Now that the media hype has fallen a bit from Royal Caribbean’s latest ship, we have to ask ourselves “So the ship is big, but is it fun?” I mean, it’s easy to see where having the largest cruise ship in the world can go wrong: long lines, crowded passageways, sold out restaurants. Would the Oasis of the Seas deliver? Early reviews are saying: yes.
While the Royal Caribbean’s flagship can handle up to 6,300 passengers, as of late most cruises have been departing with about 4,500 passengers. A healthy amount of people for the size of the boat: you never feel lonely and you never feel crowded. High-tech crowd management systems work behind the scenes to maintain traffic, assuring that elevators go where they’re needed and hallways don’t become overloaded. For the guest, that means unfettered access amongst the ship’s 7 neighborhoods.
At first, the sheer size of the ship makes it difficult to navigate; it is afterall almost the length of four football fields. But most guests generally figure out there way around after the second day. If you’re up to it, you could always take the zip line – just don’t look down. But the zip line is just the beginning – there’s so many activities on the ship that you would have to try very hard not to have fun.
Whatever floats your boat, the Oasis of the Seas has it – there’s 24 restaurants, 14 of which are completely free to you. The three signature restaurants though book up fast – as with all of the amenities and restaurants on the ship, you can reserve well in advance online; a recommended practice for any savvy traveler. The food is just the beginning; there’s an excellent theater, featuring the award winning musical “Hairspray”, as well as a comedy show and unique water theater show. The place is so jam packed with activities most compare it to Disneyland; or Las Vegas.
There’s of course the casino to help separate you from your hard earned dollars (that and the many bars and cocktail waitresses). If that’s not your think, there’s always the ice rink, skating rink, surf machines, rock climbing walls, 20 pools, AND miniature golf course. Oh yeah, bingo too if that’s your sort of thing. So many activities, one thing is certain: there’s something for everyone.
In what could be called a brilliant marketing move, the rooms are a bit on the small side. Not saying the rooms are shabby, I mean 32″ TV’s are pretty nice. But to put things in perspective, don’t expect a robe or anything more than shampoo and conditioner. See what I mean? Why would you stay in this tiny room when you can have anything you want outside?
While most rooms aren’t too spectacular, the suites are definitely something to behold, especially when combined with a beautiful look out towards the ocean. Of course, such stately rooms don’t come cheap – expect to dish out upwards of $8,000 per person for such luxury.
While one month is still a bit too early to issue a final verdict on the Oasis of the Seas, it looks like Royal Caribbean’s big bet will pay off. Guests seem exceptionally happy and the big cruiseliner idea seems viable, an impressive feat considering the bad economy. Look for deals to open up as the newness wears off. That’s the best thing about cruises, no matter how low the fares go everything is still all inclusive.
if not, come back tomorrow on journeyetc.com and see what's new :)