Royal Caribbean International has announced plans to drop the Sovereign of the Seas from its fleet later this year. The 73,000-ton vessel, with a passenger capacity of 2,276, is generally regarded as the first megaship, and is credited with introducing a new era in the cruise industry when it first set sail on January 16, 1988, with Rosalynn Carter as its godmother.

Since then, ships with twice the tonnage have been built, but it was certainly the pied piper of today’s supercruisers. It was the first cruise ship that was truly a floating resort, offering passenger amenities never before seen on the high seas.

In 1988, less than 4 million passengers cruised annually. Since then, the number has tripled, with approximately 12 million cruise passengers a year. This vessel’s introduction was an integral part of fueling that increase.

NewmanPR handled the introduction of the world’s first mega-ship. As we bid farewell to the Sovereign, look for a more detailed blog entry from agency chairman Stuart Newman on bringing out that vessel and its effect on the evolution of the passenger cruise industry over nearly two decades.