Are you a fan of super short cruises? You’re about to get a great new option.
This week, Royal Caribbean announced that one of its giant Oasis-class ships would sail short year-round cruises starting later this year — something neither vessel has done since they first debuted 14 years ago.
The world’s largest cruise brand said its 225,282-ton Allure of the Seas – the second vessel in the groundbreaking five-ship series – would transition from operating seven-night sailings to full-time three- and four-night sailings on October 30 until at least 30 October. early in 2025.
Until now, the ship and its four sister vessels have spent most of their days sailing seven-night voyages.
For more cruise news, guides and tips, sign up to TPG’s cruise newsletter.
Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class vessels are the world’s largest and most amenity-laden ships, and they are in demand by cruisers. They are also among Royal Caribbean’s newest vessels, along with the recently unveiled Quantum class ships.
Traditionally, major cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean have devoted their largest and newest vessels to seven-night sailings – a more lucrative market – and placed smaller and older vessels on shorter trips.
Allure of the Seas will begin its never-ending series of short cruises in October with sailings out of Port Canaveral, Florida, before switching to Miami as a hub in July 2024.
Related: The 6 Types of Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships, Explained
Sign up for our daily newsletter
The three- and four-night itineraries that Allure of the Seas will operate from the two ports will both have a stop on Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas. The tours will also stop in Nassau in the Bahamas.
Allure of the Seas is currently based in Galveston, Texas, for seven-night sailings to the Caribbean.
As mentioned above, the Oasis class ships are larger than any other cruise ship afloat, and for big ship lovers, there really is nothing like them.
Each of the Oasis class vessels has three separate main pool areas, a children’s splash zone, a surf simulator, a miniature golf course, a basketball court and even a zip line. And that’s just on their top decks.
Inside the vessels you’ll find more lounges, bars, restaurants and shops than you can imagine, plus huge casinos, spas and showrooms with Broadway-style shows. They even have indoor ice rinks, in case you want to wear Michelle Kwan.
There are also giant water slides on four of the five ships. Allure of the Seas, unfortunately, is the only Oasis-class ship to lack them. Royal Caribbean announced plans to add water slides to the Allure of the Seas several years ago, but the plans were put on hold after the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cruise to be closed for more than a year.
Related: The ultimate guide to Royal Caribbean cruise ships and itineraries
While cruise lines often put older, smaller ships on their shorter trips, Royal Caribbean has experimented with putting some of its newer, larger ships on such itineraries in recent years, though it stopped short of deploying an Oasis-class ship to the routes.
In 2019, for example, the line deployed its just-revamped and still relatively large Navigator of the Seas to Miami for short trips — a remarkable move at the time.
Generally low-priced and easy to do on a whim, short cruises out of Florida appeal strongly to a local market that isn’t looking for anything too fancy. They’re just looking for a quick, affordable vacation.
That said, short cruises out of Florida are also hugely popular with first-time cruisers from across the country who want to try cruising without making too much of a commitment. They’re hot with millennials too, as they’re big on short trips.
Related: Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor Society Loyalty Program: The Ultimate Guide
As Royal Caribbean President and CEO Michael Bayley told me during an interview when Navigator of the Seas was deployed to Miami, these two groups are increasingly critical to impress if you’re a cruise line looking to grow your business. You want them to come back. It prompted Royal Caribbean to rethink its short-haul strategy.
“We suddenly thought to ourselves, ‘wait a minute, we’ve put our oldest, smallest ships in this short cruise slot,’ and why would we do that?” Bayley said.
Planning a cruise? Start with these stories: