First it floated out of a space that was dry a short time before, moving by inches into the full-moonlit night, a graceful hulk that filled the door of the immense covered dock where ships have been built from the keel up for more than 200 years.
Then it rested in its shallow berth for a few weeks of finishing touches, making it showroom ready before delivery to the new owner. It had that new ship smell.
Finally, moving backwards for the easiest maneuverability, it was slowly, slowly conveyed on the little River Ems from the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany 26 miles to the North Sea.
So far, April 2015 has been a big month for Anthem of the Seas.
On April 10, in a formal signing ceremony staged in Bremerhaven, Germany, Royal Caribbean International accepted delivery of its 23rd ship from Meyer Werft Yard’s Managing Partner Bernard Meyer.
Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean International’s parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., did the honors while thanking Meyer and his team for an ongoing partnership in producing “awe-inspiring” ships.
“We’ve always broken the mold with each successive ship we build,” Fain said, “and Anthem of the Seas is no different.”
Fain is not given to hyperbole.
Anthem is the second in the company’s new Quantum class of ships, dubbed Project Sunshine at inception, and given its formal name in early 2013 when it was agreed that these vessels represented a “quantum leap forward” in cruising.
The first, fittingly, was Quantum of the Seas, which debuted in October 2014, is now sailing from the Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J., to the Caribbean and Bahamas, and will move to its homeport of Shanghai, China in June 2015.
The third member of the class, Ovation of the Seas, in now under construction and slated to debut in the spring of 2016. It will homeport in Tianjin, China and – with Quantum of the Seas and three other RCL ships – serve the explosive new Chinese cruise market.
Like Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas offers innovative guest amenities that have already drawn enthusiastic attention from the world press.
The new ship will be formally inaugurated April 20 in Southampton, U.K., where it will homeport through October and sail to the Mediterranean and Canary Islands.
In November, New York Harbor will become Anthem of the Seas’ permanent home, and it will sail regularly to Bermuda, the Caribbean, Canada and New England.