International is a line of cruise ships providing travelers the chance to sail to a number of destinations. Since 1991 the company has used "of the Seas" in the names of all their ships, and as of 2009 the company owned 21 ships. The company is based in Miami
Royal Caribbean formed in 1968 when three Norwegian shipping companies consolidated. The first ship the company used was the Song of Norway, which sailed in 1970, and within two years there were three ships sailing under the line. The line was so popular that at the start of the 1980s the company lengthened two of its ships to make room for more passengers. The company purchased two private islands in the 1980s and expanded its line in the 1990s as well as going public on the New York Stock Exchange.
All of the ships in the Royal Caribbean line come with a Viking Crown Lounge, which provides ocean views. The ships also feature bars, lounges, gyms, spas and rock climbing walls as well as a swimming pool. The company is also known for providing the Adventure Ocean program, which is geared toward keeping children busy on the ships. All ships also have a dining room with meals served daily and other restaurants for passengers.
In 2009 Royal Caribbean launched the first ship under the banner of Ocean Class. These ships are larger and more luxurious than its other ships and its competitors' ships. The plans called for the ships to include space for 6,400 guests total, including third- and fourth-class passengers, and weigh around 220,000 tons. The first ship of this type, set to launch in November 2009, cost the company more than $1 billion, which included design and advertising costs.
Royal Caribbean has retired several ships since the company launched and many of those ships now operate under different names. The Song of Norway is now known as Clipper Pearl and with International Shipping Partners, and Sun Viking is the casino ship known as Long Jie. Transocean Tours purchased the Nordic Prince and renamed it Arielle, while Thompson cruises purchased Song of America and named it Thomson Destiny. The Viking Serenade was also purchased and is Island Escape with Island Cruises.
Royal Caribbean owns two islands with resorts that are primarily used for passengers on their cruise ships. Passengers disembark on the islands where they have the chance to sightsee, shop and eat for a few hours before boarding the boat again. The islands are used on voyages to the Bahamas and certain destinations in the Caribbean. One island is Labadee on Haiti and the other is Coco Cay in the Berry Islands.
Jennifer Eblin has been a full-time freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared on several websites, including Tool Box Tales and Zonder. Eblin received a master's degree in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.