Gone are the days when building cities is a land-based affair. Royal Caribbean International launches Oasis of the Seas, the world’s largest floating hotel.
With well over 7,000 people on board, the Oasis of the Seas packs the entertainment punch of a bustling metropolis, such as a water park, a full-blown Broadway theater and the first ever ‘Central Park at Sea’ with 12,000 live plants.
Part evolution, part revolutionHarri Kulovaara, executive vice president at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., began dreaming of Oasis of the Seas in the 1980s. The first real step was taken while he was at Finland’s Silja Line. “Silja Seranade was revolutionary in the cruise ferry business. At the end of the 80s, it introduced a promenade concept,” he explains.
The pioneering idea behind Oasis of the Seas was to open up the center of the vessel. Getting natural daylight into the elevator banks, open-air neighborhoods and state rooms with balconies facing the center was critical to providing a better guest experience.
Best elevator experience“This is probably the most challenging context for elevators, with heavy traffic in all directions,” says Robert Segercrantz, director for KONE Marine. “Life never stops on a cruise ship; it goes on 24 hours a day.”
“The logistics on a ship are exceptionally important to the guest experience,” adds Kulovaara. “The elevators are really the key to everything we transport.” This is especially true on Oasis of the Seas with its 16 decks and attractions spread out all over the ship. KONE delivered a total of 41 elevators which are hoisted by KONE EcoDisc® technology, using both KONE MiniSpace™ and KONE MonoSpace® solutions. The company also supplied two escalators and three special access platforms for passengers with reduced mobility.
“We wanted to make sure we have a very smooth flow of guests and that they don’t need to wait,” adds Kulovaara. “A lot has been done to make sure that the intelligence built into the control systems really optimizes the utilization; and integrates in the best possible way the people and the elevator hardware.”
Innovation through cooperation“We have developed a very strong relationship with KONE,” remarks Kulovaara. “Building this kind of ship would not have been possible without a very long and productive partnership.”A simple yet very effective innovation that came out of the cooperation with KONE was the elevator gangway button. Depending on the port, pushing the gangway button brings passengers to the correct level automatically. This is a first for cruise ships.
Escalators were also added to Oasis of the Seas, rare equipment for cruise ships. These work to help speed up the flow of passengers as they board or disembark. “To further help passengers, elevator modes are synchronized with the guest communication system. This allows, for example, disembarking instructions to be displayed on the LCD screens inside the elevators,” says Kulovaara.
Allure and beyond“I think Oasis is a historic project as well as a technical masterpiece. It is a result of tremendous collaboration between wonderful minds of the world, technical skills and the companies who have a history of working together.”
Allure of the Seas, the twin sister of Oasis, will be launched towards the end of 2010.
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People Flow means people moving smoothly, safely, comfortably, and without waiting in and between buildings.
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