The world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas, will offer cruises in Europe for the first time in autumn 2014, including its first ever call into Southampton on 15th October 2014. The first ever European season of Oasis of the Seas will go on sale on 11th April 2013.
Accommodating 6,400 guests at total capacity, Oasis of the Seas is longer than four football pitches, wider than almost six London buses parked end-to-end, and is a huge 225,282 Gross Registered Tons. When Oasis of the Seas arrives in Southampton, it will be 40% larger than any other cruise ship to ever dock in the UK and will join two further Royal Caribbean International cruise ships based in the port.
Oasis of the Seas will leave Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, its home port since December 2009, on 1st September 2014 on a 12-night eastbound transatlantic cruise to Barcelona. The world’s largest and most innovative cruise ship will offer a series of cruises from the Spanish port – two five-night roundtrip Western Mediterranean sailings and a seven-night sailing to Rotterdam – before heading to dry-dock in the Képpel Verolme shipyard in the Netherlands for routine maintenance.
The ship will return to Port Everglades on a 13-night westbound transatlantic cruise on 14th October 2014, departing from Rotterdam in the Netherlands and calling into Southampton on 15th October 2014 where guests can join the ship to sail across the Atlantic.
Jo Rzymowska, Associate Vice President and General Manager, Royal Caribbean International, UK and Ireland, said: “Oasis of the Seas sailing from Southampton is going to be the hottest ticket in town. Bringing the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ship to Europe is testament to how much the cruise industry has grown. When Oasis of the Seas was launched, the ship was a real game-changer for the cruise industry and it continues to be one of the most innovative holiday resorts in the world. Royal Caribbean International is proud to have a long heritage of ships calling in and based from Southampton and we’re very excited to add Oasis of the Seas to this.”
Oasis of the Seas has a range of exclusive features onboard such as its very own Central Park, a real outdoor park about the size of a football pitch filled with more than 12,000 real trees and plants; an 82 foot-long zip wire; a hand-crafted carousel; the AquaTheater, a huge open air theatre; rock-climbing walls and surf simulators. The ship features 16 decks packed full of activities and entertainment including the Broadway hit, Hairspray, huge open air spaces and more activities for families than have ever been seen at sea before.
The UK and Ireland cruise industry continues to perform well and in 2012 over 1.7 million holidaymakers took a cruise – the highest it has ever been, with one in eight of all package holidays taken as a cruise. According to industry statistics released by the Passenger Shipping Association, in the past year there was a 10% increase in holidaymakers joining cruise ships from a UK or Irish port of call.