After talks between STX, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and the Finnish Government over financing of a third ship in the Oasis of the Seas class broke down, within a short time the order for that ship had been placed with STX at St Nazaire, France. The 361m vessel will be the largest passenger ship built anywhere outside Finland, and with work expected to commence in September, the as-yet un-named ship will be delivered in 2016. The order also includes an option on a sistership for delivery two years later.

It appears that the shipyard has taken the redundant Atlantic Star (1984/46,087gt) in part exchange for the first ship, thus relieving RCCL of a financial and highly visible embarrassment. Atlantic Star, built at La Seyne in the south of France, has been laid up in Marseille for almost four years and was widely thought to have come to a premature end.

She is the last steam turbine passenger ship built, having been ordered by Sitmar Line, and entered service in 1984 as Fairsky. When Sitmar was acquired by P&O in 1988 she became Princess Cruises’ Sky Princess and 12 years later was transferred within the group to P&O Cruises Australia as Pacific Sky. In 2006, after numerous mechanical problems, she was acquired by Royal Caribbean subsidiary Pullmantur Cruises and renamed Sky Wonder. In 2009 she lost the ‘Sky’ in her name when she was reactivated, renamed Atlantic Star and allocated to a new Pullmantur venture, sailing from Portugal. In the event she was not used, due to further mechanical problems, and remained laid up in Marseille. It will be interesting to see what future, if any, this last steam ship has.

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