Royal Caribbean International announced plans to lengthen and extensively refurbish its Vision-class ship, Enchantment of the Seas.
A 73-foot midsection built by Kvaerner Masa-Yards will be inserted into the ship at the Keppel Verolme Shipyard in Rotterdam, increasing the vessel's overall length to 990 feet and its tonnage from 74,140 to 80,700 tons. The new midsection will add 151 staterooms, as well as a number of indoor and outdoor public areas.
Enchantment of the Seas' transformation comes in the wake of extensive enhancements to other ships in the Royal Caribbean International fleet. Nordic Empress was revitalized this spring and made her debut as Empress of the Seas at the cruise line's new Cape Liberty Cruise Point in Bayonne, N.J., in May. Monarch of the Seas underwent a similar refurbishment in early 2003. The line also has announced plans to revitalize Sovereign of the Seas this fall.
"The refurbishment of Enchantment makes tremendous sense from both an economic and a strategic standpoint. We add substantial revenue without adding commensurate costs, while significantly improving the overall guest experience," said Chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain. "We have taken what we have learned during the new-build process and applied best practices to upgrade our existing ships."
The additional space and extensive renovations will accommodate new public areas onboard Enchantment of the Seas, including a new specialty restaurant, Royal Caribbean's hallmark Boleros Latin lounge and Latte'tudes coffee shop, where guests can enjoy Seattle's Best Coffee® and Ben & Jerry's® ice cream. In addition, existing spaces will be extensively reconditioned. The ship's pool deck, main dining room, shopping area, casino, jogging track, fitness facility, day spa and art gallery are among several areas to be expanded and revitalized.
Royal Caribbean has long been a trendsetter in the evolution of the cruise ship. The line was the first in the industry to lengthen a cruise ship in 1978, when an 85-foot section was inserted into the Song of Norway. The company also extended the Nordic Prince in 1980.
Enchantment of the Seas will be out of service from early May until early July 2005. Launched in 1997, the ship currently sails a rotating schedule of four- and five-night cruises from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to ports in the Western Caribbean. Following the lengthening, Enchantment of the Seas will sail a special series of cruises from three ports in the Northeast throughout the summer and fall before returning to Fort Lauderdale. She will offer itineraries of varying lengths to New England and Canada from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne.
The recently refurbished Empress of the Seas will be homeported in Fort Lauderdale from May 5 to Oct. 6, during special sailings for Enchantment of the Seas. Empress of the Seas will offer four- and five-night cruises to ports of call including Key West; Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; and George Town, Grand Cayman.