Royal Caribbean Orders New Biggest Ship(s) Ever

September 19, 2003
After much anticipation, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today has ordered the “Ultra Voyager,” a 160,000-ton, 3,600-passenger mega-vessel that builds on the popularity of the company’s Voyager-class ships. The prototypical Ultra Voyager, slated for delivery in May 2006, will be about 15 percent larger than a ship like Voyager of the Seas, measuring 126 feet by 1,112 feet, and standing 18 stories high. It will operate at a maximum speed of 22 knots.

The Ultra Voyager will be built at Finland’s Kvaerner Masa-Yards and Royal Caribbean says the cost will be $200,000 – per berth. The company’s 142,000-ton, 3,400-passenger Voyager-class ships, which in addition to the original also include Explorer of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas and the soon-to-be-launched Mariner of the Seas, have all been built at Finland’s Kvaerner Masa-Yards.

Royal Caribbean had built anticipation over the possibility of a new, biggest-ship-ever in June when it announced that it had signed a preliminary agreement in June with Kvaerner Masa-Yards. At that time, the company’s announcement had said the potential of actually making the deal was conditional, based on improving positions of the euro-dollar exchange rate. Royal Caribbean president Jack Williams backed away from that requirement during a press conference on Serenade of the Seas last month. He did say, at that time, however, that he was “pleased with the [state of the Euro], making the potential purchase [of Ultra Voyager] very attractive.”

Royal Caribbean also has taken an option for a second Ultra Voyager class vessel; if exercised, it would be delivered in 2007.

Speaking of options, Royal Caribbean also announces today it will not build more 90,000-ton, 2,100-passenger Radiance-class ships. It had held options at Germany’s Meyer Werft shipyard to build the class’ fifth and sixth ships; those have now been dropped. That shipyard is currently constructing Royal Caribbean’s fourth Radiance-class ship – Jewel of the Seas. It launches April 2004.