(11 a.m. EDT) -- After rampant speculation from the media and initial silence from Royal Caribbean, parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. (RCCL) has finally confirmed it is negotiating the "possible" construction of another Oasis-type ship.
The announcement was part of RCCL's third-quarter earnings guidance. "While the company has not entered into any agreement at this time, it hopes to do so before year's end." If a contract is hammered out, the ship would be delivered in mid-to-late 2016.
"The Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas have proven themselves to be exceptionally attractive ships by generating the highest guest satisfaction ratings in the fleet coupled with very compelling financial returns," Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of RCCL, said during the call.
Royal Caribbean already has two 158,000-ton ships -- both able to hold some 4,100 passengers -- on order (for 2014 and 2015) at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany. Both ships will be smaller than the Oasis-class ships, which are 225,282-tons and hold 5,400 passengers.
The negotiations come as the line continues to see financial improvement. In particular, the line said close-in booking activity and cost controls were stronger than the company had anticipated.
--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor