Building New Cruise Ships: Unique & Unusual Stories

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We have started down the visible path to delivery of Quantum of the Seas.  For some reason this has got me reminiscing about stuff that has happened over time connected to our newbuilds.  One thing you can be sure of if you stay in this business for a decade or two or three – you’re going to experience some unusual things. Here are a few.

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One of the first experiences I can remember occurred in St. Nazaire, France the day before delivery of Majesty of the Seas in 1992.  I came to the shipyard with a takeout lunch from McDonald’s and was escorted to a room where one unassuming man was silently leafing through papers.  While I ate my lunch he suddenly and wordlessly ran out of the room at full speed.  I later learned this was Svein Pettersen, Majesty’s Captain (and one of Royal Caribbean’s most distinguished Captains) who was advised that high winds had caused Majesty to break her ropes on one end of the ship and to begin swinging out into the river channel.  Although the ship would not become our property until the next morning, Captain Pettersen was off and running to secure “his” ship which he was able to do without incident.

In the winter of 1998 – 99 we were so excited to show off Voyager of the Seas that we deluded ourselves into thinking we should bring some top travel agents and media to the shipyard in Finland to have them walk around a “ship” consisting only of steel in the dead of a Finnish winter. It was so ridiculously cold that we needed our guests to carry cardboard around to place under their feet wherever we asked them to stop and listen to us explain what an empty space was destined to become. On a warmer note, there have been several times in the dead of Finnish winters where the shipyard has hosted us and our guests for a dinner in Turku Castle which dates back something like 800 years.  These dinners have been real highlights and probably the best way of conveying to us modern folk what it must have been like to spend a convivial evening in a lonely land in late medieval times.

In the spring of 2004, I enjoyed my first (and so far only) overnight conveyance of Jewel of the Seas from the shipyard in Papenburg, Germany down the River Ems to the sea at Emshaven.  Since Jewel was several weeks away from delivery, the yard captain and team took the ship down the narrow river backwards.  The bridge was completely dark (not to mention at the aft end of the backwards moving ship) and the scene looked like something out of a movie thriller.  On top of that, it was the night of the NCAA Final Four basketball games and we sports-crazed Americans somehow bullied the operations team into putting the games on tv in the middle of the night because we were so sure our guests wanted to see them!

Back to Finland, in 2008 those of us who were involved with the idea of Central Park on Oasis of the Seas wanted to gain a true understanding of the ambiance of the venue.  The only problem of course was that Central Park didn’t exist yet.  That was a trivial obstacle to our Chairman Richard Fain, who asked Harri Kulovaara to work with the shipyard to create a one to one scale mock-up of Central Park in a remote building in the shipyard where no one (i.e., our competitors) could possibly come across it.  Amazingly the newbuild team and the shipyard pulled off this feat to such an extent that we enjoyed a lovely dinner in our pretend version of Central Park (think of the town in the movie Blazing Saddles).

I note that these events occur about every five years, so I’m due for another memorable experience in the run up to Quantum of the Seas’ delivery in October, 2014.

  • http://www.stategardienz.com Ricky

    What are the latest details about Anthem of the Seas?

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      No information yet, Ricky. Stay tuned!

  • Domino

    Adam….how exciting to be able to visit so many wonderful places and have all of these experiences no matter how strange they seem…thats why I love cruising….always something new

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      Thanks for reading, Domino.

  • Olga

    Adam …cant wait for the new Quantum of the Seas to set sail…..I am booked on the first three day cruise out of Cape Liberty….and I am booked on the Enchantment of the Seas in July……

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      We’re glad you’re excited, Olga. We hope to see you onboard soon.

  • Jim Moore

    Here’s hoping your next new build is as successful as the past builds. And we hope RCI looks into a new build to replace the Vision and Radiance-class ships for your many loyal fans who prefer the small to mid-sized ships.

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      We appreciate the support, Jim and will take your suggestion into consideration. Thank you.

  • http://www.adaptiveworkplacesolutions.com Scott

    Adam,
    With all of the focus on the Quantum build, I wanted to divert some attention with a question about the third Oasis class.
    A few years ago, my wife, daughter and I were on Allure, and had the vacation of a lifetime.
    As a diamond member, I can appreciate how far things have come, since I first cruised on the Song of America.
    I’m curious to find out if you can shed some light on some of the new features that will be on that ship.
    It seems that as ships are deployed that features that had been introduced, seem to find their way onto newer builds.
    Can we expect virtual balconies? A Sea-plex? Will there be new features that aren’t on the other Oasis class ships, that you can shed some light on?

    Regards,
    Scott Geller

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      Hello Scott. Right now we are not releasing any information but as soon as the time comes, we will share everything we can. What would you like to see most?

      • Dennis

        Adam-

        I am jumping in on Scott’s comment. You asked what passengers wanted to see the most.

        Think outside of the box (Yes, many of these are really out there)

        – Swim with fishes while on the ship (large aquarium perhaps, EPCOT’s living Seas….)

        – Some type of astronomy exhibit (think telescopes to gaze toward the skies in the middle of the ocean)

        – Laser light show topside AND projected into the water

        – Shipboard activity where a lucky child (or Dennis) would be able to sound the horn. Limit this activity to once a day

        – Kite flying off the back of the ship, kites made with bio-degradeable material

        – Executive level cooking class, for a fee, with the head chef.

        – If a roller coaster can be on top of a casino, why cant one be on a cruise ship (as I said, silly I know)?

        – Love the idea of virtual windows, I almost want to book an inside on the Quantum to see it. Make sure the feed is live from outside, not a ‘spool’

        – Swim up bars !!!!!!

        – Connected pools via swim through tube

        – If you use this one, we need to talk compensation. Pool side food service. I for one would love to be able to order food while lounging by the pool. I would even pay a fee (similar to the after hours room service fee) to be able to get food brought to my chair when I am sitting soaking up the sun.

        – Company sponsored Bar Crawl, make it fun, worthwhile for guests

        Some of these ideas are really out of the box, as I stated, but there might be one or two that you could use.

        • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

          Thank you for the great suggestions, Dennis. We will pass these on for consideration.

      • Scott

        I think you should take an example from the new Norwegian ship and consider some of their “outdoor” restaurants with seating out on the deck! The activities on the Oasis were incredible when we were on it, so definitely more of the same there!

        • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

          Thanks for reading, Scott. We will take your suggestion into consideration.

  • Stuart Falk

    Thank you for sponsoring the Tony Awards and for Royal Caribbean’s partnership with the Broadway theater.

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      We’re proud of our partnerships, Stuart. Thank you for the kind words.

  • John Sousa

    Hi Adam,
    We certainly are very “Royal Loyal”. I just booked our 17th cruise today for February 15, 2014 in the Independence of the . Seas. Of these, this will be our 13th with Royal Caribbean (3 were two week cruises in Europe), 3 cruises with Celebrity (but … still prefer Royal Caribbean ships!!!) and another with another line. We LOVE cruising and Royal Caribbean is the BEST!
    On June 2015 we will be celebrating our 50th Wedding Anniversary and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Quantum of the Seas. Our plan is to sail with our children, grandchildren and other family members (at least 25) but so far booking is only up to April 2015.
    When will the booking open up beyond April?
    Thank You,
    John Sousa

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      Hello John, itineraries past past May 2015 will be available next March. Thanks for being Loyal to Royal!