Eagle-eyed Cruise Critic member CRUISEAHOLIC48 spotted on the Port of Southampton's Web site that Royal Caribbean's 220,000-ton, 5,400-passenger Oasis of the Seas is slated to call on the U.K. port on November 8, 2009. Oasis of the Seas is the year's most anticipated cruise ship, and will surpass its Freedom-class siblings as the largest in the world.
The ship won't yet be sailing revenue cruises (the first voyage open to the public departs Ft. Lauderdale on December 1), so the stop would likely be during its repositioning from the shipyard in Finland across the Atlantic to the Florida homeport. Before Independence of the Seas launched last April, the line held a few days worth of festivities in Southampton, including events onboard for contest winners and a party in Mayflower Park (near to the cruise terminal) for residents who wanted to check it out from afar.
Southampton's online calendar shows Oasis docked from noon until 5 p.m. -- just enough time to get a glimpse of the mammoth ship! But don't make plans just yet to park yourself near the pier for a sneak peek. The Web site states that the schedule "is strictly provisional and may be subject to alteration without prior notice." A spokesperson for Royal Caribbean confirms that though a brief stop in Southampton is one of the options, the schedule for Oasis is yet to be finalized.
"Solstice was also on the schedule in 2008," CRUISEAHOLIC48 points out, "but she sailed right past to Ft. Lauderdale, so will see what happens with Oasis."
Royal Caribbean could not share any details at this point as to what would go on in port should Oasis make the call. We'll keep you posted. In the meantime, join the discussion and tell us what you think about Oasis' "mystery" call!
(P.S.: For those following all things Oasis, a Royal Caribbean spokesman tells Cruise Critic that the next scheduled "reveal" will take place during Seatrade, the massive annual cruise industry convention, in mid-March -- we'll be there!)
--by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor, and Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor