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Royal Caribbean Cruises building more luxury ships and re-deploying a Legend

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With the popularity of cruise vacations still at the top of the wave in the world of travel, Royal Caribbean International (RCI) is currently building a third ‘Oasis-class’ ship and has ordered a fourth from ship-builder STX in Saint-Nazaire, France.

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The still unnamed energy-saving ships, currently referred to as Oasis III and Oasis IV, are scheduled for delivery in 2016 and 2018. They will join the five-star Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.

At the keel-laying ceremony of Oasis III Royal Caribbean chairman and CEO Richard Fain said “We are thrilled to announce the order of a fourth Oasis-class ship during the keel-laying milestone of the third. This announcement is also a testament to the men and women of STX France who have worked so hard and so cooperatively on Oasis III.”

During the ship-yard event newly minted coins were placed under the keel and will stay in place until the end of the ship’s construction. Once the ship is near to completion, the coins will be retrieved and presented to the ship’s Captain and crew to be placed on board the ship. According to maritime tradition, the coins are said to bring luck to the ship during its construction process and then to its Captain and crew when she is sailing out at sea.

Because RCI is so environmentally ‘green’ oriented, Oasis III will be approximately 20 percent more energy efficient than Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas - which already are the most energy efficient cruise ships in the world. The fourth Oasis-class ship is expected to continue to build on that efficiency.

All of the Oasis-class ships feature a revolutionary design with a split superstructure and the cruise line’s ‘neighborhood’ concept of seven distinct themed areas. Spanning 16 decks with 2,700 staterooms, the Oasis-class ships also introduced many ‘firsts’ at sea - an 82 foot-long zip line, a handcrafted carousel, the Rising Tide elevating bar, the AquaTheater high-diving performance venue, and the Central Park with more than 12,000 live trees and plants. Meet your friends in Central Park before embarking on a night of drinks, dinner, a show and dancing - and try your luck in the casino while you're out and about.

The Oasis Class also offers other features that can only be found on the Royal Caribbean Fleet, such as twin FlowRider surf simulators, cantilevered whirlpools, an ice-skating rink, the H2O Zone kids aqua park, and the Royal Promenade, an interior boulevard that stretches nearly the length of the ship and flanked by restaurants, lounges and boutiques. Everyone can enjoy their own style of cruising - from the kid-friendly attractions to the adult parks and lounges -Royal Caribbean truly has a neighborhood just for you.

While all this new construction is going on, the cruise line has also announced that the fully revitalized Legend of the Seas will begin year-round seasonal service in 2015-16. Legend will cruise from Singapore in the summer season, and then embark on sailings to idyllic settings in Australia and the South Pacific during the winter season from the cruise line’s new home-port of Brisbane, Australia.

With Mariner of the Seas also sailing from Singapore in the winter season, Legend of the Seas’ new summer season will mark the first time that the cruise line will offer year-round sailings from Singapore. Additionally, Legend of the Seas will join Explorer of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas to total a record deployment of four Royal Caribbean ships in Australia.

While making its home port in Singapore, Legend of the Seas will sail a variety of three- to 10-night round-trip itineraries throughout Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Vacationers also can choose among two consecutive 14-night itineraries in September 2015, a southbound sailing from Singapore to Perth (Fremantle), Australia, followed by a northbound return, both taking guests to Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Western Australia.

Legend of the Seas will then transition from Singapore to its new home-port of Brisbane on an 18-night itinerary, departing in late November 2015. During the cruise line’s first season sailing from the Australian city, vacationers can choose among a wide range of eight- to 11-night, round-trip itineraries that take them to Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Loyalty Islands and Fiji in the South Pacific. The ship also will offer seven-night Queensland sailings which feature an overnight at Cairns. Additionally, a 14-night New Zealand itinerary will take guests to Auckland, Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, Akaroa, and Dunedin, as well as cruise Dusky, Doubtful, and Milford sounds.

The refurbished Legend of the Seas offers passengers seven dining options, including the cruise line’s signature Chops Grille steakhouse, Izumi Asian Cuisine, Park Café gourmet deli, and the exclusive Chef’s Table, a multi-course dining and wine-pairing experience.

Every stateroom and bathroom have been renewed and new ship-wide technology enhancements, such as an oversize LED movie screen poolside, digital signage at elevator lobbies, flat-panel televisions in staterooms, and bow-to-stern WiFi service, give guests the most contemporary vacation experience at sea.

In 2013, among dozens of accolades, Royal Caribbean was given the Travel Weekly Reader’s Choice Award for Best Cruise Line Overall -for the 11th consecutive year. Summing up, if you can’t wait to cruise on board one of the upcoming Oasis-class ships, just contact your travel agent or go to www.royalcaribbean.com to pick and choose from a plethora of holidays on one of the award-winning ships in the RCI fleet.

Written by Don Church and Tony Schillaci, Out and Travelin’

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