Royal Caribbean International has laid the keel for its fifith and largest cruise ship, Wonder of the Seas, and announced that it will be homeported in China, which according to Dubai cruise website Cruise Arabia & Africa, means that it will also stopover in Dubai.
As the 970-ton block, measuring 155 feet by 65 feet, was lifted onto the building dock with a 1,400-ton crane, the first of several hundred that will make up the 240,000-gross ton ship, Royal Caribbean President and CEO Michael Bayley announced that Wonder of the Seas will be based in Shanghai.
“Wonder of the Seas will redefine the ultimate vacation and be revolutionary in her own right, and she marks one of Royal Caribbean’s most exciting chapters to come,” he said.
Wonder of the Seas will be part of the Oasis-class of ships, the largest in the world.
According to Royal Caribbean it will combine the iconic seven-neighborhood concept that her sister ships feature along with a bold lineup of thrilling experiences, imaginative dining, unparalleled entertainment and the latest technology.
It will be the largest cruise ship ever built when launched in 2021 and will likely be sent to Dubai on the way to China.
According to Cruise Arabia & Africa, every single one of the Royal Caribbean cruise ships that make the re-positioning cruise from Europe to Asia do so via Dubai, offering the city as a key turnaround port on the grand voyage.
When Quantum of the Seas was sent to China in 2015 she cruised from Dubai, becoming the largest cruise ship ever to do so, while her slightly larger sister ship Spectrum of the Seas did the same this year.
Royal Caribbean is unlikely to re-position Wonder of the Seas to Asia without doing a turnaround in Dubai, because it’s difficult to market the ten days at sea between Suez or Aqaba and the Arabian Gulf without the promise of Dubai at the end of it.
It’s also worth noting that the new Dubai Harbour cruise port has been designed to accommodate the Oasis-class ships, and it’s due to open in 2020.