During the first week of November 2009, Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas departed the shipyard in Turku, Finland and headed out of the Baltic Sea and into the open ocean.
After an investment of $1.4 billion and millions of man hours, the 20-story-tall Oasis of the Seas had to clear one last barrier before being in the clear: the Danish bridge called the Great Belt Bridge. Oasis of the Seas cleared the bridge with two feet to spare. Is it possible that the 110,000 gallons of water stored on the ship to power the Double FlowRider®s in the stern gave the ship that extra two feet of clearance?
Oasis of the Seas is a miracle of modern maritime engineering. Standing 1,180 feet long, 154 feet wide, 240 feet high and weighing in at 225,000 gross tons, Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas is one of the engineering marvels of the 21st Century. The largest cruise ship in the world packs an incredible amount of accommodation, food options and entertainment into one ship, which will comb the seven seas with as many as 5,400 guests and 2,160 crew in 2,700 staterooms.
The numbers that add up to the launching of the Oasis of the Seas are mind-boggling: 1.7 million hours to design the ship and 8,000 person years to build it, which included laying 3,000 miles of cable to power 24 restaurants, 37 bars and 13 retail outlets.
Oasis of the Seas is a ship divided up into seven “neighborhoods:” Central Park, the Royal Promenade, Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone. The Boardwalk area in the stern of the ship features the AquaTheater an ocean-sized pool that goes as deep as 21 feet in the diving area, and holds 139,000 gallons of water. According to Royal Caribbean, the AquaTheater in the Boardwalk is “a remarkable outdoor venue at the stern of Oasis of the Seas with a backdrop of the ocean across the horizon. The amphitheater-style space will celebrate water with a full-spectrum of day and night options, including professional diving and theatrical performances. The first of its kind and the most technologically-advanced area of the ship, the AquaTheater will be a complete sensory experience that plays on the element of surprise, as the latest technology and design features amaze audience members.”
The Pool and Sports Zone also “celebrates water” with the addition of not one but two FlowRiders – the flowing “sheet wave” technology developed by Wave Loch of La Jolla, California. While Oasis of the Seas cruises through the seas at a top speed of 26 knots, displacing 225,283 gross tons of water, each FlowRider flows 55,000 gallons of water at 25-30 MPH, creating an endless wave that is enjoyed by all ages: from kids riding bodyboards, to the more advanced, standup “flowboarders.”
Oasis of the Seas is the second generation of Royal Caribbean ships to feature the FlowRider. Currently, there are three ships in the Freedom-class cruising the high seas, with one FlowRider in the stern. Royal Caribbean learned from these three ships that their guests want to ride waves while riding on the bounding main, and that the inclusion of the FlowRider helped to make the Freedom-class ships one of the most popular Royal Caribbean ships ever, and among the most popular at sea.
Oasis of the Seas is also the “greenest” ship ever launched and it’s cutting edge in every way. That includes having two FlowRiders in the stern, which help to simulate the juices of guests as the ship flows from port to port. After clearing the Great Belt Bridge, Oasis of the Seas put on its finishing touches as it crossed the Atlantic down to Ft. Lauderdale Florida.
On November 30, RCI threw a big shindig to name the ship, and had seven “Godmothers” representing each of the neighborhoods. Go to the www.oasisoftheseas.com and you will see Dara Torres representing the Pool and Sports Zone, checking out a couple of local pros riding the Flowrider – and giving the world a taste of the fun on board.
Oasis of the Seas set sail on its maiden voyage the next day.