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Royal Caribbean sends the world’s largest cruise ship to European waters

Skift Take

The Oasis and sister ship Allure set records at launch in 2009, but they’ll soon be upstaged by a new mega ship from RCI and face small-but-ambitious challenges from a new class of ships from Norwegian Cruise Line.

— Jason Clampet

One of the world’s largest cruise ships is going on a European vacation.

But the 5,400-passenger Oasis of the Seas, which has sailed from Fort Lauderdale since late 2009, won’t be gone for long.

Royal Caribbean International said Wednesday that the ship will depart Fort Lauderdale for a 12-night trip to Barcelona on Sept. 1, 2014. It will sail three voyages — two in the Western Mediterranean and one from Barcelona to the Netherlands — before undergoing scheduled maintenance in a Rotterdam shipyard.

Oasis will head out for a 13-night trip back to South Florida on Oct. 14. Royal Caribbean will not fill the Oasis-sized gap at Port Everglades during that time.

The 225,282-ton megaship, which shares the title of “world’s largest” with sister Allure of the Seas, can’t sail just anywhere. Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Adam Goldstein said in an interview that the ports Oasis will call on can either accommodate the ship as they are or with manageable effort.

“There’s not going to be any substantial commercial development projects that need to take place either in home ports or ports of call,” Goldstein said.

Goldstein wouldn’t comment on whether the autumn trip across the pond is a test run for future deployment in Europe, but he said the cruise line’s thinking has evolved.

“Today we realize that in the future, as the cruise industry continues to grow around the world and infrastructure continues to develop around the world, that even Oasis-class vessels can be who-knows-where around the world,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes.”

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