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Construction begins on new Royal Caribbean ship class

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Construction officially has begun on Royal Caribbean's next generation of cruise ships.Royal Caribbean says the first piece of steel for the first of its two Project Sunshine vessels was cut this week at a shipyard in Germany. The line also announced that the ships would be called Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas.

Scheduled to debut in fall 2014 and spring 2015, respectively, the two vessels will be part of what the line is now calling the Quantum class."After three years of design and advance planning, this is the first step of the construction of the ship, and I look forward to seeing it all come together in the coming months," Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein says in a statement. "The new ship will be such a leap forward in terms of vessel design and guest experiences that we thought the name Quantum of the Seas was perfectly appropriate." At 158,000 tons, the new Quantum class ships will be significantly smaller than the line's last two vessels, the much-ballyhooed Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. At 225,282 tons, the two Oasis class ships set a new record for cruise ship size when they debuted in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

While the Oasis class ships have been a notable success, commanding premium pricing, Royal Caribbean executives have said the line needs a mix of different size ships to allow for flexibility in itinerary planning. Royal Caribbean currently operates 22 vessels spread among six classes that range in size from about 69,000 tons to 225,282 tons.

Royal Caribbean says the new Quantum class vessels will carry about 4,100 passengers at double occupancy, but the line otherwise has released few details about the ships. They're being built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany.


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