Every so often a new ship comes along and completely re-defines the entire concept of luxury cruising. That time has come with Royal Caribbean’s “Oasis of the Seas,” the largest cruise ship ever built.
How big is it? Well, upon its completion this December, it will be 1,184 feet long (that’s about 100 feet more than the height of New York City’s Chrysler Building,) 154 feet wide, 16 decks high and will contain 2,700 staterooms (enough for 5,400 guests based on double-occupancy.)
To look at it from another perspective, at 220,000 tons, Oasis will be more than four times the size of the Titanic. But, unlike the Titanic, guests on the Oasis don’t have to worry about icebergs. “Oasis of the Seas” will be sailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on 7-night cruises to the sunny Eastern Caribbean ports of St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Nassau, Bahamas. Starting in May of 2010, she’ll be alternating between the 7-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary and a 7-night Western Caribbean itinerary from Fort Lauderdale that includes Labadee (Royal Caribbean’s own private island), Falmouth Jamaica and Cozumel, Mexico.
While sailing to some very attractive ports of call, a major attraction for passengers on Oasis of the Seas will be the ship itself. This ship is so big that it is divided into “neighborhoods.” For example, the Central Park neighborhood will provide a unique nature feel within the nautical atmosphere. Elegant and lively, it will offer a tranquil and peaceful experience during the day, featuring winding paths with real grass, trees, shrubs, tropical foliage, sculptured gardens, and lots of open sky. During the evening hours, Central Park will evolve into an active gathering place for entertainment, street performances and some of the finest restaurants at sea, including “Antonio’s Table” Italian trattoria, “Chops Grille,” the upscale “150 Central Park,” “Vintages” wine bar and the “Park Café.” More than 300 staterooms (many with balconies) will rise up 6 decks overlooking the ship’s Central Park, reminiscent of the grand hotels overlooking New York City’s own swank Central Park neighborhoods.
The Royal Promenade neighborhood will be located at the heart of the ship. Anyone who has seen the Royal Promenade on any of Royal Caribbean’s Voyager-class or Freedom-class ships may find it difficult to believe that the Royal Promenade on the Oasis could possibly be any more expansive and exciting, but Oasis’ will be. In addition to a wide avenue lined with shops, pubs and eateries, it will feature “Rising Tide;” a levitating bar that effortlessly moves its patrons up and down over three decks between the Royal Promenade and Central Park. The Royal Promenade on Oasis of the Seas will be the ultimate place to sit, enjoy lunch or a cocktail and “people watch” as you feel the pulse of this great “city at sea”.
Dedicated to family fun and nostalgia, the Boardwalk neighborhood will provide a slice of old-world charm with a modern twist. Along with the first-ever Carousel at sea, Boardwalk will offer enough games, amusements and attractions to keep everyone entertained. Surrounded by casual restaurants like “Johnny Rockets” and the “Seafood Shack”, a coffee and donut shop, an ice cream parlor, “Candy Beach” candy shop, “Madame Zamara’s Psychic Parlor,” a novelty photo shop and 324 staterooms (most with balconies), the Boardwalk neighborhood is designed to be a special place for kids of all ages.
Included within the Boardwalk neighborhood will be the revolutionary new Aquatheater. In the daytime, guests will be able to unwind or socialize poolside, go for a dip or take in the rays while relaxing on the sun deck. As the sun sets, lounges convert into theater seating as up to 600 guests can trade their sunblock for evening cocktails while water acrobats thrill audiences with high-diving aerial performances. Theatergoers will be dazzled by a spectacular water show, set against the backdrop of the ocean and horizon, under a star lit sky. Six decks of balcony staterooms will overlook the Aquatheater offering private views of the show.
The Pool & Sports zone on Oasis of the Seas will offer guests from children to adults more options than could ever be previously imagined on a cruise ship. Multiple pools with private cabanas (including the H20 Aquapark for families and Solarium for adults only), six whirlpools, two rock-climbing walls, miniature golf, a huge sports complex (including full-court basketball), flow riders for onboard surfing and a Zip Line that will allow adventurous guests to zip across the ship on a wire suspended nine decks high.
For guests who seek more “down-to-earth” excitement, Oasis of the Seas will also feature Entertainment Place with its Casino Royale (designed to rival the style and elegance found in the most renowned Las Vegas casinos), Studio B (which will host professional ice skating shows and offer guests an opportunity to test their own skating skills), Opal Theatre (which will seat 1,380 guests for three original Broadway-style production shows per cruise), plus numerous night clubs, discos, comedy clubs, a movie theatre, a vast library and more.
Offering relaxing messages, saunas, steam rooms and a beauty salon for complete hair, nail and make-up services, the Oasis of the Seas will also feature an enormous spa and fitness center. The spa on Oasis of the Seas will be (surprise, surprise) the largest at sea. The fitness center (also the largest at sea) will feature 158 state-of-the-art exercise machines, a free weight area, studio fitness classes (including yoga, Pilates, and kickboxing) as well as the largest jogging track at sea. It can almost make you sweat just thinking about it all.
The Youth Zone is home of Royal Caribbean’s award-winning “Adventure Ocean” youth program, with even more space dedicated to youth activities than ever before. The Youth Zone is where kids can be kids and parents can be worry-free in knowing that activities are in dedicated spaces for six different age-appropriate groups (ranging from babies 6 months of age to teens up to 17 years) with trained professional, caring staff for each age group. The Youth Zone takes family vacationing to a whole new level with its infant and toddler nursery, crafts, large gym, youth theatre and activities, including teen lounge, disco, gaming systems and DJ booth.
Consistent with Royal Caribbean’s objective to build the largest and most innovative cruise ship in the world, the Oasis of the Seas will offer an unprecedented selection of stateroom accommodations to satisfy just about any budget or luxury expectation. In addition to standard interior and ocean-view staterooms (some of which can accommodate up to 5 guests), there will be a variety of balcony staterooms (with sliding glass doors opening onto a private veranda) and suites, including Junior Suites, Grand Suites, Royal Family Suites and Presidential Suites. And, for the first time on any cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas will introduce multi-level Loft Suites featuring up to 2,000 square feet of space (bigger than most luxury apartments and many houses). The new Loft Suites will redefine cruising accommodations with their spacious living areas and double-height ceilings. The Lofts boast an open, contemporary design with vibrant, ocean-inspired colors in a sophisticated setting (not to mention a baby grand piano). Floor-to-ceiling windows will provide breathtaking two-level views of the ocean while sea breezes caress guests on spacious balconies. It’s like a sanctuary at sea.
Perhaps the most spectacular feature of the Oasis is its pre-inaugural (advance) pricing. Although the large multi-level suites may be somewhat “out of reach” for the average vacationer, Royal Caribbean has priced standard interior, ocean-view and balcony accommodations on this ship at a level that is affordable to almost everyone, including families on a limited budget. In fact, when you consider everything that is included (i.e., accommodations, meals, entertainment, activities and multiple destinations), the pre-inaugural pricing (which starts at under $150 per person per day on many sailing dates) may offer one of the best vacation values ever.
For more information, including specific rates and sailing dates, call Direct Line Cruises (official agency for the cruise industry) at 1-800 DLC-8088 or visit www.RoyalCaribbeanOasisoftheSeas.com.