Oasis of the Seas is an Oasis-class cruise ship in the fleet of Royal Caribbean International. The first of her class, she was joined by her sister ship Allure of the Seas in December 2010. Both vessels cruise the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She set a new record of carrying over 6,000 passengers.
The ship surpasses the Freedom-class cruise ships (also owned by Royal Caribbean) as the world’s largest passenger ships.
The vessel was ordered in February 2006 and designed under the name “Project Genesis”. Her keel was laid down on 12 November 2007 at STX Europe (formerly Aker Yards) in Turku, Finland. The company announced that full funding for Oasis of the Seas was secured on 15 April 2009.
The name Oasis of the Seas resulted from a competition held in May 2008.
During the first float-out of the vessel the tugboats that were pulling the ship from its dock failed to control the ship due to its great size, resulting in the port side of the ship colliding with the dock. This resulted in some cosmetic damage and minor damage to the hull, which was repaired and did not affect the final delivery date of the vessel.
The ship was completed and turned over to Royal Caribbean on 28 October 2009. Two days later, she departed Finland for the United States. While exiting the Baltic Sea, the vessel passed underneath the Great Belt Fixed Link in Denmark on 1 November 2009. The bridge has a clearance of 65 m (213 ft) above the water; Oasis normally has an air draft of 72 m (236 ft). The passage under the bridge was possible due to retraction of the telescoping funnels, and an additional 30 cm (12 in) was gained by the squat effect whereby vessels traveling at speed in a shallow channel will be drawn deeper into the water. Approaching the bridge at 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph), the ship passed under it with less than 2 feet (60 cm) of clearance.
Proceeding through the English Channel, Oasis stopped briefly in the Solent so that 300 shipyard workers who were onboard doing finishing work could disembark, then left on the way to her intended home port of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The ship arrived there on 13 November 2009, where tropical plants were installed prior to some introductory trips and her maiden voyage on 5 December 2009.
While Royal Caribbean’s chief of captains William S. Wright was in command of the ship’s journey across the Atlantic and also for the first few sailings, navigation of the Oasis of the Seas is regularly handled by Trym Selvag and Thore Thorolvsen. The ship was featured in an episode of the second season of Mighty Ships, a production of Discovery Channel Canada which aired during the summer of 2010.
Oasis measures 225,282 gross tons. Her displacement—the actual mass of the vessel—is estimated at approximately 100,000 tons, about the same as that of an American Nimitz class aircraft carrier.
To keep the ship stable without increasing the draft excessively, the designers created a wide hull. About 30 feet (9 m) of the ship sits beneath the water, a small percentage of the ship’s overall height. Wide, shallow ships such as this tend to be “snappy”, meaning that they can snap back upright after a wave has passed, which can be uncomfortable. This effect, however, is mitigated by the vessel’s large size. The cruise line’s officers were pleased with the ship’s stability and performance during the transatlantic crossing, when the vessel, in order to allow finishing work to go on, slowed and changed course in the face of winds “almost up to hurricane force” and seas in excess of 40 feet (12 m).
The ship’s power comes from six marine diesel engines, three Wärtsilä 16-cylinder common rail diesels producing 18,860 kilowatts (25,290 hp) each (consuming 1,377 gallons of fuel per hour of operation per engine), and three similar 12-cylinder engines each producing 13,860 kilowatts (18,590 hp), (consuming 1,033 gallons of fuel per hour of operation per engine). The total output of these prime movers, some 97,020 kilowatts (130,110 hp), is converted to electricity, used in hotel power for operation of the lights, elevators, electronics, galleys, water treatment plant, and all of the other systems used on the operation of the vessel, as well as propulsion. Propulsion is provided by three 20,000-kilowatt (26,800 hp) “Azipods”, ABB’s brand of azimuth thrusters. These pods, suspended under the stern, contain electric motors driving 20-foot (6 m) propellers. Because they are rotatable, no rudders are needed to steer the ship. Docking is assisted by four 5,500-kilowatt (7,380 hp) bow thrusters in tunnels.
Oasis of the Seas offers passengers features such as two-story loft suites and luxury suites measuring 1,600 sq ft (150 m2) with balconies overlooking the sea or promenades. The ship features a zip-line, a casino, a mini-golf course, multiple night clubs, several bars and lounges, a karaoke club, comedy club, five swimming pools, volleyball and basketball courts, theme parks and nurseries for children.
Onboard recreational, athletic, and entertainment activities are organized into seven themed areas called “neighborhoods”, a concept which bears resemblance to theme park planning. These neighborhoods are:
Central Park features boutiques, restaurants and bars, including access to the Rising Tide bar, which can be raised or lowered to three separate levels. It has the first living park at sea with over 12,000 plants and 56 trees.
The Pool and Sports Zone features a sloped-entry beach pool and two surf simulators.
Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center features a spa for teens.
Boardwalk features a handcrafted carousel, restaurants, bars, shops, two rock-climbing walls, and a temporary tattoo parlor. Its outdoor 750-seat AquaTheatre amphitheater hosts the ship’s largest freshwater pool.
Royal Promenade features restaurants and shops and is viewable from a mezzanine.
Youth Zone features a science lab and computer gaming.
Naming ceremony and launch party
The ship was formally named on 30 November 2009 during a charity sailing for Make a Wish Foundation. At this ceremony the ship was sponsored by seven “godmothers”, each representing one of the seven neighbourhoods onboard. The godmothers were Gloria Estefan, Michelle Kwan, Dara Torres, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Shawn Johnson, Jane Seymour and Daisy Fuentes.
On 1 December 2009, a four-night pre-inaugural sailing began from Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, calling at Labadee in Haiti (3 December) and returning to Port Everglades, before the ship left Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on 5 December 2009 on its maiden voyage, calling at (8 December) St. Thomas, (9 December) St. Maarten, and (11 December) Nassau.