Sunday, June 14, 2009

Oasis of the Seas Takes to Water

Photos Courtesy STX Europe

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas

Begins Sea Trials

Like a "duck to water" Royal Caribbean International's latest ship, Oasis of the Seas, took to the water in Turku, Finland last week as she began the first of her sea trials. Weighing in at 225,000 GT she becomes the largest cruise ship in the world. In fact, when Oasis of the Seas leaves Turku for Miami, Fl. this autumn, it will be the biggest export product of Finland ever.It is quite an accomplishment for shipbuilder STX Europe ASA. Formely known as Aker Yards ASA, the group changed its name to STX Europe in November, 2008.

Oasis of the Seas is 47 metres wide and 360 metres long, i.e. 40 m longer than the height of the Eiffel tower! Height over the water line is 65 m. Building the vessel has been compared to a huge 3-dimensional puzzle. The vessel consists of 180 grand blocks, the biggest with a size of length 22 m, width 30 m and weight 600 tons! The vessel´s weight is 12 times the weight of the Eiffel tower.

It's hard to believe that it was just on November 21, 2008, that the launching ceremony of the Oasis of the Seas took place at STX Europe's shipyard in Turku. Martin Landtman, President of STX Finland Cruise Oy was joined by Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and other executives of the yard and owners to turn the valves releasing water into the drydock and letting the vessel float out to its own element.

According to Royal Caribbean's Chairman & CEO, Richard Fain, who was onhand for the event, "Most of the trials were a terrific success. The ship performed her various tests very well and everyone is very excited." The ship is now back in her construction berth.

There was one surprise, however. They were thinking of adding an aerostat to the ship and were doing a test to see if it was practical/desirable. You can see the blimp in the picture above. However, if you had been there, you would have noticed that it was missing later. In fact, they had to fetch it out of the water. So, I guess it's back to the drawing board for this new innovation. Fain took it light-heartedly saying "This is precisely why we do such tests (and why I don’t take credit until we know whether or not they are successful)".

Oasis of the Seas will be like a floating resort with seven neighbourhoods - themed areas offering experiences for passengers of all ages: the Promenade, a shopping mall with boutiques and restaurants, Boardwalk with the first amfi theatre at sea, Vitality Spa, Pool & Sports Zone with water park activities, Youth Zone with playing possibilities from babies to teens, Entertainment Place with casino and dance hall. And the Central Park with a revolutionary design in which the centre of the ship opens to the sky. With the length of a soccer field, some 110 metres and a width of 19 metres the park will have growing lawn, trees and other vegetation. Sun will be shining to this unique open outdoor space surrounded with restaurants, shops and caf├ęs. Learn more about all the neighbourhoods.

See the Video: Oasis of the Seas Sea Trial

STX Europe is not just building the Oasis of the Seas, but it has also laid the keel for it's sister ship, Allure of the Seas which is due out in 2010.

Perhaps this summarizes it best: "We are not building just ships, we are building experiences" says Martin Landtman, President of STX Finland Cruise Oy. "The world's largest cruise vessels are innovations themselves, and have several innovations inside. Cruise passengers are expecting new unparalleled experiences, and that is what the owners and the yard continuously are creating in good cooperation".

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