Oasis of the Seas


Professional Review for Oasis of the Seas

ExteriorThe 220,000-ton, 5,400-passsenger Oasis of the Seas launched on 28 October 2009 and is now the largest passenger vessel ever constructed—by a long shot.

It is difficult not to be impressed by this ship, even for those who are not fans of the big-ship experience. People who have been onboard the Oasis are calling her spectacular, amazing, awesome. The ship is so big, you can barely tell when it is moving.

Most passengers will be North Americans, but curious South Americans and Europeans also will try out the world’s largest cruise ship. The line particularly appeals to couples and singles in their 30s, 40s and 50s, and children’s programs are plentiful, making it appealing to families.

The 16-deck, 1,181-foot Oasis undertakes weekly Eastern Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale to St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Nassau with three days at sea. Then in May 2010, a Western Caribbean loop will be offered on alternative weeks to Labadee (private resort in Haiti) and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico, again with three sea days. In December 2010, Oasis adds Falmouth, Jamaica, to its itinerary. Shore trips will be typical Caribbean outings to beaches, beauty spots and port towns.

Oasis boasts an outdoor tree-filled oasis called Central Park, the Boardwalk, an exterior promenade with an old-time carousel, AquaTheater, a pool at the bow with an amphitheater featuring a high dive and aqua-acrobatics, plus the usual RCI ice-skating rink, boxing ring, rock-climbing wall, surf park, basketball court and several swimming pools. The Rising Tide Bar is actually a glass-walled elevator that rises from the Royal Promenade to Central Park while serving cocktails en route.

Central Park, home to 12,000 plants and trees, has winding walkways, benches and a small outdoor bar called the Trellis. It is also home to the first Coach store at sea. By night, lights illuminate the plants and trees around Central Park’s walkways, and the sight is simply stunning.

The Boardwalk neighborhood bustles during the day when the carousel is going around, zipline riders are shrieking as they fly by nine decks above, and families eat lunch alfresco at Johnny Rockets and the Seafood Shack. This area also is popular with kids for its stuffed animal-making shop, candy store, face painting, donut shop and ice-cream parlor.

Children’s services include the H20 zone with a giant octopus, slides, water-spraying creatures, wading pools, and an infant and toddler pool. Royal Babies and Tots, a room containing a fully staffed nursery for infants and toddlers, contains plenty of toys. Programs for children, ages 3-5, 6-8 and 9-11, as well as teens, are available. The teen-only lounge has computers and other activities designed for this age group.

Young children on the Oasis must wear wristbands with an electronic tracking device. All children ages 3-11 must wear the band, which has information about the child and helps the Adventure Ocean youth counselors reunite parents with their child in cases of emergency. The wristband also helps counselors reunite children with parents at muster stations and enables parents to track their kids in real time.

The Opal Theater is the main entertainment venue, seating 2,161 on two decks. Three different shows are performed during each sailing. The shows in the main theater take place twice nightly but do not accommodate all passengers onboard. Reservations must be made. The Comedy Club with its 120 seats is often full. Dazzling, talented figure skaters from around the world perform in Studio B, a 775-seat ice rink. Also entertaining is the dive show at the AquaTheater. Nightly street parties take place on the Royal Promenade.

Oasis features several swimming pools and whirlpools, including an adults-only pool in the Solarium. A vast array of exercise equipment is available in the spacious fitness center, along with yoga, Pilates, kickboxing and Kinesis classes. A two-level spa features numerous treatments.

A casino offers many options with gaming tables and slot machines, and those who would rather read can check out the library. In addition to Coach, onboard shopping includes an art gallery, photo shop, candy store, children’s store, accessories, fine jewelry and logo gifts.

Internet access is available throughout the ship. About a dozen computers are available for use, but there is no large room dedicated to computer use, and some passengers found this to be a shortcoming.

Passengers aboard the Oasis can choose from 24 ways to dine. The cuisine is top-notch, and children’s menus are available at most spots. Restaurants include typical choices such as a casual Italian eatery as well as Royal Caribbean signatures such as Vintage wine bar and Chops Grille. New dining concepts include the indoor and outdoor Seafood Shack in the Boardwalk, serving seafood and oversized desserts, with cover charges of $7.95 for lunch and $9.95 for dinner. 150 Central Park is the most exclusive dining venue, providing an intimate ambience and a tasting menu with wine pairings for $35 at dinner.

In the Royal Promenade, the Mondo Cafe, which is open late at night, offers coffee, sandwiches and pastries from countries such as Italy, Spain and Cuba. New in the Solarium is a bistro by that name offering health-conscious fare for breakfast and lunch in a casual setting, At night, the restaurant serves dinner and offers dancing under the stars, for a $20 cover charge. Also for the health-conscious, the Vitality Cafe features healthy snacks, sandwiches, wraps and fruit for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant is situated at the entrance to the Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center.

Oasis’ main dining room, the three-level Opus, has a 1920s theme and features elegant French art-deco design. It serves international and American cuisine and fine wines. For those who prefer a more casual atmosphere, the Windjammer Marketplace is a buffet eatery with various stations from Asian and American to deli and desserts. Izumi features a sushi bar and Asian hot-rock cooking and is open for lunch and dinner at a la carte pricing. The Opus dining room and the Windjammer have open seating. Specialty restaurants have an additional charge of $15-$30 and require reservations.

There is no shortage of bars. For wine lovers, there is Vintage, the wine bar with tapas selections. The Globe and Atlas Pub is a haven for beer lovers, and the Champagne Bar offers many sparkling varieties. Most popular is Rising Tide, a floating bar on the Royal Promenade that rises and descends above a stream of colored fountains. Blaze, the ship’s nightclub, is the disco spot, and karaoke is found at On Air Club. For late-night libations, Bolero’s the Schooner Bar and Dazzles fit the bill.

About 75% of the 2,700 cabins have private balconies, and double-decker Loft Suites boast two-story glass walls and expansive private verandas.

Some balconies overlook interior neighborhoods such as Central Park and not the sea. The Boardwalk cabins face the interior neighborhood but do have a view of the ocean looking to the sides beyond the outdoor Aqua Theater. For guests choosing an interior neighborhood balcony, choose Central Park for a quieter “adult” space. There is the sound of some music and people chatting below, but overall it is a quiet area, day and night. Guests who like the sound and action of a Coney Island-type area should choose the Boardwalk.

Royal Caribbean has raised the bar for cruise ships with the innovative Oasis of the Seas. Despite its huge size, the Oasis still feels intimate. It will appeal to most all cruisers, both first-timers and those returning. It is truly unique.

From STAR Service Online

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