There isn’t a vessel around that commands the “floating island” cliché like the 225,282-ton, 5,400-passenger Oasis-class twins, which are some 40 percent larger than the next biggest cruise ships and feature at-sea Central Parks, Boardwalks, zip-lining and AquaTheaters.
But these destinations unto themselves still cruise somewhere — six Caribbean ports capable of docking the beasts — and so too will Oasis III, the mega-mega-mega-ship Royal Caribbean admitted last week could launch in 2016.
Not surprisingly, Cruise Critic readers were ready with suggestions. In a message boards poll, a quarter of respondents voted that Oasis III should set up shop in the Mediterranean. These days, some 50 percent of Royal Caribbean’s passengers are internationally sourced, with the majority of those coming from Europe. Barcelona is capable of handling the sea monster, but a handful of other ports would have to make modifications in the next few years — Royal Caribbean has made it clear that Oasis and tender shall never be wed.
A quarter voted “somewhere else,” which we took to mean the Caribbean, current playground of Oasis of Seas and Allure of the Seas. Many readers were quite confident that one of the triplets would move north from Fort Lauderdale to Port Canaveral, which has been spending big to ready itself for Oasis-size ships. “Honestly, with people a paying a premium for the same Eastern/Western Caribbean itinerary, why should [Royal Caribbean] change anything?” mused Palmetto Pilot.
A lot can change in the next four years. Other readers suggested that by 2016, one of the threesome would head for the Far East — a burgeoning market Royal is salivating over — where it could cruise from Singapore. A handful of ports would have plenty of time to ramp up the infrastructure.
If the Northeast continues its ascent, perhaps Cape Liberty, the New Jersey homeport used by Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises, could welcome an Oasis-class ship for part of the year. (No one would argue that the current duo, with their focus on outdoor, foliage-filled spaces, are designed for the Caribbean. Year-round NY/NJ would be out of the question without weather-related ship modifications.)
Are we ready for this? More than a few Oasis-class vets felt the ship would do quite well without any ports. “The Oasis class ships are a destination unto themselves,” bmdlover said. “How about a wonderful trip across the Atlantic, with no ports or distractions?”
Finally, there might be a new homeport on the horizon: “By my house,” rwdnj offered.
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— The top photo is the first rendering from Royal Caribbean’s Project Genesis ships, which ultimately were named Oasis and Allure.