It could be argued that technology has halted some areas of the cruise industry, at least in terms of its new ships.
After all, over the last few years we have become accustomed to a process of stretching1, which effectively remodels an existing boat, and adds additional capacity at the same time. Suffice to say, it’s a much more cost-effective approach than paying for a new ship, whereby the costs can be out of this world2.
We have of course seen river boats and smaller vessels continue to advance and incorporate designs that would have once-been unheard of3. At least in terms of the cruise ship industry, there have only been two “large” ships released in the past decade though.
However, all of that (or some of it) seems set to change. Royal Caribbean are poised to unleash their latest masterclass onto the waters4, in the form of the Wonder of the Seas. They have been relatively tight-lipped about the ship so far, but let’s mull over some of the things that we have found out about it.
How big is the Wonder of the Seas going to be?
All we know is that this will be the “largest ship in the world” when it enters the waters. Considering some of the largest existing ships5, which are also run by Royal Caribbean, stretch beyond 360m, we can already gauge the minimum size that the Wonder of the Seas is going to be built to.
What features will be on-board?
Unfortunately, Royal Caribbean have been quite coy about this. However, the ship is part of the famous Oasis-class of ships6 that form part of the Royal Caribbean brand and we can therefore gauge that it is going to include exquisite restaurants, dining experiences and constant entertainment. It is also highly likely to contain the seven-neighborhood concept that has become commonplace amongst the Oasis ships.
When and where will the ship enter service?
It remains to be seen whether the coronavirus pandemic will impact the release of this ship, although Royal Caribbean have said that work is still ongoing (albeit with just 50% of the workers on site).
However, based on the knowledge that has been passed on so far, Royal Caribbean have stated that this ship will enter waters in 2021. It has been built to tour the Asia Pacific (and will therefore become the first of the Oasis class to do this).
Is there a succession strategy?
While all of the talk might be about the Wonder of the Seas, Royal Caribbean have a regular succession plan up their sleeves. In February 2019 it was announced that they had ordered a sixth ship as part of the Oasis class, although this is not expected to enter service until 2023.
Interestingly, a seventh ship was also planned for 2026, although negotiations have since ceased due to the impact of coronavirus.
In truth, all of the above dates are subject to change based on the circumstances that the world finds itself in. However, based on the progress that has already been made with the Wonder of the Seas, this is one ship that Royal Caribbean are likely to stick with regardless. Hopefully, we will start to learn more about the ship in the coming months and find the intricate details that will complement it alongside being the largest ship in the world.
- Time: The process of stretching cruise ships
- Telegraph: A look at the most expensive cruise ships ever built
- American Queen Steamboat Company: The innovative design of river boats in the US
- Express: Royal Caribbean reveal the Wonders of the Seas
- HMY: A list of the largest passenger ships in the world (in timeline format)
- Wikipedia: An in-depth look at the Oasis class of ships by Royal Caribbean