Cruise editor Johanna Jainchill is in Finland, touring Royal Caribbean's unfinished Allure of the Seas. Her first dispatch follows.
TURKU, Finland — The 5,400-passenger Allure of the Seas is one month ahead of schedule, officials said Wednesday at the STX Finland shipyard here, where the sister to the Oasis of the Seas is under construction.
During a tour of the Oasis at this time last year, the theater was all scaffolding. Today, the Allure’s theater appeared ready for the cast of Chicago to start rehearsals.
The loft suite one year ago was metal and wires. Today, it was ready, with the bed made and bathroom products on the sink. The cupcake shop was merely a shell one year ago. Today, it was only lacking actual cupcakes.
But don’t expect an early delivery. Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein said that despite the ship being “remarkably ready for delivery” on Oct. 28, the cruise line would not take an even earlier delivery of the vessel. Royal Caribbean has already moved up the Allure’s inaugural cruise twice.
“We looked at further acceleration,” Goldstein said. “The program was so locked in with the arrival and training of the crew and the transatlantic [voyage], and we already sent the invitations out for the South Florida [inaugural] events. We will stick with what we have scheduled.”
Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean’s senior vice president of sales, said the cruise line also considered passengers booked on the Dec. 5 inaugural cruise.
“Royal Caribbean believes in doing the right thing,” she said. “ We didn’t want to interrupt consumers plans to be on the inaugural sailing so close-in.”
Sisko Hellgren, STX’s project manager for the Allure, explained that through the construction of the Oasis, the shipyard learned how it could improve the building process, allowing it to stay on or ahead of schedule the entire time.