In an unexpected twist, a giant new Royal Caribbean ship scheduled to debut in 2024 will sail short voyages to the Bahamas.

Royal Caribbean on Tuesday revealed that Utopia of the Seas — a massive, 18-deck-high cruise vessel that will be one of the biggest ever — would operate three- and four-night sailings to the Bahamas from Port Canaveral, Florida, after it debuts in July 2024.

Each of the voyages will include a stop at Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas.

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Traditionally, major cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean have devoted their newest and biggest ships to seven-night sailings — a more lucrative market — and placed older and smaller vessels on shorter runs. Royal Caribbean’s move is a bold bet that placing one of its latest and greatest vessels in the short-cruise market will drive a surge of new customers.

In an interview with TPG in advance of Tuesday’s announcement, Royal Caribbean chief marketing officer Kara Wallace suggested that Royal Caribbean was specifically going after the “new to cruise” market with the sailings — people who have never cruised before. It’s a segment of vacationers that often is wary of booking a cruise longer than three or four days, in case they don’t love it.

“Our goal really is to bring and attract the next generation of cruisers, and Utopia is a ship that will do that,” Wallace told TPG.

Putting one of Royal Caribbean’s newest and most amenity-filled ships on short-cruisers will let the line “make that first impression, the best impression” with first-time cruisers, she added.

One of two giant new Royal Caribbean ships

Utopia of the Seas is just one of two giant new ships that Royal Caribbean plans to debut in 2024 — both among the biggest cruise vessels in the world.

The other new vessel, Icon of the Seas, will arrive in January 2024 and has been getting more press of late as it’ll be the biggest cruise ship ever built.

Icon of the Seas also will boast a number of buzzworthy new features, as you can see in our sneak-peek video below. TPG’s video team got exclusive access to the ship in May at the shipyard in Finland where it’s being built.

While Icon of the Seas is the first of an all-new class of ships for Royal Caribbean (the Icon class), Utopia of the Seas is just the latest ship in the line’s 14-year-old Oasis-class series of vessels.

Related: The 6 types of Royal Caribbean ships, explained

Launched in 2009 with the debut of Oasis of the Seas, the Oasis-class ships have dominated the world of megasize cruise ships since that year. At the time the class began rolling out, the vessels were around 40% bigger than the next-biggest cruise ships, and they have continued to be the biggest and most amenity-laden ships in the world ever since.

Royal Caribbean on Tuesday said Utopia of the Seas would measure 236,860 tons, making it just a tad bigger than the most recent Oasis-class ship to debut, the 1-year-old Wonder of the Seas. That would make it the second-biggest cruise ship in the world at the time it debuts, just behind Icon of the Seas. Icon of the Seas will measure about 250,600 tons, according to Royal Caribbean.

At 236,857 tons, Wonder of the Seas is currently the biggest cruise ship in the world.

An artist’s drawing of a pool area planned for Utopia of the Seas. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Each of the Oasis-class vessels has three separate pool areas, a kiddie splash zone, a surfing simulator, a miniature golf course, a basketball court and even a zip line. And that’s just on their top decks.

Inside the vessels, you’ll find more lounges, bars, restaurants and shops than you can imagine, plus huge casinos, spas and showrooms with Broadway-style shows. They even have indoor ice skating rinks.

Related: The ultimate guide to Royal Caribbean | The biggest Royal Caribbean ships | The best Royal Caribbean ships | The best Royal Caribbean itineraries 

In its announcement Tuesday, Royal Caribbean suggested Utopia of the Seas would have many of the same features found on the last new Oasis-class ship, Wonder of the Seas, as well as a few all-new and revamped venues. Highlights revealed include:

Reimagined pool deck areas with three pools and three Lime and Coconut bars, as well as one of Royal Caribbean’s signature The Perfect Storm water park areas and a Splashaway Bay kiddie zone. These deck-top areas will feature more food options than in the past, including a new poolside food truck concept called Truck.
A two-deck-high Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar (that’s one more deck than on other Oasis-class ships) overlooking the Boardwalk area of the ship and a new outside terrace area called Gio’s Terrazza.
A relocated Izumi sushi eatery that will be in the Central Park area of the vessel. It will feature a new walk-up window for sushi and Japanese-inspired sweets called Izumi in the Park, as well as a bigger area for teppanyaki dining.
A new, as-yet-unnamed immersive dining experience that will combine “multiple courses, technology and different destinations and storylines” to offer a one-of-a-kind experience that “engages all the senses.” Royal Caribbean hinted that it will be themed around a locomotive journey.
Two casinos.
An all-new Caribbean tiki bar in the Royal Promenade area that will be the first thing you see after stepping on board. Called Pesky Parrot, it’ll serve fruit-based cocktails alongside frozen drinks.

In addition, the ship will have a 10-deck-high Ultimate Abyss dry slide attraction that’s 43 feet longer than similar slides on several other Oasis-class vessels. It’ll be 259 feet long in all.

An artist’s drawing of the Ultimate Abyss slide planned for Utopia of the Seas. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Like other Oasis-class vessels, the ship also will have a karaoke lounge, a Latin-themed lounge called Boleros, a Music Hall with live cover bands, an English pub with a live guitarist (to be called Bell & Barley), and a version of Royal Caribbean’s signature piano lounge, the Schooner Bar.

Royal Caribbean also revealed on Tuesday that Utopia of the Seas would have 2,834 cabins and the capacity for 5,668 passengers, based on double occupancy. It’ll sail with a crew of 2,290 people.

Utopia of the Seas won’t be the first Oasis-class ship to sail short cruises. One of older vessels in the series, the 13-year-old Allure of the Seas, will begin three-and four-night sailings out of Florida later this year. But it’ll be the first Oasis-class ship to debut with short sailings.

Members of Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society loyalty program will be able to book initial sailings for Utopia of the Seas starting Thursday. The ship’s sailings will open to the general public for bookings Friday.

Utopia of the Seas has been under construction at the giant Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France, since April 2022.

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