Voyager Of The Seas
Voyager Of The Seas visited The Netherlands for the first time at the 22nd of april in 2022. She is seen here on her way back from Amsterdam, passing the village of Velsen Noord during her Northsea Canal passage.
In the early 1990's, cruising was a big thing. Where nobody untill very recent had thought that cruiseships would or should become bigger then the largest oceanliners had been, a few cruiselines thought otherwise. They saw a huge economic potential for larger ships, built in classes of multiple units to reduce costs and capable of holding many more passengers then before, spreading out the costs. This was an opportunity to once and for all get rid of the thoughts that cruising was a niche market for the old, rich folk. The more passengers are onboard, the more costs can be spread out and the cheaper tickets can become. Simple math.
Royal Caribbean was not new with large ships. In the late 1980's they introduced their first megaship Sovereign Of The Seas, followed by two sisters. With a tonnage of 74.000 tons, these ships were not as large as the classic Normandie, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth of the 1930's, but they were the largest modern cruiseships ever constructed, coming really close to these "big three". Soon, more lines started to follow like Princess Cruises in 1995 with their 77.000-ton Sun Princess and later the massive Grand Princess in 1998, measuring 109.000 tons. In between Carnival had also opted for the largest cruiseship in the world when they had been the first to exceed 100.000-ton with their 101.000-ton Carnival Destiny in 1996. But around those years, also Royal Caribbean came back with a massive class of ships. Dubbed the Eagle Class, these ships would be a lot bigger then the Princess ones, starting at around 137.000-tons. Meanwhile, also another class was in the making, again larger. These ships started to be known as the Voyager Class and would measure around 155.000-tons. But then the first of the Eagle-class ships was announced to be named the Voyager Of The Seas, so the class was renamed accordingly. The original Voyager-class of ships were also later known as Freedom-class after their first ship, the Freedom Of The Seas.
Construction and general statistics
Ordered at the 7th of january in 1997, the ship that would become Voyager Of The Seas was laid down as yardnumber 1344 at the Masa Yards Inc. at Turku (Abo), Finland at the 31st of march of 1998. Costing around 650 million USD, the ship measured 311,12 meters in lenght, is 47,4 meters wide and has a draft of 9,10 meters. The ship was built to a tonnage measurement of 137.276. making her the biggest passengership ever built untill then. Her total number of 15 decks make her 63 meters in height. A total number of 3840 passengers can be aboard, although normally the number of a double cabin occupancy is given as 3138. Also, the ship has around 1176 crewmembers aboard. She flies the flag of The Bahamas, homeport mentioned is Nassau although in her first years of operation (between 1999 and 2001) the ship sailed under the flag of Liberia with Monrovia being her official port of registry.
Her speed is normally around 23,7 knots and she is driven by two ABB Azipods and 1 Fixipod, powered through Wärtsilä designed diesel electric engines and supported by four bowthrusters designed by Rolls Royce. The electric powergenerators provide some 16.900hp.
The ship undocked at november 27th in 1998 and was finally completed at the 29th of october in 1999 after her seatrials that had started at the 29th of june in 1999. After her, four other sisterships followed to largely the same design although there were minor differences as normal. Explorer Of The Seas came in 2000 and dethroned Voyager as the largest cruiseship in the world. Adventure Of The Seas came in 2001 and then two slightly bigger redesigned ships followed, the Navigator Of The Seas in 2002 and the Mariner Of The Seas in 2003, although she was first thought to be named Journey Of The Seas. These last two measured close to 140.000 tons. The biggest visual difference between the first three ships and the last two are the balconies. In the first three ships, including Voyager Of The Seas, the balconies are built within the hull while in the last two ships, these were outside of the hull, creating more space within.
Design and style
The same day as above, the ship is seen passing IJmuiden in the early morning on her way to Amsterdam.
Nowadays, you take a lot of things for granted aboard ships of Royal Caribbean, but the Voyager Of The Seas and her sisters introduced quite a lot of those. Voyager Of The Seas was the first cruiseship in the world with a true shoppingstreet in the middle, instead of just an atrium. Dubbed the Royal Promenade, this street mimicked a mainstreet in a town with restaurants, shops and entertainmentvenues along the way. Above, three decks of inside cabins look down onto this street so also many of the inside cabins within the Voyager class do actually have a window to the outside. The ship also introduced a rockclimbing wall at the back of the funnel. Another first was a true iceskating rink deep within the ships belly where shows like Holiday On Ice could be performed by professional iceskaters. When there are no shows, passengers themselves can also skate at sea.
Although Royal Caribbean was very traditional in dining options long after other lines had introduced speciality dining as well, the Voyager class ships do have many more options in dining then the ships that had come before. The more classic Chops Grille and the Italian-style Giovanni's Table are examples, but also there is the more informal burgerjoint of Johnny Rockets if you want to skip the more traditional options. There is also the nautical style Schooner Bar, an English pub and a Diamond Club Lounge for high-level loyalty-program members.
In 2012, the DreamWorks Experience was also added to the ships entertainment options, giving passengers the opportunity to have a meet and greet with cartoon characters from Puss In Boots, Madagascar, Shrek and KungFu Panda to name but a few. It also included parades and special breakfast sessions with the characters. This was added especially for the new itineraries in Asia from Shanghai and Bejing that were sailed from 2012 onwards.
Although being the largest cruiseships ever built when they were introduced, Royal Caribbean advertizes there ships now as being 'midsized', after the introduction of the ginormous Genesis (Oasis) class of ships of 225.000 tons and the advanced Sunshine (Quantum) class of around 170.000 tons. In their own words: (The Voyager Class) are best for cruisers who want an active cruise-experience without having to be on a massive ship.
At the 29th of october in 1999, the ship was delivered to Royal Caribbean as the largest passengership ever built. She then crossed the Atlantic from Finland to Miami, Florida where she was named at the following 20th of november. The ships godmother was the German Olympic gold medalwinner (1984 and 1988) in figureskating Katarina Witt. Of course she was chosen also because of the addition of the skatingrink aboard of the ship.
One day after her naming, the ship a short cruise with invited guests before settling in for a scedule of 8-day Caribbean cruises from Miami. She wasn't known as being the largest passengership in the world for long, as she was dethroned from that title by her newer sistership Explorer Of The Seas one year after her introduction already.
Siunce her introduction, she has seen some other parts of the world outside of the Caribbean as well, sailing from Barcelona in Spain throughout 2006 in the Mediterranean Sea and mostly moving to Asia from 2016 onwards. In that year, she sailed on a special charter for Indonesian passengers, and she then stayed in Asia for several years. In july of 2018, she became the largest passengership to ever dock in The Philippines when she visited Manila.
In december 2014 she had the misfortune to be struck by a Norovirus outbreak while sailing from Singapore to Sydney and in october of 2018 a cruise from Australia was nicknamed a trip from hell for Australian families when a horde of 1300 buisnesspeople from the Indian tobaccocompany Kamla Pasand 'took over' the ship. They held Playboy bunnyparties in the ships theater, filmed young passengers with their mobile phones and blocked other passengers from using facilities when they 'needed' the spaces for their lavish parties. Passengers other then the Indian savages complained to Royal Caribbean about the incident and recieved a full refund, as they expected the company to have made clear that such a large group would also be present during the cruise.
In may of 2019, two passengers from Singapore died from natural causes onboard and these were not the only two that did not get off the ship alive. When the COVID-19 outbreak struck, the ship was again sailing in Australian waters. On march 18 in 2020, the ship docked at Sydney and all of the passengers had to go into isolation. A man from Toowoomba, Queensland later died in hospital and two cases of outbreaks at the island of Tasmania were also said to be connected to Voyager Of The Seas. At the following 23rd of april a 79-year old man from New Zealand also died due to an outbreak of COVID-19 aboard. Like all other cruiseships, throughout the rest of 2020 and in 2021, the ship was out of service and in the spring of 2022 when she was finally able to sail again, her first cruises took her to Western Europe for the first time in her carreer.