Royal Caribbean International has finally announced that it’s third Oasis class behemoth, Harmony Of The Seas, will deploy on year round Caribbean cruises when she enters service in 2016.
Many people assumed that the 227,000 ton ship would head out to Asia as the trump card in RCCL’s voracious empire building pack. But other counsels have decreed that the huge ship will go to the Caribbean instead.
She will replace first of class Oasis Of The Seas on the lucrative, seven night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings out of Fort Lauderdale, joining twin sister ship, Allure Of The Seas, on alternating week long circuits. Oasis Of The Seas herself will move a few miles north to Port Canaveral to inaugurate a series of similar sailings.
Though it seems a foregone conclusion that one of these monster ships will now sail the Mediterranean each summer, winters will still see this formidable trio running the seven day circuits from Florida. And, whatever your feelings on mega ships in general, there is no disputing the monumental scale and sheer, organisatioanl wizardry involved in such a programme.
Consider this; three ships, totalling over three quarters of a million tons collectively, discharging and embarking some thirty-six thousand passengers, week in and out, over a six month season. On any level, this is an operation thought out- and carried through- with almost miltary precision, as the precisely co-ordinated sailings of both Oasis and Allure from Fort Lauderdale can testify.
Having invested a fortune in infrastructure over the last few years, the burghers of Port Canaveral must be clapping their hands with glee at at an eagerly anticipated footfall of some twelve thousand cruise passengers a week from the Oasis Of The Seas, not to mention the knock on effect for local shops, hotels, transportation and entertainment venues.
Of course, may wil simply roll their eyes and say that this is just one more mega ship feeding more fuel to an already overcrowded winter Caribbean season. For sure, there is not much in the way of real variety in thr destination offerings of any of the three ships.
But that misses the point, because these three ships- the largest sister ships ever built- are destinations in their own right; enormous floating theme parks, small islands that combine the best of Vegas with all the comfort, ease and spectacular dining and accommodation that you could possibly want.
Not very ‘adventurous’ for sure; but package all that up and dangle it in front of some denizen of New York, Boston or Toronto in the depths of a freezing winter, and the lure is magnetic. Not to mention the allure- pardon the pun- that those vast, sun drenched hulls, carousing around the Caribbean in winter- hold for a whole armada of sun deprived Europeans.
One thing is for sure; Royal Caribbean know exactly what they are doing by sending this third huge, enormous floating city to the sunshine of the sultry Caribbean.