Coronavirus delays construction of world’s largest cruise ship

The construction of the new Oasis-class cruise ship, Wonder of the Seas, by French shipbuilder Chantiers de l’Atlantique has been delayed due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the shipbuilder’s operation, Royal Caribbean said in an update.

Wonder of the Seas; Image Courtesy: RCL
Keel laying for Wonder of the Seas; Image Courtesy: Royal Caribbean Cruises

The cruise major explained that the delivery of the ship is expected to take place once the pandemic is brought under control.

The colossal ship was scheduled to debut in 2021 in Shanghai, China, as the world’s largest cruise ship, as disclosed by Royal Caribbean in October 2019. It was also the first ship of the Oasis Class scheduled to sail the Asia Pacific.

Wonder of the Seas is the third ship from the class to be built by Chantiers de l’Atlantique following the delivery of the Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas in 2016 and 2018 respectively. It is the fifth Oasis-class ship in total.

The first two ships from the class, Oasis of the Seas, and Allure of the Seas, were delivered in 2009 and 2010 respectively by STX Europe Turku Shipyard.

Royal Caribbean International celebrated the start of the construction of the ship at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France back in April 2019.

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Wonder’s keel was lowered into place at the shipyard in October 2019, marking the start of the ship’s physical construction.

During what is known as the keel-laying ceremony, a 970-ton block, measuring 155 feet by 65 feet, was lifted onto the building dock with a 1,400-ton crane.

The shipbuilder said that the hull of the new cruise ship will be composed of about 400,000 machined steel parts, just like its sister ships Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas.

The ship will combine the iconic seven-neighborhood concept that its sister ships feature.

At 362 meters long and 66 meters wide, the Oasis-class ships are ranked as the world’s largest passenger ships. The ships can accommodate 2,732 crew members and up to 6,780 passengers respectively.

A sixth ship to the class has also been ordered, which is set to join the fleet in 2023.

In its latest update, Royal Caribbean Group said it was extending the suspension of sailings to include those departing on or before September 30, 2020.