Royal Caribbean International (RCI), represented exclusively by TIRUN Travel Marketing in India, is celebrating 50 years of cruising this year. Through the course of its five decades in the business, RCI has managed to take cruise experiences a notch above the rest, year on year. Amongst the largest in the world, the company has introduced cruise enthusiasts to new and varied forms of entertainment and activities onboard its 25 ship-strong fleet. It has pioneered change and innovation in the industry, with a constant focus on enhancing the way people experience cruises around the world.
The company was officially launched in November 1970 with its first ship, the Song of Norway. It was the industry’s first ship built for warm-weather cruising, with a 1,004 passenger capacity. This was followed by the launch of the World’s first ‘Megaship’ - Sovereign of the Seas - in 1988. The now-retired ship boasted of features such as a five-deck Centrum, sweeping staircases, glass elevators, and marble fountains. Next came the Voyager of the Seas. Launched in 1999, the ship introduced both the first ice-skating rink at sea, as well as the first rock-climbing wall at sea. It is currently the lead ship of RCI’s Voyager-class.
RCI launched its Freedom of the Seas in 2006. The ship brought the first boxing ring to sea, which was inaugurated by professional boxers Roberto Duran and Joe Fraser. It also featured the first surf-simulator at sea, known as the ‘FlowRider’. The machine pumps 30,000 gallons of water per minute, giving guests a feel of a true surfing experience. In 2009, the Oasis of the Seas was launched with 12,000+ plants called ‘Central Park’ home. It was also the first ship to feature 7 distinct neighbourhoods and the first zip-line at sea.
Introducing the World’s first Smartship as part of its cruise line, RCI launched the Quantum of the Seas in 2014. The ship features the North Star which, at 300 ft. and with a 360-degree view, is the highest viewing deck on any ship in the world. It also showcases the ‘RipCord’, ‘Bionic Bar’ and ‘Sea Plex’. These are a simulated sky-diving experience, a bar with a robotic bartender and the largest indoor active sporting venue at sea, respectively.
In 2016, the Harmony of the Seas brought ‘The Ultimate Abyss’ - the tallest slide at sea, with a 10 story plunge at 150 ft above sea level. This was followed by two launches in 2018, including the Symphony of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world, and the Independence of the Seas with the first ‘Sky Pad’ - a bungee trampoline with VR. RCI then launched the Navigator of the Seas in 2019, with the longest waterslide at sea, called ‘The Blaster’.
May 2019 marked a significant milestone in RCI’s journey, with the launch of the Perfect day At CocoCay. This is the company’s private island in the Bahamas open to passengers on its cruises. It features the tallest waterslide in North America (Daredevil’s Peak) and the highest vantage point in the Caribbean (Up, Up and Away). It also houses the first overwater cabanas in the Bahamas (Coco Beach Club), the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean (Oasis Lagoon) and the largest wave pool in the Caribbean (Thrill Water Park).