Royal Caribbean’s Port Canaveral-bound Utopia of the Seas heads out for sea trials

The newest Royal Caribbean ship Utopia of the Seas is cranking up its engines to ensure it’s seaworthy before it makes its way to Port Canaveral in July.

The sixth Oasis-class vessel set to become the second largest cruise ship in the world has five days of sea trials ahead of it, sailing out from the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France on Tuesday where it has been under construction since April 2022.

With 10 weeks before its July 19 debut, the ship will perform hundreds of tests as it travels more than 1,000 miles.

“More than 900 experts, specialists across areas like naval architecture, engineering, navigation and design, are on Utopia to push the ship to its limits and make sure it’s ready for smooth sailing,” according to a Royal Caribbean press release.

On the task list will be confirming expected ship movement through the open water and making sure its navigation systems and engines perform as expected.

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The ship is taking over the short, three- and four-night Bahamas itineraries currently being performed by Allure of the Seas out of Port Canaveral, part of a strategy of parking two Oasis-class ships at the Orlando-area port that has led to record passenger numbers.

Each sailing will visit Royal Caribbean’s private Bahamas island Little Stirrup Cay, which the company has rebranded Perfect Day at CocoCay. The destination features a water park with 14 waterslides and massive wave pool, the largest freshwater pool in either the Caribbean or the Bahamas and a new adults-only area called Hideaway Beach.

As the sixth Oasis-class ship, the sizable ship is 236,860 gross tons and 1,188 feet long with 18 decks and a 5,668-passenger capacity based on double occupancy. It will like its sister ships come in incrementally larger than the previous vessel in the class. Oasis of the Seas was the largest in the world when it debuted in 2009 followed by 2010’s Allure of the Seas, 2016’s Harmony of the Seas, 2018’s Symphony of the Seas and 2022’s Wonder of the Seas.

All but Symphony have spent some time calling Port Canaveral home.

It’s the first time, though, that Royal has assigned the short sailing duties to a ship of that size for its debut.

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It will not become the world’s largest ship, though, because of the debut this year out of Miami of the even larger Icon of the Seas, the first in a new class of ship whose sister Star of the Seas will come online in 2025 and also make its way to Port Canaveral.

For now, though, Utopia of the Seas at No. 2 brings with it the Oasis-class favorites including the Ultimate Abyss dry slide, but Utopia’s will be the longest at sea at 295 feet long — 43 feet longer than those on its sister ships. The ship’s outdoor features also include eight hot tubs, five pools, three Perfect Storm waterslides, Flowrider surf simulator, mini golf, climbing walls and the Splashaway Bay water play area.

It will be home to seven neighborhoods that carve up the ship including the Boardwalk, Royal Promenade and Central Park.

Royal Caribbean details new dining on Port Canaveral-bound Utopia of the Seas

A new dining venue is called Royal Railway – Utopia Station will bring travelers on board a virtual train, offering a thematic dinner experience similar to the new Empire Supper Club that debuted on Icon of the Seas. The railway cars diners sit in will mimic train travel with digital screens showing a variety of destinations with matching cuisine.

The ship will also feature a new poolside food truck with quick bites called The Spare Tire, a walkup window for Japanese restaurant Izumi with Japanese-inspired street food and sweets, a repositioned, two-deck Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar and new outside terrace Gio’s Terrazza and the second iteration of the popular Mason Jar Southern Restaurant & Bar that debuted on Wonder of the Seas.

Also on board will be Hooked Seafood, Chops Grille, 150 Central Park, Park Cafe, Sorrento’s, Boardwalk Dog House, Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, Windjammer buffet, the main dining room and chef’s table experience.

One of 23 bar options, a new venue called the Pesky Parrot will feature fruit-based cocktails and frozen drinks on the Promenade taking place of the Bionic Bar found on some of its sister ships.

Utopia of the Seas will also be the first Oasis-class ship to run on liquefied natural gas, a cleaner burning fuel that is among the cruise industry’s efforts to reduce their ships’ carbon footprint. Port Canaveral was the first North American port to home port an LNG cruise ship when Carnival’s Mardi Gras arrived in 2021 followed by Disney Wish in 2022.

For its main show entertainment, new show titles have yet to be revealed, but it will have its three main performance venues with Broadway-style shows at the Royal Theater, a new diving and aerobatic show in the AquaTheater, new ice-skating performances in Studio B as well as comedy in The Attic.