(3 p.m. EDT) -- The final pieces are falling into place for Oasis of the Seas, with the ship's future owners (Royal Caribbean) and homeport (Fort Lauderdale) poised to introduce the world to the largest cruise ship ever built.
Industry publication Seatrade Insider is reporting that Oasis' new Fort Lauderdale, Florida home, Port Everglades Terminal 18, has just been given the official "certificate of occupancy," meaning that it can open for business. Royal Caribbean will have several weeks to test out the new terminal's functionality before the 5,400-passenger, 225,282-ton Oasis of the Seas arrives in Fort Lauderdale on November 11.
Photo Timeline: Final Oasis Milestones
Back in Turku, Finland at the STX Europe shipyard, Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., wrote in his blog that ship welcomed its first passengers, 1,000 or so yard workers who got to celebrate their impressive achievement with an onboard event. The official handover ceremony, which signifies the ship's transfer from yard to cruise line, will take place tomorrow.
Take a peek at some brand-new Oasis photos, sent from Cruise Business Review's Teijo Niemala and Cruise Critic contributor Christer Gorschelnik.
--by Dan Askin, Associate Editor