She’s Ours!

I’m late in posting about the delivery, but it’s been a hectic time.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I overslept. I normally wake up quite early and have time to do triage on my emails before starting the day. However, the long Finnish nights (and the previous day’s travel and activities) confused my circadian rhythm and when I did awake at 7:30 it was still pitch black outside. Nevertheless, I made it up to coffee with Adam Goldstein only a few minutes late at just after 8:00 am in the concierge’s lounge.

It was a good start to the day, looking out over the boardwalk and discussing the preparations for the upcoming events. We then walked over from the ship to the yard’s main conference room at their offices, a walk of maybe 300 yards. We arrived there around 8:45 — 15 minutes ahead of schedule — and found that everything was already in place for the closing.

The room was crowded with lawyers, bankers, representatives of the flag and of the class society, shipyard executives, our inspection team, etc.  I was particularly pleased that two of Royal Caribbean’s founders and shareholders, Arne & Gjert Wilhelmsen, were also able to join the festivities. Everyone was in a very jovial mood and felt that the preparations both physically (for the ship) and paper-wise (for the closing) had been done very thoroughly.

While the closing involves hundreds of documents, there are only two documents that get signed during the formal closing. The first document is a formal transfer of ownership where the yard signs signifying that they are delivering the ship to us and we sign signifying that we accept the ship pursuant to the building contract. The second document is instruction to the bank to transfer the final payment from our account to the account of the shipyard.

The closing created conflicting emotions for me. On the one hand, it was anti-climactic. After millions of man hours, years of effort, endless argumentation and consideration, and tons of sweat and tears, a simple one page document saying it was complete didn’t seem momentous enough. On the other hand, signing a one page sheet of paper transferring a billion dollars (that billion with a B) is an awesome responsibility. Actually having to sign your name brings home the implications in a very strong way. Before signing, I obviously checked with Harri Kulovaara that all the technical elements of the ship were up to snuff and checked with Adam Goldstein that all the operational aspects were ready. Nevertheless, I have to admit that my hand hesitated a bit before actually signing that paper.

Juha Heikinheimo, President, STX Finland and Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. celebrate the delivery of Allure of the Seas

For the record, there were 230 comments left outstanding at the delivery of the ship. 230 comments for a vessel of this scale (the comparable figure for OASIS was 6,000) is an amazing accomplishment for which we need to be grateful.

Later that afternoon we welcomed all the VIP visitors onboard for the celebration and flag changing ceremony. Again a very emotional time. Unlike the morning formalities, this was much more ceremonial starting with bagpipes (of course), speeches and commendations. All proper pomp and ceremony. Even Shrek made his entrance. When Captain Hernan Zini gave the order to raise the ship’s flags, that really signified that the ship was ours and ready to be taken into service. After the ceremony and the dinner, the ship presented snippets of some of its entertainment which were extremely well received by all assembled.

It ended up being a long day for me and just before it ended Captain Zini had more news. The weather report showed some strong winds building in the morning and he decided that he wanted an early start which meant that I had to be off the vessel and waving its departure at 5:00am. Since my day didn’t end until after 12:30, I decided not to risk another oversleep. I spent the rest of the night returning calls and emails which I had not been able to get to during the previous two days and left the ship at five o’clock. Watching the ship pull away from the pier was awesome. Surrounded by total silence and a cold, dark morning, the slow progression of the ship away from the pier was majestic. It was hard not to be emotional to watch such a stately movement. Remarkably, I still wasn’t tired but I can tell you I slept well on the flight home.

Allure of the Seas departs the shipyard.

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21 Responses to “She’s Ours!”

  1. Steven Balavender says:

    Congrats on delivery of Allure….I was following last Thur from Liberty, telling everyone that today was the delivery day of Allure….smiles….smiles….and more smiles…..can’t wait to sail on her!!!

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  2. Jason Li says:

    Great Job, I’ve been waiting for this for a long time, can’t wait to go. As a coincidence, I’ll be in Miami when it gets there, so I’ll be among the crowds waving!

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  3. Christopher Birdsong says:

    Congrats on delivery! I wish the business world had more people with the ability to dream like you do! There has only been a handful of true dreamers in business, and you are one of them! I look forward to future projects from Royal Caribbean and can not wait to sail on Allure in May, it will also be my first cruise as a diamond member. People try to get me to go on other lines but I just can not risk what is a sure thing with Royal! Keep it up, I only wish I lived in South Florida and not Central Florida so that I could have a dream job with Royal Caribbean!

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  4. Congratulations! I have been following your posts since the beginning of the build for Oasis. I can’t wait to be able to go on Allure. I love all of the ships we have been before but these new ones are amazing. I am going to miss seeing your posts online.

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  5. RICHARD LODGE says:

    BIG ALLURE Congrats on taking delivery, who paid for the extra 2 inches or was it buy one get one a bit bigger. I cant wait to name her now on the 28th, who will be the New Godmothers I wonder…..

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  6. Stephen Marante says:

    Congratulations! I hope one day I will sail on her, for I’m not booked on any of her sailings. Allure is awesome!!!!

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  7. carp says:

    Congrats to RCI again for its latest ship the Allure. We travel a lot, but our cruise last December 2009 on the Oasis was the best ever. We loved it so much, we booked the Alure on its inagural voyage Dec. 5, 2010. My wife and I are probably RCI’s best embassadors as we are asked about cruise ships, and I know of dozens of friends, co-workers and others who have booked the Oasis this past year. We have never experienced such total organization as the Oasis provides. Many ask us if there are too many people on board, and we respond that there are sooooooooooooo many things to do, there is never a problem because someone is enjoying something someplace. Getting on ship and off is the best ever and the one thing I’ll never forget is such a simple thing. Putting the button in all the elevators that lights up to push when you are in a port and it lets you off at the floor you are supposed to be at is wonderful. Your blogs and the Allure website are checked daily by me to keep up with the progress on construction, and now sailing to Florida for final greenery and last minute details has been so interesting. We are so excited about our Dec. 5 Allure cruise and can’t wait to get onboard.
    Thank you
    Bob Carpenter, Port Charlotte, Florida

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  8. Albert Solares says:

    Great!!!! Congratulations! I’ll be on with my family for the Christams cruise sailing Dec 19th. We were on Oasis’ Inaugural, so this will make it back to back December sailings on the world’s largest (and best) class! My two kids can’t wait for the Dreamworks experience, we’ve watched the videos on the website countless of times. I showed them the video of the ship going under the Great Belt bridge in Denmark and just like last year I was very emotional while I watched. Thanks for all the blog entries. Quick question. Will Captain Zini be the master of the ship for the forseeable future or is he taking the helm only for the inaugural sailings like Capt Bill Wright did? Capt. Zini seems very likeable.

    Thanks!

    Albert – Pinecrest, Florida

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  9. Debbie Katch says:

    Congratulations to all who made this ship possible. We sailed on Oasis in April, and are already booked on The Allure for 2012 (unfortunately, unable to cruise before then). I’m sure that The Allure will be just as amazing as Oasis is. We’ve never been on a ship that was as wonderful. It’s very evident that alot of thought went into the design of her experience. Every i was dotted and every t was crossed as far as we were concerned from the moment of embarkation to disembarkation it was awesome! We had not one complaint (nothing even minor) about anything!
    Thank You!
    Debbie, Pottstown, Pennsylvania

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  10. Terry Wasik says:

    Congrats / Felicitations on a something that all humans can be proud of. First it was the International Space Station that is a fabulous work of “craftsmanship” and now the Oasis of the Seas is a beauty as well.
    Bravo to the folks that Made this dream become a reality .
    Exellent job ,
    Bon Voyage .
    we will see you soon on board.
    Best regards,
    Diane Fortin and Terry Wasik
    Cornwall,ontario Canada

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  11. Camille says:

    You have a lot of nerve…the story you gave to CNN…”.Royal Caribbean is in a better place”…how nice for you…. but what about the millions of Haitians who are in the midst of a cholera epidemic….so you are going to celebrate the Allures maiden voyage in Labadee Haiti while these people are dying 50 or 60 of them a day….how wonderful for you….how do you sleep at night……

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  12. Chip says:

    Congratulations on the completion, hand over and safe transatlantic crossing of The Allure, I am sure you are very proud of the ship and your team. A big congrats to Harry and Adam as well. We are sailing on The Allure for the whole of December and are really looking forward the ship and all the WOW that Royal delivers. See you on board.

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  13. JoAnn Dunbar says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!..What a tremendous ship!!..My 16-year-old son Patrick and I are very much looking forward to our January 16th, 2011 sailing adventure aboard the ALLURE OF THE SEAS…..He cannot wait!!…and..as a young culinary arts student, he is looking forward to what the ALLURE has in store for us…..thank you to one and all for making this thrilling adventure a reality for my family…..God Bless

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  14. CARLOS GUTIERREZ says:

    Congratulations boss. Mr. Fein, you and your team must be very proud once again on a well accomplished feat. The successful delivery of another engineering wonder, the Allure of The Seas.

    I work full time for the government and also have worked part time for several years, as a Pier agent, shoreside services, with RCCL at the pier 18 in Port Evergaldes. For the past year, I have performed many guest check ins on the Oasis of the Seas, and I hear the comments of many repeat guests that are so happy with our service and our ships.

    I am very happy and proud to be a part of such an outstanding organization of professionals at RCCL.

    My co-workers, managers, supervisors and I are always committed to delivering outstanding service to our guests, and delivering the WOW each and every time. Again, Sir, congratulations.

    Respectfully, Carlos Gutierrez, Hollywood, Florida

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  15. Amol Patil says:

    Here i seen the big ship in the world. congratulate for the big suceess

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  16. Christopher Bordelon says:

    I am glad you took delivery of your new ship. Sad to say after the experience I have had with my last booking I would not sail her. I think you need to focus on the customer service agents training. They misrepresent your product and provide wrong information time and time again. I wish you much success with the new ships but it seems it is adding many levels of confusion when it comes to trying to book and what is actually offered. I had looked forward to sailing one of the giants oneday but that will not happen. I will stay loyal to the brand I know and trust.

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  17. Louise DeBrino says:

    I am looking forward to going on the Allure end of January – we were on the Oasis last January and it was wonderful. I thought I would have a problem getting lost but I learned quickly where everything was. We had a Central Park view balcony and it was great – we have this again on the Allure.

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  18. George Brewer says:

    Congratulations. My wife and I are booked on Allure in March 2011 and are looking forward to it. When will the RCL website have virtual tour available?

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