At 220,000 tons, and carrying 5,400 passengers, Oasis of the Seas will be by far the biggest cruise ship in the world when construction work is completed and she carries passengers for the first time by the end of this year.
Royal Caribbean’s latest giant will be a third as big again as their record-breaking Freedom class of ships. But rumours are sweeping the travel industry that there might not be enough money to pay for it.
The gossip is based on the small print in a report filed by RCCL in which they detail their $6.5 billion dollar commitment to two Oasis-class ships, and four Solstice class vessels for the Celebrity brand.
Oasis, and sister ship Allure of the Seas – due to be completed in 2010 – are being built in Finland at a cost of $1.2 billion each, and Finnish export credit agency Finnvera has guaranteed 80 per cent of the money.
RCCL say that in the present financial climate, there is no assurance that the remaining money will be secured at all, let alone whether it would be on acceptable terms.
But surely this is an overly-cautious statement required to placate the financial regulators. However rough the credit crunch gets, I can’t believe that Oasis will not be making her maiden voyage in December. She might even pay a visit to the UK en route to Florida.