Here's one of five photos from Oasis of the Seas' June 2009 sea trials, the first test of the massive ship's seaworthiness. See that blimp-like structure hovering behind Oasis (guess you can't miss it)? That's an aerostat, a lighter-than-air object that's tethered to the ship. Its function: offering hot air balloon-style rides in which Oasis passengers can float skyward in a gondola or basket.
Royal Caribbean Chairman Richard Fain commented on his blog that it was an experiment, offering the following: "The idea is interesting, but it has such a cornucopia of practical issues that I give it less than a 50 percent chance of being used on Oasis. 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."
Oasis of the Seas is under construction in Finland at STX Europe's Turku shipyard. The ship will make its official cruising debut on December 5 (a preview cruise will take place on December 1).
--Photo is courtesy of Royal Caribbean and STX Europe.