After weeks of speculation and a Europe-wide search to secure finance guarantees, Royal Caribbean has contracted to build a third Oasis-class ship in France, for delivery in the summer of 2016.
The deal also includes an option for a fourth 5,400-passenger vessel to be completed in 2018.
Confirmation of the company’s plans to build a sister ship to Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas – at 226,000 tons the largest cruise ships in the world – came in a statement from CEO Richard Fain in October, following reports that the Finnish government was in talks about finance.
However, instead of going to the Turku shipyard which created her sisters, the order for the new vessel has been agreed with STX Europe in St Nazaire, France, the yard which built two other giants, Norwegian Epic and Cunard’s Queen Mary 2.
Fain said: “The Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas have fundamentally transformed the cruise experience for our guests. “These ships have consistently generated outstanding guest satisfaction ratings and continue to produce superior financial results. We are thrilled to be adding a sister to this extraordinary class of vessels at a compelling price. Being back building in France just adds to the pleasure.”
Shipyard boss Laurent Castaing added: “STX France is proud to partner with Royal Caribbean again and continue our decades-long relationship by building the third Oasis-class ship. Royal Caribbean has always been an important part of our shipyard’s success, and we are delighted to add this highly innovative and spectacular ship to the list of vessels we have built together.”
The cost of the new ship has not been disclosed, although Royal Caribbean says its projected capital expenditures for the next five years total $5.7 billion (about £3.8 billion). The company has two 158,000-ton Sunshine-class ships on order from the Meyer-Werft yard in Germany, and is joint owner of TUI Cruises, which is building two 99,300-ton ships for delivery in 2014 and 2015.
Oasis and Allure sail from Fort Lauderdale on weekly cruises to the Caribbean. News of the third and possibly fourth ships of the same class opens up the possibility of one being deployed to the Mediterranean and possibly the Far East.