Royal Caribbean: A Third Oasis?

| 10.25.12

Royal Caribbean confirms it is close to ordering a third vessel in the "Oasis" class.

Oasis of the SeasLargest cruise ships in the world

Currently, there are only two Oasis-class vessels; Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas are the largest class of cruise ships in the world coming in at 220,000-gross tons, about 1/3 third larger than the next largest cruise ships ever built. Royal Caribbean had never affirmed nor denied that they will ever build any more of these ships; the closest they have ever come to saying they will is the comment, "Never say never."

But Royal Caribbean just confirmed that they are in the process of negotiating a third ship in the Oasis-class. The negotiation is with the Turku shipyard in Finland that built the first two Oasis ships. The ships were not only built in Finland, but they were also financed by an arm of the Finnish government responsible for boosting their economy. The Finnish government provided securitization of the loans to pay for the first two ship, and the negotiations now underway are for the financing of the third ship.

The Finnish shipyard let the cat out the bag last October 3rd, but Royal Caribbean would not confirm the order, or even the negotiations at the time. Now the line has confirmed the negotiations, so one could say we've established what they are doing, now it is just a question of price. Royal Caribbean made the confirmation during its quarterly conference call with Wall Street.

This article said the new ship will be built in Turku, Finland (the same shipyard where the first two ships were built) but that finalization of the deal is right now dependent upon securing financing for the build. These ships cost about $1.2-billion apiece - a very expensive ship. Financing for Oasis was secured at a time when banks were not lending money (in 2009) and it eventually only came about when the government of Finland promising to back the loan (made by another arm of the Finnish government). The same source financed the Allure of the Seas and will finance this new ship.

Royal Caribbean currently has two ships (the Project Sunshine) on order of less than 150,000-tons, but those orders went to the Meyer Werft shipyards in Papenburg, Germany. Finland is said to have been very disappointed that they did not receive the Project Sunshine order.

After the original October 3rd article was published Royal Caribbean refused to confirm the "rumor" - but they also did not deny it. The cruise line put out a satement that said...

"It's a rumor," said spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez. "We don't comment on rumors."

But the cruise line did not deny the pending order, either. Today the rumor is confirmed.

Lately, national governments have been subsidizing the important ship-building industry by providing loans to cruise lines and other maritime companies. The United States has a similar program but recently changed the law to exclude passenger vessels from qualifying for such loans.

Have you sailed on Oasis or Allure of the Seas? Tell us here: Royal Caribbean Forum

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