The first pictures of the largest cruise ship afloat undergoing her initial sea trials have been released by Royal Caribbean. The 220,000-ton Oasis of the Seas has left the shipyard at Turku in Finland and will undergo three days of stringent tests.
And yes, that is a blimp tethered to the ship’s stern. Whether it will still be there when the vessel enters service in December is another matter. RCI chairman Richard Fain says it is an experiment which has a less than 50 per cent chance of succeeding.
He says: “If we don’t use it on the ship, I will consider it just another of the many ideas our people develop that didn’t work. On the other hand, if it is successful and we do decide to use it on the ship, I will consider it another of my better ideas.”
It’s not too far-fetched a plan. On Saga Ruby’s recent mystery cruise to Scandinavia, Captain Philip Rentell brought along a friend and his hot air balloon, which flew on a couple of occasions from the aft deck. Not with passengers in the basket though – that was considered too risky even for the most intrepid Saganauts.
There are more pictures of Oasis at sea in RCI’s own Flickr.com gallery.