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Royal Caribbean Orders Third Oasis-Class Ship

Earlier today, Royal Caribbean International confirmed that it has placed a firm order with the STX France shipyard for a third vessel in its world-record-holding Oasis class.

The original two Oasis-class ships, 2009's Oasis of the Seas and 2010's Allure of the Seas, are the largest cruise ships in the world by far, measuring in at 225,282 gross register tons and carrying 5,400 guests. The newly ordered vessel will presumably be identical or nearly identical in size and configuration, with tweaks to her attractions and amenities.

One main difference between Oasis/Allure and sister number three? Provenance. The two earlier Oasis vessels were built at the STX shipyard in Turku, Finland, but Turku's failure to secure adequate financing from the Finnish government apparently prompted Royal Caribbean to move the project to STX's yard in Saint Nazaire, France. The new ship is slated for delivery in mid-2016, and STX France has provided Royal Caribbean with a one-year option for delivery of a fourth Oasis-class vessel in mid-2018.

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Allure of the Seas, showing off her paradigm-breaking split-superstructure design (photo: RCI)

"The Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas have fundamentally transformed the cruise experience for our guests," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., in a press release. "These ships have consistently generated outstanding guest satisfaction ratings and continue to produce superior financial results. We are thrilled to be adding a sister to this extraordinary class of vessels at a compelling price. Being back building in France just adds to the pleasure."

"STX France is proud to partner with Royal Caribbean again and continue our decades-long relationship by building the third Oasis-class ship," said Laurent Castaing, CEO of STX France. "Royal Caribbean has always been an important part of our shipyard's success, and we are delighted to add this highly innovative and spectacular ship to the list of vessels we have built together."

In its earlier incarnation as Alstom's Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard, the STX Saint Nazaire facility produced Royal Caribbean's Sovereign of the Seas, Monarch of the Seas, and Majesty of the Seas between 1987 and 1992, and in 2000 it built Millennium for Royal Caribbean's sister-line, Celebrity Cruises.

The addition of a third Oasis sister to the RCI fleet get a big thumbs-up from the Frommer's Cruise Blog. Oasis and Allure are, in my opinion, the most amazing cruise ships ever built, embodying dazzlingly forward thinking in passenger ship architecture and interior arrangement. If cruise ship design is destined to move beyond the general model that's dominated for the past quarter century plus, these are the ships that'll show the way.

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