Sovereign class cruise ship
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|Builders:||Chantiers de l’Atlantique; St. Nazaire, France|
|Succeeded by:||Vision class|
|Tonnage:||73,192 gt -73,941 gt|
|Length:||268.33 m (880.3 ft)|
|Draft:||7.55 m (24.8 ft)|
4 × 9-cyl, Pielstick-Alsthom dieselscombined 21844 kW
|Propulsion:||Two controllable pitch propellers rear; two thrusters each side forward|
The three ships of the class were built in Saint-Nazaire, France at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyards. The first modern "megaships" to be built, they also were the first series of cruise ships to include a multi-story atrium with glass elevators. They also had a single deck devoted entirely to cabins with private balconies instead of oceanview cabins. The first ship, the Sovereign of the Seas launched in 1988, was the world's largest passenger ship in service, breaking the record held by the SS Norway (originally designed as an ocean liner. Sovereign held this distinction until 1990 when Norway succeeded her after being refurbished with the addition of two more decks. In 1991, Royal Caribbean International launched a slightly modified sister ship, the Monarch of the Seas. In 1992, the line launched its third and final sister ship, the Majesty of the Seas. These ships were among the largest modern cruise ships to sail during the late 80's and early 90's.
During that time, other major cruise lines also followed suit, building ships that included many of the same features and similar dimensions as the Sovereign-class. Carnival Cruise Lines launched the Fantasy class in 1990, comparable in size to the Sovereign-class and also featuring a multi-story atrium with glass elevators. Princess Cruises also countered by launching two ships in 1990 and 1991 to compete with the Sovereign-class, the Crown Princess and the Regal Princess. They also featured an atrium and two decks devoted to cabins with private balconies instead of windowed "oceanview" cabins.
Since then, newer and larger ships have succeeded the Sovereign-class size. In comparison with the largest cruise ships afloat today, they are less than half the size of the Independence of the Seas, which is about 154,000 gross tons, and about a third the size of Oasis of the seas. In 2008, Royal Caribbean relocated the Sovereign of the Seas, transferring her to their Pullmantur Cruises branch. Other cruise lines have also displaced their older tonnage displaced with new ships introduced into the high growth areas.
In 2007, Monarch of the Seas became the first major cruiseliner in the world to be captained by a woman, the Swede Karin Stahre Janson, who remained the only one until 2010 when the British captain Sarah Breton took charge of MS Artemis of P&O Cruises.
- MS Sovereign of the Seas was the largest ship in the world at the time of its completion in 1988. Transferred to RCL's company Pullmantur Cruises
- MS Monarch of the Seas, delivered in 1991, completely refurbished in May 2003.
- MS Majesty of the Seas, inaugurated April 26, 1992
- "Are mega-ships better ships?". Globe and Mail. October 15, 2005. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20051014.wbigships1015/BNStory/specialTravel/.
- "Q&A: World's first female captain of a major cruise ship". USA Today. 5 November 2007. http://www.usatoday.com/travel/destinations/2007-05-10-first-woman-cruise-captain_N.htm. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
- "Sarah Breton:The first female cruise ship captain". Daily Express. 22 April 2010. http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/170747/Sarah-Breton-The-first-female-cruise-ship-captain. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
- "Royal Caribbean International's Monarch of the Seas to be completely refurbished in late-5/03". Travel Agent (magazine). March 24, 2003. "Look for Royal Caribbean International's Monarch of the Seas, one of RCI's older ships, to be completely refurbished in late May before it begins Los Angeles service in June.".