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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Royal Caribbean's Next Ships Will Be Oasis and Allure

The largest cruise ships ever built will be called Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean announced that George Weiser, 53, of Livonia, Mich., has won its four-month-long Name That Ship Contest to title the next two Royal Caribbean vessels. The automotive designer for Ford Motor Company was the first to submit the pair of names during the contest.

The contest marks the first time that a cruise line has invited the public to name a vessel. “I don’t think we would have come up with Oasis and Allure on our own,” says Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein. “They were great names.”

Goldstein notes that the names are related phonetically, both beginning with a vowel. They also both tie into the concept of attraction — an oasis being something to which one is attracted, while allure is another way of saying attraction. “They both relate to attractions, and there are going to be a lot of attractions on this ship,” he says.

The names of ships traditionally are chosen by top executives in consultation with marketing and sales experts, and Goldstein says opening the process to the public was a risk. The only requirement was that entries end in “of the Seas,” a tradition at the 21-ship line.

“There was an element of trepidation on our part, I have to confess,” he says. “But at the same time there has been too much sameness in naming (ships) of late. It helped us get out of the box.”

Royal Caribbean is betting its future on the two vessels, which will cost more than $1 billion a piece and debut in late 2009 and 2010. At 220,000 tons, they’ll be more than 40% larger than the largest cruise ships afloat, and Royal Caribbean already has said they’ll include such innovative features as a massive “Central Park” with live trees and outdoor restaurant seating. The ships will hold 5,400 passengers at double occupancy — a number once thought unthinkable in the cruise business.

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