In yet another sign of shifting demand in the cruise industry, the world's largest passenger ship will spend the summer of 2015 in the Mediterranean instead of the Caribbean.
Royal Caribbean today announced that the 5,400-passenger Allure of the Seas will redeploy from its home port of Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona in May 2015 and sail from the Spanish port through October 2015.
The redeployment will mark the first time the 225,000-ton vessel has left its Florida home since its debut in 2010 and the first time a ship its size has sailed in Europe for an extended period.
Allure of the Seas and slightly older sister Oasis of the Seas are nearly 50% larger than the next largest cruise vessels at sea and have been deployed year-round in the Caribbean since their debut. Allure is billed as the bigger of the two Oasis Class ships with a length just two inches longer.
Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas is scheduled to offer a handful of Europe cruises later this year as it briefly deploys to the region to undergo routine maintenance. But Allure's 2015 deployment will be the first time an Oasis Class ship has spent an entire season in the region.
Allure will operate seven-night cruises from Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Marseilles, France; and La Spezia, Civitavecchia (near Rome) and Naples, Italy. Passengers can join the ship either in Barcelona or Civitavecchia.
Members of Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Society loyalty program will have first shot at booking one of Allure's Europe sailings starting on Feb. 12. General bookings open on Feb. 18.
By Gene Sloan, USA Today
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