In just over one year, Royal Caribbean International's Oasis of the Seas will make her long awaited debut. The ship, under construction at STX Europe in Turku, Finland, reached an important maritime milestone today when she was "floated out" -- moved from dry dock to wet dock -- to begin the final stages of interior work.
At official ceremonies held at the shipyard, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. executives, Richard Fain, chairman and CEO and Harri Kulovaara, executive vice president, Maritime were joined by Martin Landtman, president, STX Finland Cruise Oy, and Toivo Ilvonen, project director, Oasis-class, to turn the valve releasing 87 million gallons of water into the wet dock area.
"This is a historic day for our company. After more than three years of intense planning and collaboration and with 65 percent of the ship already complete, it's exciting to see Oasis entering its final stages," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "Oasis of the Seas truly represents the innovative spirit that our company is known for and to see that come to fruition is wonderful."
The line chose this important milestone to announce that Oasis of the Seas will enter service under the command of Captain William S. Wright and Captain Tor Olsen. Wright, a 15-year veteran of Royal Caribbean International, was also the start up Captain for Freedom of the Seas, currently the largest ship in the world with sister-ships Liberty of the Seas and Independence of the Seas, and 40 percent smaller than Oasis of the Seas. Wright also is one of the few American captains in international cruising and currently serves as the senior vice president of Marine Operations for the cruise line.
Born in Norway, Captain Tor Olsen has been on the high seas since the age of 16. He joined Royal Caribbean International in 1987 working on Song of America and has served as Captain on five Royal Caribbean ships from the Voyager-class to the Vision-class.
When Oasis launches in December 2009, she will feature the unique neighborhood concept that will provide guests with the opportunity to seek out relevant experiences based on their personal style, preference or mood in seven distinct areas of the ship. This unique concept, which also creates a vast array of accommodation choices for guests never before found at sea, is the result of a quantum leap forward in revolutionary cruise ship design.
An architectural marvel at sea, Oasis 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. She will be the first ship to tout the cruise line's new neighborhood concept of seven distinct themed areas, which include Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone. The ship will sail from her home port of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Additional information is available at www.oasisoftheseas.com.