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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Oasis of the Seas Maybe To Offer Hot Air Balloon Rides

The tethered balloon flying above Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, now on its first sea trials, has spurred much debate about its purpose. Speculation has ranged from spa capsule to Hindenburg memorial to a blimp ride. But Royal Caribbean’s been mum about the balloon’s real purpose. Until now that is.

According to Turun Sanomat, the Turku, Finland-based newspaper, the curiosity is indeed a hot air balloon-style ride for Oasis of the Sea’s passengers. The hot air balloon is connected with a cable to the aft of the Oasis. It flies over 160 feet above the vessel. With the cable it can be lowered to its “docking station” on the deck of the ship. A gondola (or basket) will have space for a few passengers.

In his blog, Royal Caribbean’s Chairman and CEO Richard Fain teased about the balloon concept. “This idea is to put an aerostat onboard tethered to the ship. The idea is interesting, but it has such a cornucopia of practical issues that I give it less than a 50% chance of being used on Oasis. If we don’t use it on the ship, I will consider it just another of the many ideas our people develop that didn’t work. On the other hand, if it is successful and we do decide to use it on the ship, I will consider it another of my better ideas. Remember, this is just one of many experiments we undertake and, unless we actually decide to go forward with it, one that you will never hear about again.”

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