Boardwalk

What you need to know about neighborhood balcony staterooms on Royal Caribbean's Oasis class ships

In:
19Oct2016

Among the many impressive features on Royal Caribbean's Oasis class ships, are two neighborhoods that offer a lot to see and do, as well as incredible staterooms that look into these areas.

Central Park balcony and Boardwalk balcony staterooms are a compelling choice for anyone looking at stateroom choices on any Oasis class ship, and here is the important information to consider when booking these kinds of rooms.

What is a Central Park or Boardwalk balcony room?

These neighborhood facing balconies are a balcony category stateroom that offer a balcony that looks towards either Central Park or Boardwalk, instead of a balcony that overlooks the ocean.

The idea was a first in the cruise industry because prior to Oasis of the Seas, balconies had never been internally facing. 

The neighborhood balconies offer the same fresh air and light that ocean view balconies do, but with the opportunity to enjoy the ambiance of the Boardwalk or Central Park neighborhoods.  In addition, neighborhood view balcony staterooms tend to be slightly cheaper than ocean view balconies.

The exact size of a neighborhood view stateroom with balcony is 182 square feet with a 52 square foot balcony. Both types of rooms include twin beds that convert to a queen, a desk, sitting area (some with sofa bed), TV and minibar and a balcony with two chairs and small table.

Central Park balcony rooms are on Decks 10 through 14, and Boardwalk balcony rooms are on Decks 8 through 14.

Why might you not want to book a Central Park or Boardwalk balcony stateroom?

Other than what you can see from your balcony, the room experience between a neighborhood balcony and an ocean view balcony are pretty much the same. For some folks, a balcony without an ocean view is not desirable.

A common concern that we hear about is noise from the neighborhood impacting the guest experience. In our experiences, the ambient noise from Central Park or Boardwalk is negligible and does not bleed into the stateroom itself. Of course, if you desire the sound of the ocean with your balcony, that will be missing here. It is worth noting that Boardwalk balcony rooms can have more noise when there are shows occurring in the AquaTheater, but your stateroom location and noise tolerance will vary.

It is also worth noting in terms of privacy, there are neighborhood balcony rooms on the opposite side of the ship that will face your balcony.

What do neighborhood balcony rooms offer that ocean view rooms do not?

There are some inherent advantages to booking a neighborhood balcony room over an ocean view balcony room.  First and foremost, the price for neighborhood balcony rooms is often less expensive than ocean view balcony rooms.

In addition, Royal Caribbean is offering complimentary perks for neighborhood balcony staterooms on Oasis class ships. Beginning in November 2016, guests staying in Boardwalk or Central Park view balcony staterooms will be able to enjoy complimentary amenities such as free food, drinks and more.

Moreover, neighborhood balcony rooms allow guests staying in them to enjoy some great people watching opportunities and enjoy the general ambiance of the neighborhoods you can view.  Boardwalk view balcony rooms also have an added benefit of some offering full or partial views of the AquaTheater performances.

Differences between Central Park and Boardwalk rooms

As the name implies, the primary and most noticeable difference between Central Park and Balcony rooms, are the view.

Central Park view balcony rooms offer a view of the Central Park neighborhood below.  Central Park is 

Central Park is one of seven distinct "neighborhoods" that help break up an Oasis class ship.  It is an immense area in the middle of the ship that offers a lush park for guests to enjoy with tropical plants, trees and walkways. Central Park features a lush garden in an area about as long as the Royal Promenade and twice as wide.  Central Park rooms tend to have a bit less noise from the neighborhood because there are no shows in this area (there is live music in the evenings), and there tends to be less guests hanging out in the area.

The Boardwalk neighborhood is reminiscent of the whimsical seaside resorts that dot the coast of England and the nostalgic boardwalks of yesteryear such as Coney Island. There is a carousel, restaurants and the AquaTheater stage. Unlike Central Park balcony rooms, there is a partial view of the ocean when facing aft, and some rooms even offer views of the AquaTheater (the more aft your room is, the better the chance). Because of the shows and the fact the Boardwalk tends to have higher foot traffic than Central Park, it can be a bit noisier than Central Park.  

Summary

In the end, Royal Caribbean's neighborhood balcony appeal will depend on how you cruise. Do you like quiet time watching the sea, or enjoy arriving into port? Do you find the Central Park or Boardwalk neighborhoods particularly intriguing? 

When you consider the usual less expensive cost for neighborhood balcony rooms and the new perks for neighborhood balcony rooms, it is a particularly compelling option. In addition, many Boardwalk balcony rooms still offer a view of the ocean when looking to the aft of the ship.

While neighborhood balcony staterooms do not offer a full view of the ocean, having a balcony, regardless of view, is still what makes a great cruise experience.

Royal Caribbean's Boardwalk: Everything you need to know

In:
Category: 
26Aug2016

One of the most endearing neighborhoods found on Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class cruise ships is the Boardwalk, which is reminiscent of the whimsical seaside resorts. Dedicated to family, fun and nostalgia, the Boardwalk neighborhood was inspired by both the seaside piers that dot the coast of England and the nostalgic boardwalks of yesteryear such as Coney Island.

The Boardwalk is one of seven seven distinct "neighborhoods" that help break up an Oasis class ship.  Located at the aft of the ship, the Boardwalk is a rather large area on the ship that offers lots of entertainment throughout the day and evening.

The area is well known for the dining and entertainment options, as well as view of the ocean.  Being at the rear of the ship, guests can catch a glimpse of the ocean, along with a show or something to eat. Boardwalk is an area for the entire family to enjoy together, whether young or just young at heart. The elements of the Boardwalk are a dynamic way to engage families in classic fun with a colorful original carousel as well as casual eateries, retail outlets and carnival games. 

There is plenty to see and do in the Boardwalk and here is a look at what you can look forward to on your next cruise.

Dining

Royal Caribbean offers some terrific dining options in the Boardwalk, including restaurants and bars.

These include

The various restaurants in the Boardwalk are inviting choices for lunch or dinner.  Johnny Rockets is open for breakfast (with no charge for breakfast), and as you stroll the Boardwalk, most of the options are perfect for dropping in for a bite to eat.  The Boardwalk features some of the best dining choices aboard any Royal Caribbean ship.

Staterooms

There are a number of staterooms that offer views of the Boardwalk neighborhood on Oasis-class ships, a feature that is unique to this class of cruise ship. 

On Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class ships, guests can reserve three types of staterooms that offer a view of the Boardwalk.

Boardwalk View Stateroom with Balcony

Balcony Boardwalk staterooms offer a sitting area (some with sofa bed), minibar and private balcony overlooking the amusements and exciting entertainment down on the Boardwalk.

Boardwalk balcony staterooms are 182 square feet in size, with a 52 square foot private balcony (on Oasis of the Seas, the balcony is 47 square feet).

These rooms are a very popular and attractively priced option. Depending on your stateroom location, there is the possibility of seeing the ocean and/or AquaTheater from the balcony.

Boardwalk View Stateroom

Similar to the Boardwalk View with Balcony rooms, the Boardwalk View rooms are like oceanview staterooms, but with a porthole instead of a balcony that overlooks the Boardwalk.  These rooms offer convenient access to the Boardwalk neighborhood.

The rooms are 187 square feet on Oasis of the Seas and 191 square feet on Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas in size. The rooms feature two twin beds that convert to Royal King, boardwalk view, sitting area, and a private bathroom.

Boardwalk View rooms will cost less than their balcony cousins, but still offer a way to see all the happenings on the Boardwalk.

AquaTheater Suite

One of the most luxurious stateroom options on Oasis-class ships are the AquaTheater suites, which offer the perfect vantage point for entertainment in the AquaTheater.  They also are immaculately furnished and feature private wrap-around balconies and more.

The appeal of these staterooms are the top-of-the-line experience, along with the fantastic views.  It goes without saying that a suite experience is the ultimate way to splurge and enjoy oneself on a cruise, and these AquaTheater suites are tough to beat.

AquaTheater suites range in size, but expect a room around 650-823 square feet in size, with a private balcony that is around 600-803 square feet in size.  Yes, this is a big room.

Entertainment

Like all areas of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Boardwalk offers many things to see and do as well.

The centerpiece of Boardwalk is a one-of-a-kind carousel. Handcrafted from poplar wood especially for Royal Caribbean, the full-sized, traditional carousel feature 18 figures suspended from stainless steel poles showcasing a time-honored menagerie of animals such as zebras, giraffes and lions, alongside a variety of hand-painted horses including a princess horse and a crowned frog prince.

The lead horse, customarily the fanciest horse of the carousel, is adorned with Royal Caribbean logos, while a single chariot serves as a stationary seat for two. The frame of the carousel has a red and golden yellow facade, turn-of-the-century artwork scenery panels, and LED lights that twinkle during the day and night.

Many shows will take place in the AquaTheater, which is a remarkable outdoor venue that features a backdrop of the ocean across the horizon. Guests will find a variety of shows during the day and a dazzling ocean front theater with water and light shows, and professional aquatic acrobatic and synchronized swimming performances by night. 

The AquaTheater is a distinct high diving, acrobatic performance space introduced by Royal Caribbean with the Oasis class of ships, that feature two 10-meter high platforms and the hydraulic-floored pool, the largest and deepest freshwater pool at sea, below will serve as podiums for high-diving, hair-raising aerobatics that AquaTheater audiences have come to love. With seating for 600 theatergoers, the AquaTheater features some of the very best entertainment found on any Royal Caribbean ship, and the diving shows are not to be missed. 

There are two rock climbing walls that flank the AquaTheater, with multiple climbing routes that offer the right kind of challenge for climbers of all levels.

The Boardwalk Arcade is another fun family option, where you can try your luck at ring toss, skeeball and other beloved carnival games.

Boardwalk Must-Dos

Of all the experiences available in the Boardwalk neighborhood, there are a few must-do activities we recommend all guests check out for themselves.

Take a ride on the Carousel

No cruise aboard an Oasis-class ship is complete without a ride (or three) on the Carousel.  Regardless of age, guests of all ages can enjoy the classic nature of this attraction.

Be sure to bring your camera, because there are bound to be terrific photo opportunities and ride during the evening and day to get completely different experiences.

AquaTheater shows

The evening AquaTheater diving and acrobatic shows are some of the best entertainment Royal Caribbean offers and should not be missed.  The shows are awe inspiring athletic and artistic masterpieces that features incredible diving performances.

There are three different shows featured in the evening across the Oasis-class ships.

  • Oasis of the Seas: Oasis of Dreams
  • Allure of the Seas: OceanAria
  • Harmony of the Seas: The Fine Line

Guacamole at Sabor

On Oasis-class ships, Sabor is priced a la carte, and that means it is easy to drop in for arguably the best food on their menu, the guacamole.  

The guacamole at Sabor is authentic and incredibly tasty, and has been widely regarded by other Royal Caribbean fans as superior to most other guacamole they may have tried.  Enjoy a serving of guacamole and chips either in the restaurant or take it to go to enjoy elsewhere. Regardless, you will find the perfect snack on your cruise.

The Boardwalk is available on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas.

What do you enjoy about the Boardwalk? Share your thoughts in our comments!

4 Royal Caribbean features inspired by something else

In:
13Jan2016

When Royal Caribbean designed its cruise ships, they built these ships from the keel up to offer guests amazing experiences, and in some cases, the inspiration for new features or areas was from something outside the company.

In business, once a concept or idea is proven to be succesful, it is not unusual for companies to start adopting it into their products to improve their offerings. With Royal Caribbean, they are not afraid to branch out and try new ideas that have the potential to attract new customers.

Today, we look at a few different aspects of the Royal Caribbean cruise experience that were borrowed, adopted or inspired by something outside the company.

Virtual balcony

One of the most impressive innovations that Royal Caribbean has rolled out in the last few years are its virtual balcony staterooms, where inside staterooms offer real-time high definition views of the ocean.  It is essentially a balcony experience for an inside stateroom price.

The idea to display live outdoor views in inside rooms was first done by Disney Cruise Line with their virtual portholes when they debuted on the Disney Dream in 2011.

Photo by atlassb

Royal Caribbean took that concept and made it significantly larger.  Virtual balconies are 80-inch LED screens recessed into the wall, complete with curtains and faux balcony imagery.

Royal Caribbean chairman and CEO Richard Fain mentioned Royal Caribbean saw what Disney was doing and decided to improve upon it. 

"We actually had looked at the idea, and we didn't think that the technology and the receptivity from the public was there," Fain says. Disney "proved that the public does value something like this."

North Star

One of the signature features on Royal Caribbean's Quantum class cruise ships is the 300-foot observational pod known as North Star, which gives guests 360-degress views of everything around.

The idea for North Star was inspired by the London Eye, but instead of placing it on a ferris wheel, there is just one pod and it is attached to a giant robotic arm.

Photo by Khalid M.

Royal Caribbean chairman and CEO Richard Fain said in an interview, "Quite frankly, the success of the London Eye had a lot to do with this."

The Grande

When Royal Caribbean designed its formal night, all the time restaurant, The Grande, on Quantum of the Seas, it went back in time for inspiration.

The design for The Grande is evoked, "by the grandness and classic detailing of European ocean liners."

Photo by Retronaut

Essentially, The Grande is a throwback to the kind of dining rooms the golden age of ocean liners featured. It's when dining was not just a task, but a time-honored ritual.

Boardwalk

On Royal Caribbean's Oasis class ships, the Boardwalk neighborhood is always popular with guests because of the pleasing aesthetics, fun activities and great views of the sea.

The Boardwalk neighborhood was inspired by both the seaside piers that dot the coast of England and the nostalgic boardwalks of yesteryear such as Coney Island.

Photo by Martin Nicolaus

The focal point of the Boardwalk is the traditional, hand crafted carousel, which would be common on many boardwalks.  There is also hot dog stands, ice cream, and even a candy shop called, "Candy Beach" (get it?).

Photo of the Day: Allure of the Seas Boardwalk

In:
09Aug2011

Photo by Scarlet Marzuca