Cruise Industry

Royal Caribbean is refurbishing five cruise ships in 2019

This year, Royal Caribbean is kicking its US $900-million Royal Amplified project into overdrive, with five cruise ships due to go into dry-dock for a range of upgrades intended to bring its older fleet on-par with newer ships like Symphony of the Seas and Spectrum of the Seas.

The project involves the refit and refurbishment of ten cruise ships, Mariner of the Seas went first, and now Navigator, Empress, Voyager, Oasis and Quantum of the Seas will follow.

Here are the Royal Caribbean ships being dry-docked in 2019, according to size.

Empress of the Seas Refit

The refit for 48,000-gross ton Empress of the Seas is for routine maintenance. No major upgrades are on the cards as she is not only the smallest ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet, but also the only ship in the Empress-class, thanks to the merger of Royal Caribbean and Admiral Cruises back in 1990 when the ship was still under construction. With the sale of Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas Vision-class ships last year, it seems likely Royal is looking to phase out its older tonnage.

Empress of the Seas received a retro-style refit recently in 2016.

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The work being done to Empress of the Seas is primarily technical, according to the Royal Caribbean Blog. She will be in dry-dock from February 3rd, 2019 to March 3rd, 2019. Some of the soft furnishings in her public spaces will likely be replaced, but heavy-duty refurbishment is unlikely, especially as she just underwent an upgrade program in 2016 when she re-joined the RCI fleet after a long-term charter with Pullmantur.

Voyager of the Seas Refurbishment

The 1999-built, 137,276-gross ton Voyager-class leader will receive a refurbishment akin to that given to sister ship Mariner of the Seas in 2018. During that refurbishment, the ship got the Sky Pad, The Perfect Storm waterslides as seen on Harmony of the Seas, a Flowrider, an all-new bar, Jamie’s Italian and a lot more.

The huge multi-million dollar refresh will take place from September 10th to October 14th, 2019. All her public public spaces will also be revamped with a new, modern look, and a spate of new dining experience and amenities are likely to be announced by Royal Caribbean closer to the time.

Navigator of the Seas Refurbishment

Navigator of the Seas was actually the first cruise ship in the fleet to go under the knife. She entered dry-dock on January 3rd, 2019 and will re-enter service on February 24th. Because the refurbishment is already underway, Royal Caribbean have begun confirming the upgrades being made to the ship, see our full report here.

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Navigator is getting all the latest features from Royal Caribbean’s Royal Amplified modernization program, including the longest water slide at sea called The Blaster – which involves two people riding a raft along 800-feet of twists and drops which even extends out from the side of the ship.

Quantum of the Seas Refurbishment

It’s hard to believe, but Quantum of the Seas, which broke records on her cruise from Dubai in 2015, is already five years old and ready for her first major technical overhaul and refurbishment. The Quantum-class leader is currently homeporting in Shanghai, China, but will enter dry-dock from October 19th to November 16th, 2019 ahead of her Singapore season.

Quantum of the Seas is likely to get some of the new features that will debut on Spectrum of the Seas, such as the SkyPad virtual bungee.

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Royal Caribbean haven’t confirmed the upgrades being made to the ship, but there are reports that her Chinese-centric features will be switched out for more international options, especially in terms of dining and entertainment, as well as features intended to appeal to the fast-growing Indian source market, which favours Singapore as a fly-cruise destination. See our full report here.

Oasis of the Seas Refurbishment

The dry-dock of Oasis of the Seas will be one of the biggest refit and refurbishment projects of the year, possibly only eclipsed next year with the ground-breaking refurbishments undertaken by Carnival with Victory and Triumph.

At 225,282-gross tons, Oasis of the Seas is the class leader in a quartet of the world’s largest passenger ships ever built. It started with her in 2009. She’ll go into dry-dock from September 22nd to November 23rd, 2019. The three-month-long refurb period alone gives an indication of the scale of the project.

Royal Caribbean haven’t said what changes will be made to the ship, but this 10-year-mark upgrade is likely to involve new dining concepts, entertainment features and thrill-seeker amenities such as those that debuted aboard sister ship Symphony of the Seas in 2018.

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