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The largest ever

STX Finland delivered its second Oasis class ship – the Allure of the Seas – to Royal Caribbean International in October 2010. Together with her sister ship, which was handed over a year earlier, they are the largest and most innovative cruise ships afloat.

The culmination of more than 40 years of cooperation between Royal Caribbean, the shipyard, and its suppliers, the Allure of the Seas and the Oasis of the Seas are the most powerful and sophisticated ships of their type. Measuring 361 metres in length and with a gross tonnage of 225,000 tonnes, the Allure of the Seas can accommodate up to 6,360 passengers. That is around 12 times the size of the Song of Norway, which was the first ship to be delivered to Royal Caribbean by STX Finland’s predecessor back in 1970.

The size of the Allure of the Seas enables the ship to offer a number of new and unique experiences. Seven theme areas provide something for passengers of all ages, as do an open-air central plaza with more than 12,000 plants, 60 vines, and 56 trees, a shopping street, tens of restaurants and boutiques, and a 3D cinema, together with numerous other facilities.

In addition to a surf simulator and a beachtype pool, the Allure of the Seas also boasts the world’s longest on-board running track, measuring three-quarters of a kilometre.

The open concept design of the Oasis class, with its split superstructure, allows passengers to soak up the sun not only on the ship’s conventional sun decks, but also along the central plaza and on the inside balconies of a large number of the staterooms. More than three-quarters of the latter, which range in size from 18 m2 to 156 m2, feature balconies. The largest staterooms, known as Royal Loft Suites, are fitted with double-height windows extending over two decks.

The Allure of the Seas and her sister ship, the Oasis of the Seas (seen here leaving the shipyard in Turku), are the largest and most innovative cruise ships afloat today.

Putting safety first

Size also brings its own challenges, not least in the area of safety. When designing the ship, the starting-point was that evacuating the vessel, if it were ever to become necessary, should be no more difficult than on much smaller vessels.

Following the ‘safe return to port’ principle, however, evacuation is always the last option, as the Allure of the Seas has been designed to remain functional for as long as possible in the event of an accident and be able to return to port under its own power.

Oasis class ships feature a separate safety centre on the bridge, manned 24/7, to enhance their emergency response capabilities, and all assembly areas are equipped with an electronic identification system to speed up head counts before people are allowed to board the lifeboats.

The Allure of the Seas has 18 of these, which are 17 metres long and are fitted with two independent engines and rudders and a GPS system, and can accommodate 370 people each. The lifeboats are supplemented with two fast rescue boats and four MES evacuation chute points.

Power where it’s needed

Special attention was also paid during the design to energy efficiency, reducing emissions, water purification, waste management, and lifecycle thinking. The result is that, despite their size, the Allure of the Seas and her sister ship offer industry-leading fuel economy.

The ship’s main thrust is provided by three electric Azipod propulsion systems, which guarantee excellent manoeuvrability and fuel economy, together with four bow thrusters. Although much smaller than the Azipods, the latter still each generate 5.5 MW, or as much as the total power of a large icebreaker.

The combined output of the ship’s powerplant is approximately 100 MW, which comes from six diesel engines: three 12-cylinder and three 16-cylinder units in a V-configuration. Thanks to their common-rail direct fuel injection and electronic control, injection timing, profile, and duration can all be controlled very accurately – to provide improved low-speed operation, better load control, and longer periods between overhauls.

The engine design also ensures better combustion at all operating speeds and loads, lower fuel consumption, together with reduced NOx and stack emissions, which will result in smokeless operation whatever the engine load.

The open concept design of the Oasis class, with its split superstructure, brings natural light into the heart of the ships.

STX Finland’s Turku yard, where the Oasis class ships were built, is one of the largest and most modern shipbuilding facilities in Europe and a world leader in large cruise ships. The company’s Rauma yard is the world’s leading ferry builder, as well as a specialist in small cruise ships, multipurpose icebreakers, and naval craft.

Everything is big with this ship

  • Contract signed in April 2007, keel laid in December 2008, and launched in November 2009
  • The Oasis class ships are Finland’s single largest exports ever
  • Length: 361 metres; breadth at the waterline: 47 metres; maximum draught: 9.3 metres; height from sea level: 72 metres
  • Can accommodate up to 6,360 passengers in 2,704 staterooms, served by 2,100 crew
  • Total power: 97,000 kW (130,000 hp). Propeller power output: 3 x 20,000 kW; 4 x 5.5 MW bow thrusters
  • 16 passenger decks, 24 passenger elevators
  • 18 lifeboats, each capable of holding 370 people
  • Fabricated from 181 blocks, weighing up to 600 tonnes each, and 500,000 hull components
  • Deck area of 25 hectares, with 21 pools and Jacuzzis
  • 16,000 sprinkler nozzles and 100 km of pipework
  • 5,310 km of electrical cabling.

“Despite their size, the Allure of the Seas and her sister ship offer industry-leading fuel economy.”

(Published in HighTech Finland 2011)