Royal Caribbean International, a cruise brand owned and operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE/OSX: RCL), and STX Europe (OSX: STXEUR) today laid the keel of Allure of the Seas, the second of the highly-anticipated Oasis-class cruise ships slated to redefine the industry. Today’s keel laying ceremony at STX Europe’s shipyard in Turku, Finland, marks the placement of the very first block of Allure of the Seas in the dry dock where the ship will begin to take shape.

When she launches in 2010, Allure of the Seas will share the title of the world’s largest and most revolutionary cruise ship with sister-ship Oasis of the Seas.  An architectural marvel at sea, Allure of the Seas will span 16 decks, encompass 220,000 gross registered tons (GRT), carry 5,400 guests at double occupancy, and feature 2,700 staterooms. Allure of the Seas, and Oasis of the Seas, will be homeported at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Allure of the Seas will tout the cruise line’s new neighborhood concept of seven distinct themed areas, which will offer guests of every age the widest array of onboard vacation experiences that cater to their personal styles, preferences or moods.  Guests will enjoy lush and tropical grounds open to the sky in Central Park, located in the center of the ship and spanning more than the length of a football field. Central Park will be lined with boutiques and specialty restaurants, ranging from casual to fine dining, and introduce balcony staterooms rising five decks above the storefronts and overlooking the park – one of a few new categories of onboard accommodations made possible by the ship’s revolutionary design.

Guests will delight in the amusements, eateries, and shops on Allure of the Seas’ Boardwalk featuring the AquaTheater. Also open to the sky, Boardwalk is reminiscent of classic seaside entertainment esplanades, featuring a handcrafted carousel and two rock-climbing walls. At the stern-end of Boardwalk is the AquaTheater, an amphitheater featuring the deepest freshwater pool at sea, which will showcase amazing high-dive acrobatics and water fountain ballets synchronized to music and lights.

Royal Promenade will present guests with a spectacular new design of Royal Caribbean’s signature interior boulevard of boutiques, restaurants, and bars and lounges. Natural light will cascade through two Crystal Canopy sculptured glass domes in Central Park and illuminate the widened Royal Promenade with a new overlooking mezzanine level. From the Royal Promenade, guests can enjoy a cocktail in the Rising Tide bar – the first moving bar at sea – while they gently ascend three decks into Central Park above.

The Pool and Sports Zone will feature a sloped-entry beach pool (exclusive to the Oasis-class); two larger FlowRider surf simulators; and a zip-line that soars nine decks above the Boardwalk. Building on the Royal Caribbean’s popular Vitality wellness program, guests will be able to soothe mind, body and soul in the Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, which also includes a dedicated spa area just for teens.  Entertainment Place will include the cruise line’s signature after-dark spaces in more intimate venues that offer a variety of entertainment experiences.  And the Youth Zone will offer a wealth of kid- and teen-friendly adventures, featuring the cruise line’s first nursery for infants and toddlers (six months or older).

New categories in onboard accommodations for guests on Allure of the Seas include bi-level, urban-style Loft Suites and two bedroom/two bathroom AquaTheater Suites, in addition to Central Park- and Boardwalk-facing balcony staterooms. Additional information about the exciting features found on Allure of the Seas is available at www.allureoftheseas.com.