Allure of the Seas takes the best of Oasis a step further.
True Allure of the Seas
I just watched a new one hour television documentary about Oasis of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world, on TLC. The entire hour only covers one day in the regularly scheduled seven day cruises - turnaround day, when 6000-plus passengers leave the ship to be replaced by 6000 new faces within a matter of hours.
The show starts out by saying "Oasis of the Seas, 2700 staterooms, over 20 restaurants, 6000 passengers - and her crew has just 12 hours to press the reset button for a new voyage."
I was on an early media trip to preview Oasis, and I sailed the first regularly scheduled passenger cruise to Royal Caribbean's newly renovated private beach at Labadee.
The show reminded me what a tremendous accomplishment Royal Caribbean has in Oasis of the Seas, and the forthcoming sister ship, Allure of the Seas, to be introduced next month (November 2010). These two ships, nearly identical in superstructure and interior design, are both record holders for the title "largest cruise ship in the world," coming in at 225,000-tons; more than 30% larger than the next largest cruise ships.
Yet, Oasis is also proving to be extremely well-managed despite its amazing size. The ship has had none of the famous problems as other cruise lines endured when they tried to build mega-ships not even close to the size of Oasis. Both Norwegian Epic and Cunard's Queen Mary 2 (two of the largest ships in the world not owned by Royal Caribbean) suffered setbacks in the shipyard while they were being built.
Royal Caribbean just reported their latest quarter on Monday, and the company beat estimates handily. Speaking of operations, CEO Richard Fain said that Oasis is performing phenomenally well, getting rave reviews and commanding higher prices far longer than any other new ship in memory. Even the introduction of sister ship Allure of the Seas, with cruises already on sale for many months now, has not "cannibalized" the demand for Oasis much at all. Together, these two ships are powerhouse successes - carrying far more passengers who are happy to pay a premium to be there.
Royal Caribbean's stock went up $5.40/share on Tuesday, the day after they announced earnings, to over $40/share. There was a time less than two years ago when this stock was priced at just $5.40/share.
Yet, Royal Caribbean says they have no plans at all to build more Oasis-class ships or new ships of similar size. Oasis and Allure are likely to remain the largest cruise ships in the world for many years, possibly decades, to come. And as far as I am concerned they will continue to define the "ship as the destination" cruise experience.
Allure will be introduced to Fort Lauderdale, her home port, next month; leaving the shipyard in Finland to sail trans-Atlantic with a crew but no passengers, giving them time to test the facilities and settle in before they take on the challenge of dealing with 6000 passengers practically 24/7 for the rest of the life of the ship.
Upon arrivaql in Florida, but before Allure enters regular service, it will be a setting for a new film starring Adam Sandler, Al Pacino and Katie Holmes. Shooting will take place November 12 to the 23rd. I am scheduled to preview the ship November 19 through the 22nd, so maybe I will get an autograph.
When Allure is introduced she will take the best of Oasis a step further with small but significant enhancements to the onboard experience. There will be a 3-D movie theater already in operation (a similar theater will be installed on Oasis by next March, 2011) featuring the same polarization 3-D technology as used in the movie Avatar.
Changes in the culinary offerings are also in store. The Boardwalk will feature The Boardwalk Dog House - serving up an array of hot dogs at no charge including traditional hot dogs, wieners, brats, sausages and other linked meats coming on a long, split bun with a variety of toppings. The Dog House will replace the donut shop on Oasis.
Another change to the Boardwalk will be the replacement of Seafood Shack with Rita's Cantina for Mexican food, the widest selection of margaritas at sea and live guitar music for drinks and dancing. We also just learned Allure will have the first Starbucks Coffee shop at sea.
Pop star Taylor Swift is scheduled to give a concert for Allure passengers on the sailing departing January 16th. Royal Caribbean is running a sweepstakes to give away 100 cruises on this sailing including a chance to meet and greet the star and special seats for the show. To enter the contest you must listen to certain radio stations and dial in to identify special "key words." You can learn more about the details of this contest here: Allure Taylor Swift Contest.
Discuss Allure of the Seas on our Cruise Forums.
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