Oasis of the Seas

Best cruise ships ranked for getting away from it all

In:
13Jul2010

Cruise vacations can be great opportunities to see the world and do a lot of interesting and new things, but for some people, they may just simply want a break from the "daily grind" and look to get away from it all.  

Smarter Travel has ranked the best ships for getting away from it all and Royal Caribbean can be found in the list.  Chief among them, Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas is ranked as the "Best Ship to Get Lost In".

Why: The biggest ships are roomy enough to disappear into, with entertainment, sightseeing, sports, and activities to suit every sort of personality. Celebrity Cruises, Cunard, Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises, Princess, Carnival, and Costa all boast ships measuring more than 100,000 tons that carry thousands of passengers. But, of course, none beats the world's largest passenger vessel, with its capacity for 6,296 passengers and 2,394 crew, seven neighborhoods, 16 passenger decks, nearly two dozen restaurants and bars, plus shops, theatres, and a myriad of other public spaces. The ambience on Oasis of the Seas is cordially anonymous: As one Cruise Critic reviewer put it, it's "simply too vast to inspire connections." You can be introduced to someone early on and never cross paths again—and that really is a plus for the loner. Sister ship Allure of the Seas, whose maiden sailing is December 1, 2010, promises more of the same.
 
Quiet Escapes: Leafy Central Park is the standout among the Oasis-class ships' many restful nooks. Pop in for tapas in the afternoon at Vintages, a mood-lit wine bar with a floor-to-ceiling glass wall looking out onto the park. Oasis' Promenade Deck is where you'll exercise away the tapas; it's actually a .46-mile jogging track with an ocean view and is practically deserted come early evening. What could be more serene?
 
Best Rest: Spacious suites, preferably with balconies, give the feel of a retreat and, thus, are a better choice for solitary cruising than windowless, cheerless inside cabins that force you out into the ship's hustle and bustle. Choose a sea-facing balcony cabin for fresh air without fighting over deck chairs, or a balcony suite facing the AquaTheater, where you have a V.I.P. view of the show without ever taking an audience seat. If you'd like to splurge, book one of the enormous Loft Suites—with two floors, private living and dining areas, and gigantic balconies, you may never need to leave.
 
Dining a Deux: The loner's nemesis is traditional assigned dining, which forces interaction with strangers who might, if you are so unlucky, chit-chat nonstop for an entire cruise. But, Royal Caribbean is one of scores of cruise lines forsaking tradition: Its "My Time Dining" offers a choice of open or assigned seating in the main dining room; dine at off-peak hours to enjoy a table for two. Or, take advantage of the many bistro-style alternative eateries, where tables for two are easier to come by. You can pre-book reservations over the Internet, or just show up hoping for a table. Best for intimate meals are Chops Grille and 150 Central Park. Conversely, don't expect peace at Johnny Rockets and the Seafood Shack, both situated on the noisy, well-lit Boardwalk.
 
Beware! Due to their size, Oasis-class ships are sticking to the most popular (read: congested) mega-ports in the Caribbean, such as Nassau, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas. For tips on avoiding the crowds in port, read our sister site Cruise Critic's article, It's Tuesday in St. Thomas: Gridlock Alert?

Oasis of the Seas: One of 15 man-made wonders

In:
13Jul2010

The Spanish website El Nuevo Dia compiled a list of the top 15 man-made wonders of the world, which include engineering feats such as The Channel Tunnel between England and France, the Three Gorges Dam hydroelectric plant in China and the Hoover Dam.  Among the list, coming in at number 14 is Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas made its debut in 2009 as the largest cruise ship in the world. It is almost five times the gross tonnage of the Titanic and 1 1 / 2 times the U.S. Capitol building, has 16 decks and up to 6,296 guests. The cruise ship offers a week in the east and west of the Caribbean. Cruises depart from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Looks as though Oasis is in good company with some of the other amazing technical achievements man has accomplished.  No word on if they included those who wore shorts to the main dining room on Oasis while voting occurred (just joking).

Oasis of the Seas continues to enjoy premium pricing

In:
12Jul2010

Oasis of the Seas, the celebrated largest ship in the world and now seven months old, is still generating enough demand to maintain it's premium prices over other ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet, according to a report by Majestic Research.  In the report, cabins on Oasis of the Seas are selling for 41% more than the rest of the Royal Caribbean fleet during the current quarter.  Even interior cabins, the cheapest option, sell for typically 69% more.

Majestic Research's Matthew Jacob had this to say about the future outlook for Oasis of the Seas, "We expect the ship will continue to generate strong premiums throughout most of 2010, although premiums appear to be leveling off sequentially".

When Oasis of the Seas debuted in 2009, an interior cabin cost 142% more than a cabin on Royal Caribbean's other ships.  Majestic Research reports that the premium dropped to 112% in the first quarter of 2010 and then to 74% in the second quarter of the year.

This trend should continue until December 2010 when Allure of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas' sister ship, debuts.

So this sounds like great news for Royal Caribbean, right?  Well, the bad news is Majestic Research says the higher prices on Oasis come at the cost of cannibalizing the premium for cabins found on the rest of Royal Caribbean's fleet.  

Jacob says Freedom class ships have seen their premium for interior cabins versus the rest of the Royal Caribbean fleet shrink to 4% during the current quarter from 27% during the same quarter last year (the last full quarter prior to the launch of Oasis). Celebrity's Solstice class ships have seen their premiums decline to 22% during the current quarter from 68% during the same quarter a year ago, he says.

Video of the Day: Royal Caribbean's Kid's Program

In:
07Jul2010

View from Oasis of the Seas bridge

In:
06Jul2010

Wired Magazine is featuring a series of photos of a photo gallery of awesome cockpits and they have featured Oasis of the Seas as one of them.  

Situated on the center line of the ship, the captain’s station has two trackball-controlled 27-inch LCDs that are used to display the electronic chart and the ship information system, which aggregates mission-critical data like radar, GPS, and sonar. Nineteen additional screens are positioned less than 10 feet away, so the captain can quickly access, say, the machinery automation system, which tracks everything from the 5.5-megawatt bow thrusters to the fore and aft ballast tanks.

Photo of the Day: Oasis of the Seas in Labadee

In:
06Jul2010

Photo by BenjaminCole

Five Ways Royal Caribbean Uses Emerging Technology

In:
06Jul2010

With huge new ships like Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, new technology has been the solution for Royal Caribbean to make the experience onboard for guests as easy as possible.  Royal Caribbean CIO Bill Martin spoke with InformationWeek magazine about five innovations Royal Caribbean has used to make the experience better for guests.

  1. Facial Recognition Software
    When you board the ship for the first time, a high resolution photo is taken of you and this photo is used for security as well as for merchandise systems such as the point of sale system.  Facial recognition software allows computers to categorize photos taken all over the ship by Royal Caribbean photographers for easy pick up later.
  2. Shape Recognition Cameras
    At each of the 24 restaurants on the ship, shape-recognition cameras count the number of people seated and if any are waiting.  Royal Caribbean works to ensure there is no waiting at its restaurants.
  3. Interactive Media
    Remember the shape recognition cameras from the previous entry?  Well that data on restaurant crowds gets sent in real-time, in the form of red-yellow-green signals, to 300 digital signs around the ship, so that people can self-select the least-crowded restaurants.
  4. Wireless Everywhere
    There's Wi-Fi internet coverage onboard, along with wireless wristband for children to allow parents to track their kids movements on an iPhone app.  The specially equipped iPhones are for rent during cruises.
  5. Real-Time Analysis
    Royal Caribbean is using the data it receives during the cruise to help make decisions "on the fly" and bring attention to problems as they occur, not after.

Royal Caribbean has more real-time data than ever before because every point of sale terminal and booking system is networked, so analysts can know what’s selling well, what services are being under-used, plus the demographics of who’s on board. Analysts onshore have started crunching that data while the cruise is sailing. Combine that with the interactive media on the ships, and Royal Caribbean has a chance to put customized offers in front of people, say for a particular type of spa treatment that has more openings than usual, to a person most likely to want such a treatment, delivered direct to their interactive TV.

Travel Weekly reviews Oasis of the Seas

In:
01Jul2010

A river cruise expert at Travel Weekly, Michelle Baran, wrote a review of her experience on Oasis of the Seas.  She had heard a lot about the newest Royal Caribbean ship and wanted to see what it was all about.

The Oasis of the Seas is a destination, it is a spectacle, it is a vacation unto itself -- but a very specific type of vacation. It's a floating, mostly inclusive (with plenty of opportunities to spend additional cash), family-friendly resort, with something for a lot of different people: people who enjoy food, active people, people who want to relax, people who want to be entertained.

Overall, Baran seemed to be impressed with the ship and a fan.  Her passion are river cruises and she makes a number of comparisons between the two varieties of cruises.  It's a good quick read about the different amenities offered on the ship, especially interesting to get a different perspective on the ship.

Matt's Pre-Trip Report on Oasis of the Seas

In:
01Jul2010

Later this month, I will embark upon a 7 night cruise aboard Oasis of the Seas and wanted to write a pre-trip report before the final trip report comes down.

Who

Me and my 4 month pregnant wife
My parents
My sisters (older than 18)

Earlier this year, my parents voiced their desire to go on a family cruise.  We have been veteran cruisers of the Caribbean, so we wanted to take a different itinerary than normal.  Originally, we were looking for a cruise to Alaska but my sisters, always looking to worship the sun gods, preferred an itinerary that was a little warmer.  The next idea was to cruise on Mariner of the Seas out of Los Angeles and do a Mexican Riviera cruise.  My wife and I planned that we would fly out a few days early and spend some time at Disneyland and all would be perfect.  

Well, then my father decided he wanted to cruise on something bigger than Mariner (seriously) and we mentioned that it doesn't get much bigger than Oasis of the Seas.  After looking into it, we all agreed on taking Oasis of the Seas, departing Fort Lauderdale on July 24, 2010.  

Cabins

We have booked 3 cabins for this cruise.  My wife and I have a cabin that overlooks Central Park (as do my sisters), while my parents have a veranda balcony over the ocean.  My wife and I are usually fine with inside cabins (we'd rather spend the money elsewhere) but the Central Park cabin gives us a balcony to sit on and people watch, which will be fun.  

Itinerary

Our cruise will stop at 3 islands, Labadee, Costa Maya and Cozumel.

Labadee: Our plan will be a beach day here.  Everyone has been to Labadee before and we will find a spot on the beach somewhere.  Currently, Barefoot beach seems like a good choice and so we're going to go there.  I'm particularly happy that the ship can now dock at Labadee, as I've always found tenders to be incredibly slow and inefficient.

Costa Maya: Plans for this stop are still very much up in the air.  My sisters will likely opt for the beach but my dad really wants to check out the Mayan ruins.  His plan is to do this at Cozumel but I've heard good things about the Mayan Ruins at Costa Maya and so I'd like to take a tour here instead since I'm not keen on spending all day at the beach.  One excursion to the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins sounds pretty interesting so we will need to discuss this stop some more.

Cozumel: I love Cozumel and my wife and I could spend days here.  Our plan is to spend the morning in the city of Cozumel doing shopping and having lunch.  Last time we were here, we went to Pancho's Backyard for lunch, which was good but it didn't feel very authentic. This time, I'm looking for some real Mexican food for lunch, so we will need to do some more research.  After lunch, we're going to take a taxi over to Paradise Beach to spend some time enjoying the beach there.  We had a great time last time at Paradise Beach and looking forward to it once more.  Not sure what the rest of my family is planning for Cozumel. I'm hoping to change my dad's plan for Mayan Ruins to Costa Maya (as previously mentioned) so we will see what they have in mind, but I kind of like the idea of spending this day with just my wife.

Ship Plans

Needless to say, Oasis of the Seas is one big ship.  Given that we are only making 3 stops, the emphasis of this cruise is spending time on the ship.  My wife is a show junky, and so she plans to go to every show on every evening.  Like a good husband, I will likely go to them as well.  The Broadway musical "Hairspray" is playing and I'm looking forward to seeing that (we have tickets for it already).  The rest of the shows don't do as much for me but we will see.

While my wife loves shows, I love the restaurants and I can't wait to check them all out.  We have a reservation already for Giovanni's Table already but I'm hoping to be able to stop at Izumi, the sushi restaurant.  I love sushi and could eat it every day so I really want to go here at least once.  The other restaurants are less intriguing for us, but we're going to leave it up in the air.  We are fans of the main dining room, so getting to know our servers and that whole experience is important to us.

Aside from that, our plans for the ship aren't laid out.  There's going to be a lot of exploring and a lot of time spent at the pools.  We're about 3 weeks away from our cruise and I can't wait!

Oasis of the Seas skips Costa Maya due to Hurricane Alex

In:
30Jun2010

Just a quick note that Oasis of the Seas has skipped the port of Costa Maya due to high winds and waves from Hurricane Alex.  Cruisers aboard Oasis of the Seas mentioned the change in itinerary on Cruise Critic. The ship's captain informed guests that the ship will not be stopping at Costa Maya as previously planned and the ship will instead have a sea day.

Pages