurants, teenage-fashionshops, an icecream- and candybar and a 750-seat outdoor theater, the AquaTheater are situated. This theater is build at the stern like an amphitheater and here shows are performed to the likes of acrobatics, synchronized swimming, water-ballet and high-diving. For this, it has two diving towers, two spring-boards and two ten-meter high dive platforms with a trampoline in between. Last but not least there also is a trapeze build behind the high dive boards so it seems the artists can climb the watercurtain. Underwater cameras are used to project the images from below the waterline on giant LED-screens that are situated next to the stage. Also, the pool here is the largest one aboard and the deepest on any ship, with a waterdepth of 5,4 meters.

Of course all normal facilities found aboard other cruiseships are also found on Oasis Of he Seas, there is the nine-deck high zip-line cable, the casino, a miniature golf course, many nightclubs, bars and restaurants, five swimmingpools in sloped-entry beach style, two surf-simulators sportscourts, childrenfacilities and a comedy- and karaokeclub, to name but a few.

Carreer

At the 1st of december of 2009, the Oasis of The Seas sailed a pre-inaugural voyage of four days from Port Everglades to Haiti and back, before starting her true maiden voyage at the 5th of december to St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Nassau, the Bahamas. She kept sailing this region, before her first ever cruise to Europe for a docking at Rotterdam, where one of the the only docks is available that can handle a ship of her size at the Keppel Verolme yards. For this, she arrived at Rotterdam at the 30th of september 2014, leaving again at the 14th of october after her first refresh. During this drydock period, the ships pods were modified, lifeboats checked and the underwaterparts cleaned and re-painted. Also, some refurbishment was done. The pictures at this page were made during her departure from Rotterdam, when she sailed for Southampton and Florida to resume her normal service. Royal Caribbean had used the services of this warf earlier for the lenghtening of their Enchantment Of The Seas, although the sisterships of this class don't seem to be treatened the same way. As the company faced problems with the overhaul at the Dutch yard it doesn't seem to be likely they will come back. Due to the short time planned for the update, 1200 workers were involved and of those, 48 had been working without license. As they were working for RCI and not for the wharf, the company had to pay a fine of 600.000 euro as Dutch workerslaws were violated.

At the 13th of march 2010, Oasis Of The Seas set a new record of being the first cruiseliner that set sail with more then 6000 passengers, 6007 to be precise. All those sailed from Fort Lauderdale Florida. With this, she was finally topping the passengernumbers on the largest ships of the Staten Island Ferry, that normally sail with the same number of passengers between Staten Island and downtown New York. The passengers on this Oasis-voyage came from 64 countries, by the way.

A strange story unfolded at the 8th of january of 2015, when the ship was sailing a Caribbean cruise close to Ciozumel, Mexico. An American male passenger was walking on deck for an early stroll, when he was washed overboard by a sudden large wave. Nobody aboard Oasis Of The Seas noticed that the man went overboard, but luckily, Disney Cruise Lines Disney Magic was sailing right behind and picked him up. The man wasn't injured in the incident, and was brought to Cozumel's Punta Langosta were he was medically checked. The question is of course how it was possible that nobody aboard the Royal Caribbean ship detected the man going overboard.

Here, Oasis Of The Seas can be seen at the entrance of the Waalhaven, from a distance so sadly not too sharp. At the Waalhaven, there is enough space for the Monster Of The Seas to turn her bow towards the sea. As you can clearly spot, she is way too large to turn in the river. At this picture you can also clearly spot her size again, comparing her to the shoreside appartments.

In 2016, a thirth ship in the class, Harmony Of The Seas, entered service and she topped Oasis and Allure with a few more tons. This will make this thirth Oasis-class ship the largest in the world and bring Oasis Of The Seas back to thirth place. A fourth ship in the class is also in the planning stages and is sceduled to enter service in 2018.

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