WATCH: Royal Caribbean International Prepares Its Latest Newbuilds
Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International
It’s amazing to consider not only what it takes to operate modern cruise ships like Royal Caribbean International’s Harmony of the Seas, currently the biggest in the world, but even conceive of and construct them initially.
Denise Key-Tielebein is Program Manager, Newbuilding, Oasis Class for Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. corporately, and she has come a long way to contribute to such grand projects.
The cruise line has released a new video, hosted at my Popular Cruising YouTube channel and embedded below, that takes you on a journey into the process of shipbuilding from her perspective.
Along the way, both the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany and STX France one in Saint-Nazaire are featured, the former being the build location for the Quantum-class and the latter the Oasis-class. I myself have had the opportunity to visit both yards, and the facilities assembling the largest cruise ships in the world are beyond fascinating.
“Denise was fundamental in organizing all the special projects on Oasis and Allure …,” said Harri Kulovaara, EVP, Maritime, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. “That was a big part of all the Oasis project.”
What’s also interesting is that you’ll see Key-Tielebein and her team wearing Royal Caribbean International helmets but Celebrity Cruises jackets. Both brands are corporate cousins, and while Celebrity is not building any ships at Meyer Werft at this very moment, it has two ships scheduled to be constructed at STX France and launching in 2018 and 2020. Currently, more of the Quantum-class is on its way from the German yard while more of the Oasis-class is coming from France.
“And then I got [Harmony of the Seas] and Oasis 4 as my own projects,” said Key-Tielebein. “This is the best feeling, knowing that everything I do culminates into a big ship.”
Remarkably, she had not taken a cruise prior to joining Royal Caribbean, but her military background helps her to bring everything together with a unique outsider’s perspective. Kulovaara added, “The nucleus of the leadership team is a very strong program manager who makes sure that we stay focused on timelines, that all the information from us is timely delivered to the shipyard.”
“… my goal since I started was to become a project manager of a newbuild. And here I am,” concluded Key-Tielebein. “I enjoy thinking of what will it be when the guest walks on the ship for the first time, what will that experience be for them, and I like that feeling. I like knowing that we make vacations.”
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