World's largest cruise ship may need repairs

4:33 AM, Nov 13, 2013   |    comments
Allure of the Seas - At sea, by the coast line of Miami Allure of the Seas - Royal Caribbean International (Photo: Michel Verdure)
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(USATODAY.com) - Royal Caribbean's much-ballyhooed Allure of the Seas may be heading into dry dock for maintenance ahead of schedule due to the propulsion problem that has forced it to operate at slower-than-normal speeds, industry watcher Travel Weekly is reporting.

The news outlet quotes Royal Caribbean Cruises chairman Richard Fain as saying the company is considering moving up a routine dry dock scheduled for 2015 for the 225,282-ton vessel -- the world's largest cruise ship.

"We're in the process of trying to assess [whether] we move up the dry dock, and if it makes sense we will," Fain tells Travel Weekly.

The mechanical issue with one of Allure of the Seas' three propulsion "pods" has resulted in shortened calls in ports during recent Eastern Caribbean sailings.

Allure of the Seas is just the latest in a string of cruise ships that have experienced problems with pod propulsion units since they first began appearing on vessels in the 1990s. Just three months ago, Celebrity Cruises' 2,138-passenger Celebrity Millennium had a pod issue that resulted in the cancellation of several voyages.

Pod propulsion systems are more efficient than conventional propulsion systems but can be more difficult to repair at sea. In the case of the Celebrity Millennium, the ship eventually wastaken out of service for several weeks in late August and September to undergo repairs in a dry dock.

Unveiled in 2010, Allure of the Seas can carry more than 6,000 passengers and has a crew of more than 2,000 people. The ship is one of two Oasis Class vessels at the line that jointly hold the record for world's largest cruise ship (for a look inside an Oasis Class vessel, click through the carousel below).

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