It's official! Royal Caribbean International released initial details of the deployment for its newest Oasis-class ship, the 26th ship in its global fleet, the 230,000-grt Symphony of the Seas.
It was the first confirmation of that name by the line itself, although rampant speculation in the marketplace had been swirling for weeks.
Starting on November 17, 2018, Symphony of the Seas -- the world's largest ship when it launches in April 2018 -- will begin home porting at PortMiami's new state-of-the-art, 170,000-square-foot Terminal A.
"It's slightly longer, a tad wider," and with more staterooms than other Oasis-class vessels," said Michael Bayley, the line's president and CEO. "We've added a couple of features. We've changed the design in Solarium quite a lot, so it's changed the ship ... and added a little bit of weight."
When Symphony of the Seas arrives at PortMiami in November 2018 it will be joined there by Allure of the Seas, a sibling Oasis-class vessel, which will also home port at the new terminal.
Both Symphony of the Seas and Allure of the Seas will sail to the Caribbean on eastern and western Caribbean itineraries. New port call? Bayley said that Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis, will be added as a new destination for the two ships.
Launching in April 2018, Symphony of the Seas' inaugural year also will include summer Mediterranean sailings to such ports as Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; and Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples, Italy.
"By the time we finish our trade partner showings, we'll probably have about 20,000 trade partners who will see the ship," Bayley told reporters.
Those European inaugural season voyages, as well as the Caribbean voyages that begin later in 2018, are now available for agents to book. The line said Allure of the Seas’ 2018-2019 itineraries will open for sale later this month.
Symphony of the Seas will offer 28 more staterooms than sister ship Harmony of the Seas. The new ship will have the line's "neighborhood" concept with Boardwalk, Central Park and other areas, plus Bionic Bar robot bartenders powered by Makr Shakr, Broadway-caliber entertainment, a waterfront AquaTheater, the Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, and Ultimate Abyss – the tallest slide at sea.
While it's expected to debut other new features, Bayley confirmed that those -- as with most new ship roll-outs -- will be revealed in a series of announcements over the next year and a half, designed to enhance the marketplace buzz.
When Terminal A is in operation, it's anticipated that Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., parent company for the Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, will generate at least 1.8 million passenger moving through PortMiami, representing 30 percent of the port’s projected passenger traffic.
Terminal A is expected to bring $500 million in revenue and the addition of 4,000 jobs to Miami-Dade County. Groundbreaking for that terminal will occur later today.
Bayley said that by 2018, the line will have four Oasis-class ships sailing from Florida, and 12 ships in total sailing from the Sunshine State. "It's been a great place to sail from," he said.
He also announced that the line signed an agreement with the Bahamas yesterday and that "we're about to embark on a really large investment at Coco Cay." Among the updates will be a new Coco Cay pier to accommodate Oasis-class ships.
Elements of that project will be done in 2018 with the project to be completed in 2019.
As part of the discussion on today's press conference call, he also revealed that Royal Caribbean's next class of ship -- already under development but not previously announced -- is the "Icon class."
Since the first ship in a class typically determines the class name (as Oasis of the Seas did for the Oasis-class), one could wonder if an "Icon of the Seas," is in the line's future?