A sixth Oasis class mega cruise ship is due to be delivered to Royal Caribbean International in autumn 2023.
Parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd yesterday revealed that it has entered into an agreement with French shipbuilder Chantiers de l’Atlantique to order the latest in the family of giant vessels.
The ships, reputed to cost more than $1 billion each to build, are capable of carrying 6,680 passengers.
The Oasis class ships made their debut a decade ago with Oasis of the Seas followed by Allure of the Seas.
Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas have since entered service for the line.
The line’s fifth Oasis-class ship is due for delivery in spring 2021.
The new order is contingent upon financing, which is expected to be completed in the second or third quarter of this year, according to the company.
RCCL chairman and CEO Richard Fain said: “It is such a pleasure to announce the order of another Oasis-class ship.
“This order is a reflection of the exceptional performance of this vessel class and the extraordinary partnership between Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.”
The French shipyard’s general manager Laurent Castaing added: ”This is the 23rd cruise ship that Royal Caribbean will be building at our shipyard, and we are especially proud of it.
“The order reflects the confidence our customer puts on us, based on the exceptional quality of our long-term co-operation between the two companies and on our capacity to bring innovative solutions to meet our customer’s expectations.”
RCCL brands operate a combined total of 60 ships with an additional 16 on order.
At Royal Caribbean Cruises, the idea is to anticipate the future of technology and get ready for it now.
“I believe that the largest challenges for us are the things that we don’t even know will be coming in the next five to 10 years. There are revolutions coming, things like virtual reality and other things that we don’t even imagine. We need to look at the historical growth of those technologies in the past, focusing on the future,” said Guillermo Muniz, director of satellite and network engineering, Royal Caribbean Cruises.
While cruise lines may plan into the 2020s on the technology front, challenges still remain when it comes to internet aboard today’s fleet.
“Royal Caribbean is being very aggressive regarding infrastructure within the ship. We are investing to make sure we have the infrastructure on our ships to have the correct Wi-Fi and the latest technologies to be able to not worry about connectivity over the next decade,” Muniz said.
The newer Royal Caribbean ships are using a new technology, marketed as Voom, that has significantly improved internet access aboard, helped in part by SES Networks.
“On those ships, the connection is comparable to our home experience. You can stream and watch videos on your devices easily. The amount of bandwidth that we provide to a single user today is the same amount of bandwidth that we provided for our entire fleet in 2000,” Muniz noted.
Royal Caribbean is working on a new boarding process that uses facial recognition to speed up the embarkation. Muniz explained that guests will be able to take a selfie at home, upload it via an app, and then be recognized at the cruise terminal by special facial recognition cameras. The cruise line plans to launch the system over the next few years.