A new phase of construction has officially begun on Royal Caribbean International’s upcoming Utopia of the Seas, as her keel has been laid at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, in western France. This begins the actual, physical assembly of the vessel and is a much-anticipated ceremony.
Keel Laid for Utopia of the Seas
On July 1, 2022, the keel was officially laid atop ceremonial coins – symbols of good fortune for the vessel’s construction – at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard and the construction of Utopia of the Seas is finally underway.
“The keel laying for Utopia of the Seas represents the first milestone of an incredible ship and the next step toward a bolder, thrilling future for Royal Caribbean and vacations,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.
This follows after the vessel’s steel-cutting ceremony in early April, 2022.
At the keel laying ceremony, teams constructing the vessel watched as newly minted coins were placed on the ship’s first 948-ton steel block. The longstanding maritime tradition calls for coins, representing Royal Caribbean and Chantiers de l’Atlantique, to bring luck during the ship’s construction.
“Today, we are celebrating with Royal Caribbean International an important tradition and milestone for Utopia of the Seas,” said Laurent Castaing, General Manager of Chantiers de l’Atlantique.
When construction is complete, the coins will be removed and positioned on the finished vessel, to continue bringing luck to her crew and all who sail on her in the years to come.
About Utopia of the Seas
Utopia of the Seas is the sixth and final vessel in Royal Caribbean’s insanely popular Oasis class of ships, which was first introduced with Oasis of the Seas in 2009. These ships are the currently the largest in the world, with the line’s newest vessel, Wonder of the Seas, holding that extraordinary title at the moment.
As is typical with each new ship, even within the same class, every vessel is slightly different. Utopia of the Seas will be the first of the Oasis class to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), a cleaner and more efficient fuel than was available when Oasis of the Seas debuted.
“The construction of Utopia is an exciting opportunity for the Chantiers de l’Atlantique teams that are aiming to make this cruise ship one of the most environmentally friendly ships in the world equipped with new generation dual-fuel engines,” said Castaing.
Yet the ship is poised to offer much more than just more efficient engines and environmentally-friendly technologies.
“Utopia’s debut in 2024, on the heels of Icon of the Seas setting sail in fall 2023, will build on a new, exciting chapter that is set to redefine family vacations and getaways for all ages in ways we’ll soon reveal,” said Bayley.
Few details of the new vessel have been revealed thus far, but it is rumored the ship may surpass 250,000 gross tons, with a guest capacity of as many as 5,714 at double occupancy, and well over 6,000 when all berths are filled.
As Royal Caribbean International is well known for surprise innovations and adventurous options aboard its ships, Utopia of the Seas is sure to host amazing features for cruisers to enjoy, including the neighborhood concept of theming design and popular class-wide favorites like the Flowrider surfing simulator, rock climbing wall, the amphitheater-style AquaTheater, zip lines, and more.
Utopia of the Seas is scheduled to debut in spring 2024, though the exact timing of her introduction to the fleet as well as initial itineraries have not yet been announced.
In the meantime, Royal Caribbean International will introduce its next class of ships as Icon of the Seas, which will be even larger than the Oasis-class ships, debuts in fall 2023.