Get Away With Fran

November 20, 2009

Wow what a ship! Oasis of the Seas

Filed under: Cruise — admin @ 3:31 pm

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Of course the Oasis of the Seas as the newest world’s largest ship is awesome, wild, unbelievable. But what’s most startling to me as a veteran cruise writer is how much it doesn’t feel like a ship at all.

Cruise line executives have for years been calling their latest, greatest ships “floating resorts.” But the 225,282-ton Oasis really does feel like a huge Las Vegas resort at sea – maybe even two properties put together. Royal Caribbean has outdone itself here.

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From the moment you get onboard you know you are someplace different – because the promenade-style lobby, like all the spaces on this ship, is huge. This will come in handy, since when full the ship will carry 6,200 passengers. Plus more than 2,000 crew. That’s a lot of people.

For the two-day, pre-inaugural sailing I am on (invitation-only), there are only 3,500 passengers. But you can tell this will not be a ship for people who don’t like crowds. It’s a city at sea, and a city with noise and activity and people. And a city that truly is jaw-dropping.

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From my cabin, I have views of an open multi-deck promenade area known as the Boardwalk, with a merry-go-round and an AquaTheater with high divers and synchronized swimming. I can see the ocean too if I turn my head to the left from my balcony, but that seems like an afterthought. I can see the sky above too if I look up a couple of decks. That seems like an afterthought too.

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I have already gone for a ride on one of the horsies on the merry-go-round and yes, it’s a cool cruise ship first. Nearby is one of those fun cheesy photo booths, face painting, a donut shop and an ice cream parlor. The ice cream, like the donuts, is made fresh daily. The donuts are free. The ice cream, like many little things on this ship, carries an extra charge (and these incidentials will add up in the course of a one-week cruise).

In the Royal Promenade, a massive area of shops and cafes, there’s a cupcake shop too. I dare any parent to bring on a kid and not have to pay $2.50 a day to buy them one of the yummy treats (how can you resist cupcake flavors like Root Beer and Coca Cola?).

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I have just finished walking around the ship for two hours. I have hardly seen half. But the Central Park with real trees including bamboo, and blooming flowers and park benches is a sight to behold.

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And the multiple pools on the sundeck are pretty darn impressive. I lost count of the number of hot tubs – the coolest actually canteliveier off the ship for great ocean views. The Solarium is a quieter area for adults to take in ocean breezes, and the pool there has a lovely waterfall.

The only feature so far that had me a little disappointed is the zipline, which does sit high atop the ship with views of the Boardwalk area, but is very short – for those who have ziplined before it’s like going from one tree to another but no more.

But so much of this ship is a big WOW it seems silly to quibble. And I haven’t even mentioned the ice skating rink, and the mini-golf course, and the largest casino at sea and, and, and…

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