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Royal Caribbean’s Next Mammoth Cruise Ship Starts Trials

Utopia cruise ship
Utopia of the Seas becomes the second largest cruise ship in service (Royal Caribbean International)

Published May 8, 2024 3:30 PM by The Maritime Executive

 

What is set to become the world’s second-largest cruise ship in service, Royal Caribbean International’s Utopia of the Seas began sea trials this morning in France. The ship is just 10 weeks away from her scheduled entry into service when she will become the first of the Oasis class to enter the short cruise market and the first of the class to be powered by LNG.

The cruise ship is also set to briefly hold the title of the world’s second-largest cruise ship in service. At 236,860 gross tons, the Utopia of the Seas is the sixth and largest of the Oasis class. The ship has over 2,800 passenger cabins giving it a double occupancy capacity of 5,668 people and a total passenger capacity of more than 7,000 people. She will have a crew of 2,290 people.

The ship is smaller than Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas (248,663 gross tons) but surpasses the previous Oasis class ship, Wonder of the Seas which is 235,600 gross tons. The newest ship, Utopia of the Seas however has a larger double occupancy passenger capacity than the Icon of the Seas but due to changes in the general arrangement has a slightly smaller passenger capacity than the Wonder of the Seas. She will be eclipsed by the second Icon class ship next year.

 

Utopia moving away from the fitting out berth for five days of trials (RCI)

 

The cruise ship is beginning five days of sea trials having departed from the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard. More than 900 experts, specialists across areas like naval architecture, engineering, navigation, and design, are on Utopia for the sea trials. The teams are carrying out hundreds of tests and inspections, from how the ship moves through the water and the operation of its navigation systems to engine performance, back-of-house technical checks, and more. The ship is expected to sail more than 1,000 miles during the trial, and then it will return to the shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France to complete final outfitting before delivery. The Utopia of the Seas is scheduled to enter service in July sailing from Port Canaveral, Florida to the Bahamas.

Construction on this cruise ship began with the first steel cut in April 2022. Utopia of the Seas was floated in September 2023 after about 15 months of assembly.

Measuring 1,188 feet (362 meters) in length, the ship offers a host of amenities for its passengers. This includes 23 bars, 21 locations for food, five pools, eight hot tubs, and three water slides.  It is the first time a ship of her size has been deployed full-time on 3-night weekend and 4-night weekday cruises. 

The most significant change to the design is the addition of the LNG-fueled power plant. She becomes the 21st LNG-fueled cruise ship in service with an additional 14 currently on order. This year Royal Caribbean became the latest to join the sector with Utopia becoming its second LNG ship and the third for the corporation. Carnival Corporation introduced the first LNG-fueled cruise ship, AIDANova in 2018.

Royal Caribbean plans to continue its expansion focusing on mammoth cruise ships at the moment. A sister ship to the Icon, called Star of the Seas, is due to enter service in 2025 and a third ship of the class is scheduled for 2026. In February, Royal Caribbean also ordered a seventh Oasis class cruise ship to be a sister to Utopia. It will also be built in France for delivery in 2028.