Royal Caribbean has always been known to be a company that doesn’t wait around creating more and bigger experiences for its guests. It certainly shows that with launching four of the largest cruise ships in the world in the next four years.
The cruise line plans to add more than 20,000 lower berth beds in the next four years, a massive amount, and those beds will be on only four ships.
The sixth Oasis-class vessel, slated for delivery in 2024, and three Icon-Class vessels, the newest class of ships for Royal Caribbean, are scheduled for delivery in 2023, 2025, and 2026.
Royal Caribbean is taking a new approach with both classes of ships, ensuring the environmental effects are drastically reduced while also reviving the onboard experience for guests.
Utopia of the Seas- Next Level Oasis-class
She might be part of the Oasis-class of ships, but she is much more than that in reality. According to various reports, the first ship in class to be powered by LNG will also be the biggest cruise ship in the world by some margin. One source says she could be up to 250,000 gross tons due to the addition of the LNG equipment.
There will be more differences between the latest Oasis-class ship, Wonder of the Seas, and Utopia of the Seas, mainly to do with the construction issues that come with building LNG tanks into a vessel designed for using oil.
Laurent Castaing, General Manager of Chantiers de l’Atlantique: “The main problem is that LNG tanks take up more space than diesel or fuel oil tanks. We have lost space for other things, mainly crew cabins located above the technical rooms. We had to find more space in the whole ship. For example, passenger cabins became crew cabins.”
According to Florence Mauduit, Business Manager for the shipyard, the vessel will lose about 70 crew and 50 guest cabins. Still, there will be space for 6,000 passengers on board the 362-meter ship.
The transformation from oil to gas also means that Utopia will have a slightly different silhouette; the mast is placed more towards the middle of the ship, making space for the gas exhaust column.
Although the cutting of the first steel has just been completed, Utopia of the Seas outlines will be visible starting this summer:
“We build with two gantries. The Very Large Crane is used to assemble the blocks, while the Very High Crane is used to install the panels on the blocks and the upper parts of the ship. Utopia of the Seas will be visible starting this summer when we begin to assemble the first part of the hold,” said Jean-Yves Jaouen, Operations Manager for the shipyard.
Utopia of the Seas will likely float for the first time in September 2023, with the launch scheduled for 2024. What and if new venues are planned for the latest ship is unclear at this time.
Still, with the innovations already designed and made public, it would be surprising if Royal Caribbean didn’t have some exciting surprises in mind for Utopia of the Seas.
Icon Class Adds At Least 15,000 Berths.
The Icon-class of ships is the next class addition for Royal Caribbean, which has many cruise fans and ship enthusiasts excited. It will be the first new class of cruise ships to be released since the Quantum class nine years ago.
Built at the Meyer Turku yard in Finland, Icon of the Seas is reported to be 200,000 gross tonnes, making her one of the most giant cruise ships in the world.
Powered by LNG to provide propulsion and fuel cell technology to provide electrical power to the vessel, she will be one of the cleanest cruise ships at sea. Besides the gross tonnage and the expected passenger numbers, little else is known about the Icon-class of ships.
Worth Reading: What Is a Royal Caribbean Quantum-Ultra Class Cruise Ship?
Michael Bayley, the President and CEO of Royal Caribbean, said the following about the Icon-class of ships last year: “We made our commitment to making clean power at sea a reality – and soon the norm – when Icon Class was first announced in 2016, and we’re excited to see construction underway on what will truly be a ship unlike any other.“
“Our decades of work in ocean conservation, energy efficiency and continuous improvement will be evident all throughout Icon. We look forward to revealing more of the game-changing features our guests and crew have in store as she begins to take shape.”
More than 20% Growth With Four Ships
Besides Icon of the Seas, which is scheduled for launch in 2023, two more Icon-class ships are on order from the shipyard. Hull number NB-1401, as she is known, will be launched in 2025, and the third ship will be launched in 2026.
All together, Icon of the Seas, Wonder of the Seas, and the two so-far unknown Icon-class ships represent an increase of more than 20,000 berths for Royal Caribbean. The company has a little over 88,000 berths available in 2021, according to Statista.
It would mean that the addition of the four ships represents an increase of more than 22% for the company. It will also ensure the company’s fleet of ships is one of the youngest in the industry, and it keeps on track with the competition, such as Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line, which are also not sitting still.