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    Oasis of the Seas - Cruise Ship Review - Passenger Reviews

    The World's Largest Cruise Ship - Oasis of the Seas

    by Ralph Grizzle. An award-winning travel writer, and recognized cruise ship expert.
    Note: This review is for the Oasis of the Seas, one of two "Oasis Class" cruise ships. The other is Allure of the Seas.

    Though 40 percent larger than the current record-holders, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas is not just a larger cruise ship, but a whole new breed of ship.

    An architectural marvel, Oasis of the Seas spans 16 decks, carries 5,400 guests at double occupancy, and feature 2,700 staterooms, including several new categories. The Oasis revolutionizes cruise ship accommodations, offering 37 different accommodation categories, and unique offerings such as duplex “loft suites” that have 18-foot windows looking on to the ocean. Other cabins will have views of the line’s seven “neighborhoods” such as the aforementioned Central Park and also the Boardwalk, home to the Carousel and venues like a (fake) tattoo parlor.

    Oasis of the Seas is the first ship to tout the cruise line’s new neighborhood concept of seven distinct themed areas. In addition to Central Park, the “neighborhoods” include the Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa & Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone: 28,700-square-feet just for kids and teens with Kids Avenue, a central boulevard connecting various themed play areas; a nursery for infants and toddlers; a theater just for children.

    Central Park is an area of lush, tropical grounds spanning more than the length of a football field. The area features serene pathways, seasonal flower gardens and canopy trees.

    A central piazza functions as the ship’s “town square,” which also serves as a gathering space for alfresco evening dining and entertainment. Five decks of balcony staterooms offer views of the park below.

    Boardwalk, inspired by the nostalgic seaside piers of yesteryear, features an original handcrafted carousel and AquaTheater, an amphitheater-style venue with tiered seating platforms that lead down to cruising’s largest freshwater pool.

    By day, AquaTheater serves as a spot for sunning, swimming and other water-based activities. By night, the venue is transformed into a performance space. Two giant LED screens flank the stage as do a pair on enormous rock climbing walls.

    Passengers also have the chance to try the first zip-line at sea suspended nine decks above ground level.

    A new class of two-bedroom, two-bath family suites, called Aqua Suites, feature balconies that allow for private viewing of the nightly performances.

    Oasis of the Seas also features the industry’s first loft suites, offering expansive ocean views and luxury amenities. The 28 two-level loft suites offer spectacular views of the ocean with floor-to-ceiling, double-height windows to ensure the view can be enjoyed from each and every vantage point.

    The Royal Promenade is home to a vast array of shopping, dining and entertainment options including the Rising Tide bar, the first moving bar at sea. The bar traverses three decks and allows cruisers to enjoy a cocktail as they slowly ascend into Central Park.

    Stretching the length of the ship, the Pool and Sports Zone features private cabanas, four types of pools, and two FlowRider surf simulators – each larger than the single FlowRider found on the line’s Freedom-class ships.

    The first Beach Pool at sea has a sloped entry where guests will be able to wade into the water or relax in colorful beach chairs under an umbrella as the water rolls gently beneath. Two whirlpools flank either side of the “beach” for guests who prefer warmer waters.

    Oasis of the Seas AquaTheater SuiteLocated on the opposite side of the ship from the Beach Pool and separated by Central Park six decks below, is the Main Pool with two side-by-side whirlpools. Overlooking both pools are private cabanas, complete with a dedicated attendant.

    Adults looking for a retreat from the bustle of every day life find solace in the grandest Solarium yet. Boasting a redefined layout, guests will have the sensation of floating on air from the two-deck high, glass-paneled enclave designed with seating on various “islands” surrounded by water.

    The open-air Solarium offers a tranquil swimming pool, two serene whirlpools, and four cantilevered whirlpools suspended 136 feet above the ocean. The mezzanine level of the adult-dedicated area overlooks the pool deck below, offering additional chaise lounges and seating.

    Created as the crown jewel of the cruise line’s Vitality program, the Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center encompasses various amenities that cater to complete body wellness. As a precursor to any treatment, guests are encouraged to begin the spa experience by unwinding in the calming relaxation rooms.

    The new Vitality at Sea Spa includes a Thermal Suite, featuring heated tile loungers, saunas and steam rooms; three couples massage suites and seven individual treatment rooms – the largest collection at sea. Kids and teen guests also find their own dedicated Spa in which to enjoy specially catered services.

    Dining in Central Park on Oasis of the Seas

    Oasis of the Seas: Two Dozen Dining Venues

    Oasis of the Seas features two dozen dining outlets, according to Frank Weber, the man in charge of the dining experiences on Royal Caribbean ships.

    In about half of the dining outlets, you’ll need to pony up extra to dine. Fees range from $4.95 per person to $70 per person. The latter is for the Chef’s Table at the Concierge Lounge, where dinners are hosted by the head chef and sommelier and include wine pairings for a maximum of 14 passengers per evening.

    The second priciest alternative dining venue is 150 Central Park, at $35 per person.

    Here’s a breakdown of Oasis of the Seas’ restaurants by neighborhood. Some of the charges were still being adjusted at press time. I’ve included pricing where Royal Caribbean executives could confirm fees as of the time of writing. All prices are subject to change.

    Central Park
    • Chops Grille, featuring fine steaks, with a $25 surcharge.
    • Giovanni’s Table, featuring Italian. $10 for lunch, $15 for dinner.
    • 150 Central Park, featuring tasting menus, and dinners paired with wines. $35 per person.
    • Vintages, a wine bar with a tapas menu that includes a selection of free and a la carte items.
    • Park Cafe, serving soups, salads, sandwiches and wraps. Specialty is the steak sandwich.

    Oasis of the Seas - The BoardwalkThe Boardwalk
    • Johnny Rockets, featuring burgers, shakes and more. Additional charge.
    • Seafood Shack, featuring items such as fried seafood, ribs and more. Additional charge.
    • Boardwalk Bar, serving salads and sandwiches.
    • Boardwalk Donut Shop, offering donuts and coffee.
    • Ice Cream Parlour, “shipmade” ice cream. Additional charge.

    Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center
    • Vitality Cafe, serving salads, wraps, fruits, protein shakes, juices, smoothies, specialty teas, energy drinks and even champagne. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Additional charge.

    Pool and Sports Zone
    • Solarium Bistro, a South Beach-like setting featuring a low-calorie items for breakfast, lunch and dinner. $20 per person for dinner.
    • The Wipeout Cafe, with grill offerings — burgers, dogs and fries. Situated in the pool area.

    Royal Promenade
    • Sorrento’s, with made-to-order pizza.
    • Cafe Promenade, serving coffee as well as pastries and snacks.
    • Mondo Coffee Bar, serving speciality coffees and late-night snacks.
    • Cupcake Cupboard, situated in a 1940s-style kitchen offering cupcake classes. Additional charge.

    Dining Elsewhere
    • The Opus Dining Room, a three-level dining room with a 1920′s French Art Deco atmosphere. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Passengers can choose a main or late seatings on decks three and four — or My Time dining, which allows for greater flexibility as to when passengers may show up, on deck five.
    • The Windjammer Marketplace, lido-style buffet.
    • Izumi, featuring Asian cuisine, such as sushi. New is something called hot rock cooking, where you cook it yourself on — what else? — hot rocks. Additional charge.
    • Concierge Lounge, gourmet dining for suite guests. Open breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    And, of course, room service, with a $3.95 surcharge for items ordered between midnight and 5 a.m.

    Junior Suite on Oasis of the Seas

    Fast Facts & Interesting Tidbits: Oasis of the Seas

    • Oasis of the Seas uses more than 3,000 miles of electrical wiring. Think about that. The wiring could stretch across America – coast to coast!

    • Central Park will feature more than 12,000 plants – and full-time horticulturists who will give guided tours.

    • AquaTheater Pool is nearly 18 feet deep and is the largest pool afloat.

    • The Rising Tide elevator takes about six minutes to transit from the Royal Promenade (deck five) to Central Park (deck eight) — or vice versa.

    • Oasis of the Seas carries 5,400 passengers double occupancy and 6,296 when all berths are filled – plus, more than 2,000 staff.

    • Oasis of the Seas is 1,187 feet long, 208 feet wide, and its 18 decks rise 213 feet above the waterline.

    • Loft Suite on the Oasis of the Seas
    • Oasis features the first Carousel at sea as well as the first Coach boutique (think fine leather goods).

    • There are 24 restaurants and 37 bars on board.

    • Oasis of the Seas’ Royal Promenade is twice as wide as those on the Freedom- and Voyager-class vessels.

    • Passengers can reserve shows before boarding — or once on board, on their stateroom televisions or the Box Office at the Royal Promenade.

    • To control traffic flow, restaurants use technology that measures the head count, so that passengers can see which restaurants are busy from their stateroom televisions and on displays throughout the ship.

    • Electronic mustering means that you’re no longer required to don your life jacket for the safety drill, and there’s no name calling to check off passenger participation. Life jackets, in fact, are stored at the muster stations, and not in the staterooms.

    • Photo Finder integrates your check-in photo with photos taken on board, so that there is no more scanning the picture walls to find your photo. Kiosks will offer the ability to swipe your stateroom card and see all of the photos taken of you on a voyage.

    Oasis Of The Seas: Battle For The Biggest

    The standard measure of a cruise ship, “gross ton,” dates back to the 14th century, when a tun was a large wine cask with a capacity of 252 old wine gallons. Today, a gross ton is equal to 100 cubic feet of enclosed space, thus ships measure, not weigh, gross tons.

    How big will ships be a decade from now? No telling. But shipyards and designers say there is virtually no limit to how large they can build. “We’re certainly not ruling out larger ships,” says Royal Caribbean President Adam Goldstein. “Look at history of cruising. Oasis represents our best thinking.”

    Indeed. The trend over the past two decades, as shown in the chart below, is toward progressively larger ships.

    Reign as
    World’s Largest
    Cruise Ship Gross Tons Double Occupancy Total Occupancy Space Ratio
    1969-1988 Queen Elizabeth 2 70,000 1,762 1,906 40
    1988-1990 Sovereign of the Seas 73,000 2,276 2,852 32
    1990-1995 Norway 76,000 2,026 2,370 38
    1995-1996 Sun Princess 77,000 1,990 2,250 39
    1996-1998 Carnival Destiny 101,000 2,642 3,400 38
    1998-1999 Grand Princess 109,000 2,590 3,100 42
    1999-2004 Voyager Class 142,000 3,114 3,838 45
    2004-2006 Queen Mary 2 151,000 2,592 3,090 58
    2006-2009 Freedom Class 154,000 3,600 4,370 43
    2009- Oasis of the Seas 222,000 5,400 6,400 41

    Nautical Nomenclature: Space Ratio
    A measure of cubic space per passenger, space ratio is derived by dividing gross tons by the number of passengers, double occupancy. (Total occupancy counts all occupied berths in a cabin, including third and fourth beds).

    The greater the space ratio, in theory, the less crowded the ship feels. Queen Mary 2 boasts the largest space ratio of the ships cited in the chart above while Sovereign of the Seas has the lowest. Typically, small luxury ships have greater space ratios than large ships. Silversea Cruises’ 388-passenger Silver Shadow, for example, measures a mere 28,258 gross tons but features a space ratio of 73.

    Matters Of Size
    The only limit to how large ships can be is port capacity. With no fewer than 20 ships that are too large to squeeze through the Panama Canal (“post-Panamax”) in service and more under construction, port destinations will continue to feel the strain to handle ever-larger ships. In addition to being able to accommodate larger ships, destinations and attractions must also be able to handle the disgorging of several thousand people from a single vessel. Oasis of the Seas will carry 6,200 passengers when fully loaded. Thus, the challenge for designers is to build cruise ships that are destinations in their own right — ships so full of activities that passengers don’t care where they go — or whether they disembark in ports.

    Oasis of the Seas - The World's Largest Cruise ShipShip Information
    Oasis of the Seas belongs to Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class of cruise ships. A masterpiece of naval engineering, the Oasis of the Seas is truly extraordinary. The design builds around a concept of 7 neighborhoods, each with its own neighborhood personality and charm. The ship has all the features found on Freedom class ships, such as the Royal Promenade, the FlowRider® surf park, and more.

    But there is much more. The Oasis of the Seas is the first ship to not only have balcony cabins facing the ocean, but also balcony cabins that face the inner courtyards where all the activity is. It is the first cruise ship to have a park. The first cruise ship to have a diving pool, which comes complete with an evening show of diving and synchronized swimming. The first cruise ship with a zip-line The first cruise ship with a carousel. And so on.

    Ship Facts
    Year Built 2009 ♦ Ship's Class: Oasis Class ♦ Country of Registry Bahamas ♦ Tonnage 220,000 ♦ Length 1181 ft - 364 m ♦ Cruising Speed 22 knots ♦ Passenger Capacity (double occupancy) 5,400 ♦ Passenger Capacity (incl. upper beds) 6,300 ♦ Passenger Decks 16 ♦ Officers and Crew 2,165 ♦ Officer's Nationality International ♦ Crew and Hotel Staff Nationality International

    Total 2,706 ♦ Suites with Balcony 166 ♦ Oceanview with Balcony 1,315 ♦ Oceanview without Balcony 176 ♦ Inside with Royal Promenade view 553 ♦ Inside 496 ♦ Accessible Cabins (all categories) 46 ♦ Royal Caribbean's cabins are among the best one can find, with spacious, thoughtful and comfortable design. Amenties in all cabins include luxury bedding, refrigerator, extensive satellite TV programming, and complimentary room service.

    Champagne Bar on Oasis of the SeasCabin Amenities
    TV with music channels ♦ In-Cabin Movies ♦ In-Cabin Internet Access ♦ Private Safe ♦ Minibar ♦ Hair Dryer

    The Oasis of the Seas has a total of 24 different dining options, from the finest cuisine to cupcakes. Traditional 1st and 2nd Sitting Assigned Table Seating ♦ Optional Open Seating - "My Time Dining" allows you to be seated any time the dining room is open ♦ Formal Nights ♦ Specialty Restaurants: Chops Grille, 150 Central Park, Giovanni's Table, Izumi Asian Cuisine, Solarium Bistro ♦ Johnny Rockets ♦ Specialty Coffee Bar ♦ 24 Hour Room Service Available

    Public Rooms
    Bars and Lounges ♦ Library ♦ Internet Center

    Showlounge ♦ Casino ♦ Disco/Nightclub ♦ Card Room/Game Room ♦ Video Games Arcade

    Oasis of the Seas has a park! - Central Park.Sports and Activities
    Outdoor Pools ♦ Sports Court ♦ Fitness Center ♦ Rock Climbing ♦ Jogging Track ♦ Promenade Deck wraps around the ship ♦ Ice Skating (yes, ice skating!) ♦ Zip Line ♦ Miniature Golf

    Spa and Wellness
    Full Service Spa ♦ MedSpa Services ♦ Sauna or Steam Room ♦ Beauty Salon ♦ Yoga ♦ Pilates ♦ Fitness Assessment ♦ Health and Nutrition Evaluation

    Children and Teens
    Family Cabins ♦ Organized Age Specific Activities ♦ Children's Pool ♦ Outdoor Children's Play Area ♦ Youth Staff ♦ Dedicated Teen Center ♦ Teen Programs ♦ Teen Staff ♦ Group Babysitting Services

    Other Facilities and Services
    Duty Free Shops and Boutiques ♦ Dry Cleaning and Laundry Service ♦ Business Center Services ♦ Medical Center