Oasis Takes Europe By Storm

| Thursday, 11 Apr. 2013

Just about a month ago Royal Caribbean announced that one of world's two largest cruise ships, Oasis of the Seas, would make a visit to Britain and Europe in the autumn of 2014. The line then scheduled an unusually brief transatlantic sojourn with just five cruises in total:

Sept. 14, 2014 - a 12-day transatlantic cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Barcelona with just one port of call in Malaga, Spain before the final destination, Barcelona.

Next come two seven-day cruises in September leaving from Barcelona and sailing to Rome (Civitavecchia) and Naples, Italy. A third seven-day cruise leaves from Barcelona and calls in Malaga, Vigo (both in Spain) and ends in Rotterdam.

Although details have not been announced, the ship will then spend about 15 days in a Rotterdam shipyard, to receive refurbishments and upgrades. That delays the return trip to the U.S. to beginning on October 15th.

The ship "deadheads" from Rotterdam to Southampton to board passengers for the 12-day return voyage which only stops one time, in Vigo, Spain, and then heads directly across the Atlantic to Fort Lauderdale. From there Oasis resumes it regular schedule of Caribbean cruises.

Are you booked on any of these cruises? Tell us here: Cruise Forum

Selling Like Hotcakes

The transatlantic cruise to €urope is already sold out. €ven with prices starting at £899 for an inside stateroom (that is $1377 in today's dollars and €1054), £1009 for an ocean view ($1546 and €1183) and £1019 for a balcony cabin ($1561 and €1195).

In fact, just over $120/day is a very reasonable price for a cruise on Oasis, but the British Pound is a surprisingly weak currency right now. In €uros, the price of a balcony cabin is €1195).

The first seven day cruise begins at £769 for an inside stateroom, ($1178 and €900); £839 for an oceanview ($1285 and €982), and £849 for a balcony stateroom ($1300 and €994).

The prices are the most affordable on the middle seven-day cruise £809 inside ($1239 and €947), £730 oceanview, the best price on any of these cruises; ($1118 and €854) and £819 for a balcony ($1254 and €959). Suites are available on this sailing for £1289 ($1974 and €1509).

The third cruise starts at £809 for an inside ($1239 and €947), £899 for a oceanview ($1377 and €1052)and £959 balcony ($1469 and €1123); suites start at £1549 ($2373 and €1814).

The return transatlantic cruise is also already completely sold out because it had the lowest per diem prices of all the cruises.

Limited Ports of Call

Significantly, due to the size of Oasis of the Seas, there are very few docking facilities worldwide that are capable of handling the ship. She, and her sister Allure of the Seas, is approximately one-third larger than the next largest class of cruise ships, the Freedom-class also from Royal Caribbean. Oasis is not just longer and taller, but also much wider than average, which makes navigating tight docking facilities especially challenging.

Naturally, everyone in the industry sees this voyage as a "test run" for the Oasis-class, to see how well she can manage calling in different ports of call as well as litmus for demand in the European market. It is not the first time she has crossed the Atlantic, but it is the first time she has made the trip with passengers onboard. It also happens that October is the peak month for hurricane activity in the Atlantic. Most hurricanes start and remain in the southern Atlantic; however it is notable that the ship is crossing to Fort Lauderdale, a location often subject to hurricane-related storm activity.

Are you booked on any of these cruises? Tell us here: Cruise Forum

A Third Oasis Coming

It is also very significant that Royal Caribbean has already announced it will build a third Oasis-class vessel, due to arrive in 2015. The line has not yet said where the ship will be deployed, and it is possible they are not yet sure.

Is this a "test run" to see how well Oasis fares in the European market? Of course it is, but that does not mean it is a foregone conclusion that the third Oasis-class ship will be deployed there. Many cruise lines have only begun to test the waters in Asia, sending a number of ships to Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai for the first time.

Asia has a lot of people in a burgeoning middle-class hungry for cruise ships. Many cities have undertaken huge port facility projects and at least two brand new cruise terminals; Hong Kong and Singapore, have been designed specifically to handle Oasis-class vessels.

Are you booked on any of these cruises? Tell us here: Cruise Forum

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