Oasis of the Seas - 16th Oct 10 Ship Review
John Mair – 16-10-2013 – Royal Caribbean – Oasis of the Seas
When we drove near the ship, the first thing we could see was the AFT, with the open area where you could see the inside balconies and part of the Aqua Theater.
I was immediately wowed, and bearing in mind that our three friends were all first time cruisers, you could imagine the sense of excitement in the car. Of course, my wife Karen’s first comment about the ship was, ‘It doesnae look that big! I thought it would have been bigger than that!’- it really does take a lot to exceed her expectations, but once she boarded she sure changed her mind!
The purpose built embarkation building at Port Everglades was amazing, and it lived up to its boast that it could check you in and have you boarded within 15 minutes - and bearing in mind there were 5701 passengers sailing on this cruise, that is quite some feat!
Then it was time to board the ship! Where do I start to describe this amazing feat of engineering?
Well, let’s try and start from the bottom and make our way up to the top!
Deck 3 is where the innovations start with the Studio B Ice Rink, and following the lead from the Voyager and Freedom Class, Royal Caribbean Ships being the only ships at sea that can offer this. Again wonderful productions were offered and revered by everyone.
As we go up a deck to 4, to Entertainment Place, we have exciting venues such as the biggest Casino I have ever seen at sea, Blaze, the nightclub for us young ones to dance away to the wee sma’ hours, Jazz on 4, which as the name suggests offers the very best of Jazz Music, and then we have, Comedy Live, this is Royal Caribbean’s new venture to bring ‘well known’ American comedians on board for a laugh a minute entertainment.
Deck 5 now, and the Royal Promenade, wider and more expansive than ever. In here you will find the usual features, such as Guest Relations, the English Globe and Atlas Pub (which you are allowed to smoke in and is very smelly), Champagne Bar and a host of other familiar venues. New venues such as the On Air Sports Bar, which has an abundance of Plasma Screens with major Sporting Viewings on, and at night it turns into a Karaoke Mecca for all those budding singers!
Also in Deck 5 is the amazing Rising Tide Bar. This breathtaking innovation is a bar that slowly rises from Deck 5, up 3 Decks to 8 and into Central Park, which is simply mind-boggling in itself that it is in a ship in the first place, but I will get to this a little bit later on after I take you to ANOTHER amazing part of the ship, which is the Boardwalk. I am mindful that I have used the word, ‘amazing’ quite a lot in this account of the ship, but believe me, there is no other expletive to describe this simply unbelievable piece of engineering. Deck 6 Aft, and again, the Boardwalk is another ‘WOW’ in this tour of the Oasis of the Seas. This area represents a traditional olde style seaside style boardwalk, complete with a Seafood Shack, Ice Cream Parlour, Johnny Rockets Burger Bar, Sweetie and Candy Floss shop and Smile photo shop where you can dress up in hundreds of different costumes and the photo is finished in the old fashioned Sepia or Black and White formats. Really good fun! There is also another first at sea, Carousel Ride, to which I do admit to having a shot of, much to the embarrassment of my companions.
Also on this Deck we have Royal Caribbean’s Signature Rock Climbing Walls, but of course, on the Oasis there are two and are considerably higher than any of the other ship classes in the fleet. But if you tilt your head skywards there is another ‘At Sea’ first - the Zip Line. From Deck 15 you can fly diagonally over the Boardwalk with nothing below you except fresh air. Totally unbelievable!
You think that is all that there is to be said about the Boardwalk? Then think again, because I haven’t got to the Showcase Feature, (well on this deck anyway), the Aqua Theater.
The 700-seat Aqua Theater is found on deck 6, at the aft end of the ship. The Aqua Theater has both a daytime water show called "Splish Splash", and a night time show called "Oasis of Dreams". Its 17-foot, 9-inch deep pool. Three pool lifts, lighting, and underwater cameras enhance the shows. The divers use 3 different locations--the 3 meter springboards and two spots on the huge towers--one at 10 meters and the other at 18 meters. Guests can watch the show live and on its two huge video screens. This is one of the best and awe-inspiring performances that I have ever seen at sea, and anywhere else for that matter!
In addition to the water shows, the Aqua Theater has dancing fountains with four types of nozzles, including one nicknamed "gargoyle" that shoots high enough to hit the Crown & Anchor RCI logo over the pool. It also hosts the famous ‘Belly Flop’ Competition, and if you can imagine in excess of 700 people watching ordinary cruisers fight for the coveted title, it really is a hilarious sight to behold! Moving on now to Deck 8 any yet another amazing Royal Caribbean and Cruise Line first - Central Park. The Central Park neighbourhood is a beautiful outdoor park area. Flanked on both sides by 324 inward-facing balcony staterooms overlooking the park, shady Central Park features winding pathways, flower gardens, quiet seating, and tropical trees.
On our cruise, as we were leaving Haiti, a massive thunderstorm of biblical proportions was occurring, and it was just surreal that we were in our balcony, overlooking the Inside the ship, with rain pouring down onto a tropical park, three decks down.
In addition to the excitement of the park, it was also a place to relax and dine, with speciality restaurants such as Chops Grille, 150 Central Park and Giovanni’s Table. But also there are bars to just kick back and relax like the Trellis Bar, Park Cafe and Vintages. And if you are in a buying mood, the Central Park is also the location of the Parkside Gallery, full of fine arts, and also for the discerning lady, the famous COACH Brand has a shop full of the latest fashions.
The next major feature of Oasis of the Seas is the Pool Areas of Deck 15, which boasts four different Poolside and relaxing experiences.
Firstly we have the Main Pool, which is pretty much a standard looking area, and to what you would recognise on any RCCL ship.
Then we have the Beach Pool, which is quirky in the way that one side of the pool elevates up from the pool edge to the deckchair area, effectively submerging the first two rows chair legs in water for the ‘beach effect’, and it did look pretty cool.
The third pool area was the, ‘Sports Pool’. Here was where entertainment such as water volleyball, basketball etc, and water aerobics were held for the health freaks, and was enjoyed by many on our cruise. Again another very clever option.
Lastly, the H2O Zone, where with our three year old we spent the most time. He absolutely loved playing here, and we were here at least a couple of hours every day where he had a number of water features to play with, including a large whirlpool where water jets propelled the occupants around for hours on end, and also water guns to where I was terrorised frequently with him, and other children spraying me with water. Of course I had to join in the fun and retaliate, and I didn’t get escorted from the premises so that was a bonus!
But in addition to all that at the Aft of the ship, we had not 1 but 2 Flowriders! This was the first time I had been on a ship with such apparatus and it was great fun. Being a novice at both surfing and boogie boarding I was regularly unceremoniously thrown off the boards into the surf, but it really was the best fun I have ever had on a cruise ship!