Oasis of the Seas

Prices for Royal Caribbean cruises fall

In:
10Sep2010

Royal Caribbean President and Chief Executive  Adam Goldstein said prices for their voyages have fallen over the past year.  Moreover, Goldstein added that that those on sailings aboard Allure of the Seas would find cheaper rates than those for last year’s prices on her sister ship, Oasis of the Seas.

Goldstein avoided referring to reports of fares for Oasis of the Seas costing less than $1,000, he did reveal that the debut of Allure of the Seas has doubled capacity and therefore, is leading to more space and it's not unusual to see prices drop a bit for them.

Obviously this is great news for consumers who may want to try out the latest and greatest ships Royal Caribbean has to offer, as well as potentially lure new cruisers to give it a try.

Meanwhile Mr Goldstein revealed that “on some cruises I think there are more customers from the UK than from the US”. He added that the UK market remained an increasingly growing sector for the cruise industry, signalling that UK cruisers look set to continue an enjoyment filled relationship with one of the world’s largest cruise operators.

Designer of Central Park on Oasis of the Seas wins award

In:
10Sep2010

Ambius, the group responsible for the plants decor in Central Park on Oasis of the seas, was "recognized for excellence in plantscaping sector" at the 18th annual PIA Interior Plantscape Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet at the CalScape Expo 2010 on September 2nd, 2010 at the San Diego Sheraton Hotel & Marina.

Amibus' Mark Hawry accepted four awards for his teams work on bringing the best of land to sea with the Central Park project for Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas ship.  Central Park showcases a revolutionary design that features a center of the ship that is open air and features lots of lush plant life.  

Central Park serves as a public area with pathways, seasonal flower gardens and canopy trees.  It provides cruisers with another and unique choice in outdoor space.  

Hawry accepted three Award of Excellence citations for Oasis of the Seas including oversight of the Exterior Garden, the installation of Central Park and the design and provisioning of the ships' silk replica and preserved foliage. Central Park on Oasis of the Seas also picked up the prestigious Judge's Award, which was awarded for the most outstanding overall project in 2010.

Florida Lottery features Royal Caribbean cruise as grand prize

In:
07Sep2010

If you like playing those scratch off lottery games and are a fan of Royal Caribbean, now you can combine your favorite two passions in one.  Starting today, the Florida Lottery will be selling a new scratch off game with a Royal Caribbean theme called "Cruise for Cash".

Tickets cost $5 and the game offers players the change to win up to $200,000 instantly and a second chance promotion on the Florida Lottery website has the possibility to win a 7-night Caribbean cruise vacation for two aboard Oasis of the Seas or Allure of the Seas. The new game is available at Florida Lottery retailers statewide.

If you win the cruise, you also will receive $1,000 in ship credit and premium accommodations for two at a deluxe hotel prior to departure. There will be a total of 112 cruise packages awarded with this game. Cruise winners will have the option of selecting from various Royal Caribbean International cruise vacations, subject to availability and the terms of the CRUISE FOR CASH game.

Oasis of the Seas makes Top 10 cruise ship list

In:
30Aug2010

Cruise1st, a cruise booking specialist, has compiled a list of what it believes are the top ten cruise ships and Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas has made the list.

  1. Celebrity Century
  2. Pacific Jewel
  3. MS Panorama
  4. Queen Mary 2
  5. MSC Fantasia
  6. Oasis of the Seas
  7. Celebrity Solstice
  8. Ruby Princess
  9. MV Orion
  10. MV True North

The world's largest cruise ship ever, costing over $1 billion, is divided into seven different neighborhoods. Onboard activities include a zip-line, carousel, rock-climbing walls, a 750-seat AquaTheatre amphitheatre hosting water ballet and dinner shows with the option of 25 different restaurants.

Hurricane Earl affecting Royal Caribbean ships

In:
30Aug2010

Hurricane Earl is starting to affect some Royal Caribbean ships due to weather in the regions that have scheduled port of call stops.

Enchantment of the Seas is skipping St. Thomas today and instead will stop in Samana, Dominican Republic.  Then on Tuesday, Enchanted of the Seas will stop at Labadee, Haiti. followed by sea days on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before she returns to Baltimore on Saturday as scheduled.

Oasis of the Seas had a schedule that called for stops in St. Thomas and St Maarten in the Eastern Caribbean but will instead change to a Western Caribbean itinerary and stop in Costa Maya on Wednesday and Cozumel on Thursday.

Upgrades coming to some Royal Caribbean ships

In:
18Aug2010

The very successful debut of the Oasis of the Seas also came with some new amenities and entertainment options that were never seen on the Royal Caribbean fleet and now Royal Caribbean is set to copy some of those new innovations to existing ships.

Starting in early 2011, passengers will soon enjoy new dining opportunities, entertainment, children’s programming and other enhancements on select Royal Caribbean ships already in service.  These vessels include Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas.

Liberty of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas will receive...

  • Broadway show (yet to be named and Liberty of the Seas only)
  • Royal Babies and Tots Nursery
  • Large 18.5-foot video screen overlooking family pool area
  • LCD wayfinder system
  • Cupcake Cupboard restaurant
  • Vintages lounge will be redone

Royal Caribbean announces updates to Crown & Anchor, Oasis of the Seas, restaurants and more

In:
16Aug2010

In a post from the Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein, a few updates were announced for policies all around Royal Cariibean

  • Complimentary Internet access for the purpose of allowing guests to enroll in the Crown and Anchor Society via iCafe while they are onboard so they can be eligible to book onboard and take advantage of the onboard booking discount.
  • On European cruises, those who wish to remain onboard longer on departure day may sign up in advance of the cruise for Late Departure Program. Sign up online under Shore and Land Excursions for the port of call where the cruise terminates.
  • Oasis of the Seas is testing a an Extended Stay program that allows the Oasis guests to store their luggage and enjoy a day in Hollywood, FL in and around the boardwalk. This opportunity encompasses shopping, dining, going to the beach, riding the trolley and/or relaxing at our hospitality center. This opportunity is also available as a shore excursion under the port of call, Ft. Lauderdale, for all guests sailing onboard Oasis of the Seas.
  • Royal Caribbean now accepts bookings at specialty restaurants for parties of 10 or fewer guests. Previously they only accepted bookings for parties of 6 or fewer. 

New Falmouth port in Jamaica to open by November

In:
16Aug2010

The new cruise port in Falmouth, Jamaica now has a tentative opening date of November 2 according to E Pihl & Son Project Manager Jes Olsen. Olsen says the first two ships to use the historic port will be arriving on November 2.

Despite the port welcoming in ships by then, construction work will not be complete by then yet and at that time, "it will be a construction site", Olsen said.  Visitors who do dock in November will be taking buses to nearby Ocho Rios and Montego Bay.

The goal is to have the port fully operational by March 13, 2011 when Oasis of the Seas will dock there.

Olsen would not say how much of a dent the overrun will put in the budget, but he noted that the longer the work takes, the more costly the project becomes.   According to Olsen, the delaying factors include soft soil at a spot where all the utilities are to be run, as well as coral which has had to be removed.

Royal Caribbean has a vested interest in the port opening, as The Port Authority of Jamaica is responsible for the port infrastructure, while Royal Caribbean committed $102 million to the land structures, such as the shops and restaurants.

In addition to Oasis of the Seas, other Royal Caribbean ships are scheduled to stop at the port.  Navigator of the Seas has a visit scheduled as well as Freedom of the Seas a bit later.

Guest blog entry: What’s New with Royal Caribbean?

In:
12Aug2010

Friend of the blog, Melissa DiCato of Possible Vacations has graciously taken some time to write this guest blog entry!  Today, she looks at what Royal Caribbean is doing to keep things new and fresh across their fleet of ships.  Take it away Melissa!

Royal Caribbean is doing all they can to ensure all of their clients’ needs are being well taken care of.  Oasis of the Seas has been such a huge success for Royal, they are starting to take the ideas that were only implemented on Oasis of the Seas and place them on the rest of their fleet.  Below you will find a breakdown of what you can soon find onboard Royal Caribbean Ships.

Liberty & Freedom of Seas

  • Broadway Shows
  • Nursery
  • Outdoor Screens
  • Cupcake Cupboard
  • Vintages
  • Way Finder (currently only on the Oasis of the Seas, this device is located next to all elevators to help clients find their way around the ship)

Fleetwide

  • Family Library
  • Royal Bedtime stories
  • Sitters @ Sea (Sitters will come to your stateroom and watch your children while you enjoy the night with your loved one)
  • Nintendo Wii

Family programming – Royal Babies & Royal Kids

  • Fisher-Price toy lending program
  • Crayola beginning workshops
  • Babies 2 Go! (pre-order service for parent to order baby food and diapers)
  • Stroll & Roll

Dinning

  • My time dinning
  • Exclusive food experiences
  • My family time dining (for family with children ages 3-17)
  • Expedited service
  • Adventure Ocean pick-up (youth counselors will come and pick up your children and take them to their kids clubs)
  • Leisure dinner for parents

Suite Enhancements (Grand Suites & Higher)

  • Distinct Seapass cards
  • Luggage Valet
  • Complimentary Dry Cleaning
  • Cocktail Reception in Captains Quarter
  • Reserved seating in shows
  • Upgraded suite amenities
  • Breakfast & Lunch in specialty restaurants

If you are looking to take a Royal Caribbean Cruise, these enhancements will be sure to delight any family at sea.  Every cruise ship will offer you something a little unique and different which is why people cruise time and time again.  Most families enjoy taking cruises because they can just sit back and relax while everything around them is taken care of, including their most precious cargo…their children.  Something to consider is taking a Royal Caribbean themed cruise such as Romance, Music, Cruise4Haiti amongst many others.

Thanks again to Melissa for her great blog entry.  You can find Melissa on Twitter as well as on her own blog, Possible Vacations: Friends sharing travel stories.

Restaurant Review: Giovanni's Table

In:
09Aug2010

For those looking for Italian food on their next Oasis of the Seas cruise, Giovanni's Table offers family-style Italian in the Central Park area of the ship.  Today, we review this Mediterranean enclave.

Interesting note about Giovanni's Table, prior to our cruise, we tried to get a reservation online but couldn't get one for the time and day we wanted.  We decided to wait until we boarded the ship and try to go to the restaurant on the first day of the ship and get a reservation.  Sure enough, we showed up on the first day and got the day and time we wanted without a problem.  Might be worth trying this idea out if you are in a similar situation.

Atmosphere

Giovanni's Table is situated in Central Park and features a very quaint and somewhat romantic setting.  It kind of looks like that restaurant from Lady and the Tramp meets chic restaurant downtown.  Inside the restaurant, you will find the place small enough to have some charm while big enough to handle a lot of hungry customers.  There are tables that have a window to Central Park as well as seating outside to choose from.  Further inside the restaurant are more tables that can accommodate larger groups.

Giovanni's is meant to remind you of a restaurant in the Tuscany region of Italy along the coast.  With it's northern Italy influences, Giovanni's Table certainly exudes the atmosphere one would expect from an Italian restaurant that serves traditional Italian dishes.  Serving to help sell the idea of a real Italian restaurant is the fresh meat slicer that frequently is used by the wait staff to slice fresh prosciutto ham in razor-thin slices.  The smell fills the room each time and it adds to the charm of the restaurant.

Eats

For dinner, Giovanni's Table offers a fairly large selection of Italian food.  There are three main courses, appetizers and salads, pastas and entrees.  The appetizers, salads and pastas are all served family style, meaning large plates are brought out of each item with the understand that you will share the items between the members of your party.  In most cases, there was enough food on each family style dish to easily satisfy two people and more than likely could be enough for 3-4 people.

To start with, appetizers are the first course and there's a lot to choose from.  For just me and my wife, we found three options that we both wanted to try before we even got to the soups.

For our starters, we chose fresh mozzarella and tomato, caesar salad and focaccia alla Giovanni.  The mozzarella and tomato was good, much like any other time we've had this dish before.  The ingredients were fresh and we chose to add olive oil and vinegar to give the dish a little something extra.  The caesar salad wasn't anything special and tasted perhaps a tad bit better than the caesar salad we had elsewhere on the ship and wasn't something I'd feel obligated to get again.  The foccaccia alla Giovanni can best be described as cheese bread with a little potato between the cheese and the bread that comes with the option of dipping the bread in a pesto sauce along with other accompaniments such as green and black olives.  This was surprisingly good and was the best choice we had among the appetizers.

Next up is pasta and we decided to share one dish, the gnocchi, which are small potato filled pastas in a white sauce.  Gnocchi isn't by any means a favorite pasta of mine, but it seemed like a decent choice.  While the gnocchi was good, we both felt after a few each that the pasta "got old".  As in, it was still good, but we couldn't eat a lot of it at once.  More than likely going to pass on this for our next visit.

By the time we got to our entrees, we were both feeling a little stuffed.  To Giovanni's Table's credit, they give you a lot of food and you're best served to try bites of each even though we felt guilty leaving any of the food on the dish to be thrown out.  For my entree, I opted for the tuna dish, which was kind of like an Italian version of ahi tuna.  A lightly cooked tuna that is rare on the inside (warm on the inside, unlike ahi which can be cold).  This was really good and was easily the best thing I ate that evening.  The sauce was light, which is key because the fish should be the focal point of the taste, not an overbearing sauce and with the baked tomatoes and potatoes along side, it was enough to stimulate my appetite to want to eat it all.

My wife opted for the filetto di Manzo alla griglia, a grilled 8oz beef filet tenderloin.  It was a good cut of beef and definitely better than the steaks we had in the Main Dining Room.  It also wasn't the best steak we've ever had but it certainly was something we could enjoy and I had a bite of it as well. We both thought it was good and were satisfied with the option.

Overall

In terms of pricing, we found Giovanni's Table to be a good option at $15 for dinner per person and $10 for lunch.  We opted to eat here on "lobster night" (neither of us eat lobster) so a night at Giovanni's Table may be best for a night where the menu doesn't look very good in the main dining room.  The wide selection of food and mostly tasty options really left us happy that we stopped by.  I think we both felt like it was worth the extra cost for a nice evening out and found the service better than the food.  

The Italian food is mostly traditional Italian food that many Americans love to enjoy.  The food here wasn't as good as the Italian food we had previously tried at the specialty restaurant Palo on the Disney Wonder, but felt it was still a good meal overall.  We did not try lunch, although we did notice that the lunch menu offers less options than the dinner menu.

Giovanni's Table is open for lunch 11:30am to 3:30pm and open for dinner 6:00pm to 10:00pm.

And I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve been here! What did you order? Any suggestions or favorite items? Let me know in the comments below!

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