Allure of the Seas

Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas get high speed internet upgrade

In:
21Mar2014

A new satellite network is giving Royal Caribbean flagships record internet speeds and more Wi-Fi capacity than all other cruise ships--combined.

A set of new, custom-built antennae were shipped from Israel to Florida last month, and installed on Oasis of the Seas. Testing confirmed the ships' ability to match the fastest broadband connections on shore.

The internet is being provided by O3b Satellite Communications and works by pairing a new generation of medium-Earth-orbit satellites (originally designed to bring the Internet to emerging markets like sub Saharan Africa) with sophisticated antenna arrays aboard the cruise ships.

The higher internet speeds will make it feasible for a guest to download streaming video or post video clips to Facebook. Royal Caribbean is developing new pricing plans for added service.

The entire process was started in 2012 when Royal Caribbean signed a deal with O3b and is now starting to come to fruition.

And by the time the new system becomes available on Royal Caribbean's newest ship, Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein said guests can anticipate "several new, show-stopper uses of the bandwidth."

What surprises? That information, he said, is not yet available for download.

Said Goldstein, "If you're a first-time guest on one of these ships, you won't realize how much work it took to make the wireless so pervasive – or that your cell 'tower' is 4,900 miles over your head. If you are a return guest, you'll be blown away by the improvement. It's that dramatic."

According to Bill Martin, Chief Information Officer, Royal Caribbean, the key to unlocking a land-like experience was reducing satellite latency – the time it takes for something to happen after you hit 'enter.' This breakthrough technology solves that problem, reducing latency from 750 milliseconds to approximately 140 milliseconds. And with each ship's overall capacity exceeding 500mbps during system tests, there will be more than enough bandwidth to go around.

UPDATE: According to Royal Caribbean, the new high speed internet connections will be available beginning August 2014.

New state-of-the-art data management system installed on Allure of the Seas

In:
20Feb2014

The world's largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas, has received a new state-of-the-art, customized data management system that operates over a global, secure and highly scalable infrastructure called K-IMS.

K-IMS includes a number of applications in one package that gives engineers and management access to high level vessel data. The user interface is available on board and on the Royal Caribbean office network in Miramar, Florida. K-IMS data is also accessed on board using tablets and is displayed on a large screen in the Engine Control Room on Allure.

K-IMS was installed during a significant upgrade to the existing Kongsberg Maritime K-Chief automation system on board. The new K-Chief on Allure of the Seas is one of the most extensive ever installed by Kongsberg Maritime, consisting 76 Remote Control Units (RCUs) controlling over 40,000 Input/Output (IO) points. K-IMS replaces the exiting K-Chief History Station and as the data logging system of choice on board, will provide data from 21,000 I/O points (up from 14,500) and data storage for seven years (up from one year). This provides Royal Caribbean with extensive data and statistics with which to improve vessel operational performance.

K-IMS provides the ability to review statistical data, condition based monitoring, alarms and events and ship performance monitoring data. Condition Based maintenance on Allure provides a long term overview of the equipment performance and mechanical degradation, which supports preventative maintenance. Alarms and Events reporting provide the ability to review the most commonly repeating alarms and fix issues with equipment before they become emergencies.

The K-IMS solution on Allure is a triple redundant data access and storage system with servers located in three zones – two on board and one in a hosted cloud service. This configuration enables Royal Caribbeanmanagement to access the vessel’s data without having to use satellite communications, thereby saving on communication costs. A malware protection system to filter out any malicious attacks from the web or via USB on board is included whilst an admin server allows secure remote access to the vessel from authorized locations including the Kongsberg Maritime customer support team.

Royal Caribbean to base Allure of the Seas in Barcelona in 2015 and offer Mediterranean cruises

In:
05Feb2014

Royal Caribbean is sending the largest cruise ship in the world, Allure of the Seas to Barcelona, Spain in summer 2015 to offer Mediterranean cruises.

Sailing from Barcelona, while also offering embarkation in Rome, Allure of the Sea’s seven night itinerary will feature calls in Palma de Mallorca, Marseilles, La Spezia (Florence and Pisa), Civitavecchia (Rome), and Naples.

Allure of the Seas will arrive in Barcelona in May 24, 2015 and offer cruises until October 2015.

The Mediterranean cruises will go on sale to Crown and Anchor Society members Febryary 12, 2014 and then go on sale to the general public on February 18.

Moving Allure of the Seas to Spain makes sense considering Royal Caribbean is bringing three new large cruise ships online over the next three years, with many (if not all) of them coming to the United States.

Brit TV star Tom Daley helps kick off new Caribbean cruise promotion for UK

In:
30Jan2014

British TV star Tom Daley, who is well known in the UK for his television show on ITV called, "Splash", helped begin Royal Caribbean's new marketing campaign to highlight Caribbean cruises aboard Allure of the Seas.

The campaign is called "Caribbean Cup" and stars Daley along with Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe and American gymnast Gabby Douglas in a variety of athletic challenges including surfing, rock climbing and dodgeball on board Allure of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean UK recruited the athletes to show off the fun things you can on a Royal Caribbean ship while enjoying a Caribbean cruise.

Royal Caribbean announces repairs for Allure of the Seas in 2014

In:
14Nov2013

After suffering with mechanical issues that affected Allure of the Seas for weeks, Royal Caribbean announced today that the world's largest cruise ship will take a week off to undergo repairs to solve the issue.  The repairs will take place at Grand Bahama Shipyard, in Freeport, Bahamas, the week of February 24, 2014. As a result, it will be necessary to cancel the February 23, 2014, sailing of Allure of the Seas.

Allure of the Seas' speed has been reduced because of bearing wear in one of its three propulson motors.  There's been no impact on safety of maneuverability, it's simply required Allure to go slower.  

Those guests booked on the February 23, 2014 sailing will recieve a full refund or the option to sail on other itineraries for the same rate.

Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein was commented on the need for the repairs, "We sincerely regret that we will be unable to deliver the Royal Caribbean cruise vacation that our guests were looking forward to. We understand that our guests' vacation time is very precious and can assure you that we did not take this decision lightly. But it was very important to us that we bring Allure back up to speed so that she could continue to deliver the amazing cruise vacations our guests expect."

"While Allure could have continued to sail at a reduced rate of speed, we felt it was important to fix the problem as soon as possible," said William D. Baumgartner, senior vice president of Marine Operations, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "We explored numerous repair options. Unfortunately, there was no satisfactory solution that did not involve taking the ship temporarily out of service."

In the time between now and the repairs, Allure of the Seas will make minor adjustments to its eastern Caribbean itineraries. Allure of the Seas will now call on Nassau, Bahamas, from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and on Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There is no need to modify Allure of the Seas' western Caribbean itineraries.

Royal Caribbean considering early repairs for Allure of the Seas

In:
12Nov2013

After suffering with propulsion problems that have hampered her speed for weeks now, Royal Caribbean is considering sending Allure of the Seas for an early dry dock to fix the lingering issues.

Travel Weekly is reporting that the propulsion problems we reported on earlier are getting to the point that the cruise line thinks maintenance now is the best solution.

Travel Weekly quoted Royal Caribbean chairman Richard Fain saying that an early dry dock is a possibility, "We’re considering it, sure.We’re in the process of trying to assess [whether] we move up the drydock, and if it makes sense we will."

As it stands now, Allure of the Seas is scheduled for a dry dock repair in 2015.

The issue affecting Allure of the Seas is one of its propulsion pods is damaged and the ship has to travel slower.  As a result, time has been shortened at ports of call because the ship takes longer to get between any two points.

Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas affected by propulsion issues

In:
05Nov2013

Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world, has been quietly dealing with propulsion issues that is limiting the ship's top speed.

Cruise Critic first reported that over the last three weeks, the ship has had, "a significant reduction in the ship's speed".  The result of which has been less time at each port of call the ship makes.

Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez described the situation as, "Allure of the Seas currently has a small restriction on her top speed. All equipment is fully operational, and there is no impact on the maneuverability of the ship or on the safety of our guests and crew." 

The impact on guests has been less time at each port and in some cases cancelled shore excursions due to not having enough time to complete it.

It's not clear what exact issue is causing the slower ship speed, but it has not been a big enough problem to cancel any sailings or affect the onboard guest experience.

Allure of the Seas to go to Europe in 2015?

In:
18Oct2013

It's possible Royal Caribbean will be sending the largest cruise ship in the world. Allure of the Seas, to Europe in 2015 according to port information.

According to a ship docking schedule for cruise ports in Italy, Allure of the Seas is scheduled to dock in Naples in October 2015.

The news of Allure of the Seas going to Europe at all has not been confirmed nor announced by Royal Caribbean but cruise schedules are often produced well in advance to secure a spot.  

One possible scenario is Allure of the Seas is going to Europe for routine drydock maintenance and will offer a few cruises while "in the area", which is similar to what Oasis of the Seas has planned for next summer.

Royal Caribbean launches new 3G cellular service on Oasis and Allure of the Seas

In:
19Sep2013

Royal Caribbean and Wireless Maritime Services (WMS) have launched the second phase of 3G cellular data services onboard Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. 

Having already launched EVDO in November 2010, WMS has followed that up with the launch of UMTS (3G) services.  This marks the first time that both 3G services have been successfully deployed onboard cruise ships, and marks a major milestone in passenger connectivity.

EVDO stands for “evolution data only” which is the 3G path for CDMA carriers.  UMTS stands for “universal mobile telephone service” and is the 3G path for GSM carriers.  

Prior to this, cellular data speeds onboard cruise ships were regulated to 2G speeds, but now guests can experience speeds of four to six times those speeds with these upgrades.

“It’s one thing to have UMTS work in a lab environment, it’s an entirely different and thrilling level of success to have it working as well is it is onboard these ships,” said Tony Patino, vice president of engineering at WMS.  “Leveraging the expertise of our parent, AT&T, the WMS Engineering and Deployment teams have been working diligently to optimize and develop better use of parameters, finely honing our technology in order to achieve this great result.”

WMS recently announced the signing of a new four-year contract renewing its relationship with Royal Caribbean Cruises continue providing cellular at sea wireless services to guests and crew on all existing ships across the Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises brands.

Fun things to do on Royal Caribbean: Carousel

In:
22Aug2013

Royal Caribbean has made a name for itself by offering fun things to do onboard its ships, especially things that are unique and new to the cruise industry.  When Oasis of the Seas was built, among the many innovations that WOW'ed guests, was something elegant and simple: a carousel.

Located in the Boardwalk neighborhood on Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, is the first ever carousel-at-sea. Hand-crafted and especially designed by Carousel Works for Royal Caribbean International, this full-sized, traditional carousel is truly one-of-a-kind.

Given that the Boardwalk area is inspired by the nostalgic seaside boardwalks of the past, it's a modern tribute to a time gone by. The carousel uses turn-of-the-century carousel designs as its basis down to the very last detail.  Even the original artwork scenery panels located on the carousel’s eight Rounding Boards feature custom painted scenes to highlight the wistfulness of life on the historic boardwalks.

In addition to the great history, the carousel is just plain fun for kids and adults. Eighteen figures are suspended from stainless steel poles along with one ADA accessible chariot that were created from poplar wood populate the carousel.  There are eleven carousel horses that follow a tradition carousel design, including one intricately designed Royal Caribbean lead armored horse, that even features the crown and anchor logo.  Designers also included other animals such as a zebra, giraffe, jaguar elephant, lion and even a crowned frog prince. The stationary chariot on Oasis of the Seas is an elegant peacock, while the stationary chariot on Allure of the Seas is an elegantly adorned traditional carriage.

Be sure to also check out the carousel at night because like the fairs of the past, nighttime is when these rides really shine when they are all lit up.

No cruise on an Oasis-class ship is complete without at least one ride on the carousel, with perhaps an ice cream cone to compliment it.  Handlebar moustache and flapper skirt optional.

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