Royal Caribbean International has cut the ceremonial first piece of steel for its third Oasis-class ship at the STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, marking the official kickoff of construction for what will be the world’s largest cruise ship.
At 227,700 GRT, the Oasis 3 will be just slightly larger than her two sister ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, which at 225,282 GRT are currently the largest cruise ships in the world.
The steel cutting ceremony took place Monday at the STX France shipyard, where the ship will be built. The ship is expected to be delivered by mid-2016.
“The Oasis-class ships have fundamentally changed the cruising landscape with the cornucopia of amenities and innovations that can be found onboard,” said Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Richard D. Fain, who was in attendance at the steel cutting. “We are delighted to be offering a third Oasis-class vessel for our guests as well as to be back at STX France after such a long tradition of building amazing ships together.”
Oasis 3 joins sister ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas delivered in 2009 and 2010, respectively. In addition to their size, the ships are known for a crazy assortment of guest of amenities ranging from a wave pool and cantilevered whirlpools to a split superstructure with seven distinct neighborhood-themed areas.
The construction of the Oasis-3 at STX France is a departure from STX Finland, where the first two Oasis-class ships were built. The decision to build in France delivered a roughly $1 billion blow to the already struggling Finnish shipbuilding industry and was met with backlash from the Finnish Government who questioned the deal.
“We are excited to once again partner with Royal Caribbean International,” said Laurent Castaing, chief executive officer, STX France. “We have built 12 ships for Royal Caribbean and are extremely proud of the strength of our relationship. Oasis 3 is one of the biggest challenges ever undertaken in the history of our company and our teams are excited and ready to make this a successful project.”
Reports in the media Monday have indicated that Royal Caribbean may be making plans for a fourth and even fifth Oasis-class ship.
Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas sail weekly, alternating seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. In October 2014, Oasis of the Seas will sail a short autumn season in Europe from Barcelona, Spain before entering drydock for scheduled maintenance at the KÃ©ppel Verolme shipyard in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.