Utopia of the Seas will be the sixth Oasis-class cruise ship to join the fleet, marking the end of an initial 6-ship order placed by Royal Caribbean back in 2007 when construction commenced on Oasis of the Seas.
She will also be the first in the class to be powered by liquified natural gas (LNG), a more environmentally friendly marine fuel that emits fewer greenhouse gasses.
Royal Caribbean hasn’t revealed any other details about the ship, but she is likely to be slightly larger than Wonder of the Seas, which at the time of her launch in March this year as the largest of all the Oasis-class vessels.
The keel for Utopia of the Seas was laid at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, marking the start of assembly of the massive ship.
“The keel laying for Utopia of the Seas represents the first milestone of an incredible ship and the next step toward a bolder, thrilling future for Royal Caribbean and vacations,” said Michael Bayley, President & CEO, Royal Caribbean International.
“Utopia’s debut in 2024, on the heels of Icon of the Seas setting sail in fall 2023, will build on a new, exciting chapter that is set to redefine family vacations and getaways for all ages in ways we’ll soon reveal,” he added.
Icon of the Seas is the first in an eponymous class of cruise ships being built by Royal Caribbean, which will also be LNG-fuelled, but will be slightly ‘smaller’ at 200,000-gross tons. Three of these vessels have been ordered.
During the keel laying for Utopia of the Seas, the working teams constructing the ship watched as newly minted coins were placed in the vessel’s first 948-ton (860 metric tons) steel block.
The longstanding maritime tradition calls for coins, representing Royal Caribbean and Chantiers de l’Atlantique, to bring good luck during the construction process and throughout the ship’s operational life.
“Today, we are celebrating with Royal Caribbean International an important tradition and milestone for Utopia of the Seas” said Laurent Castaing, General Manager of Chantiers de l’Atlantique.
“The construction of Utopia is an exciting opportunity for the Chantiers de l’Atlantique teams that are aiming to make this cruise ship one of the most environmentally friendly ships in the world equipped with new generation dual-fuel engines,” he added.