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Oasis Class

How Royal Caribbean was able to add a giant park to its cruise ships

In:
17Sep2020

More than 10 years since Royal Caribbean launched the Oasis Class ships, it remains an engineering marvel that introduced a variety of innovations, including adding a park to a cruise ship.

Kelly Gonzalez, Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President, Architectural Design (Newbuilding & Innovation), recently told the story of how the cruise line engineered a way to bring a live greenery with trees and grass to an ocean going vessel.

Ms. Gonzalez describes the story of creating Central Park as, "both a success story that became a failure story, that became a better success story in the end."

The idea

Royal Caribbean invited various architectural firms to submit ideas for what Royal Caribbean should do with the space on the ship, and the cruise line awarded the contract to a firm from the U.K. that came up with the idea for Central Park.

The original concept for Central Park was not what we see today on Royal Caribbean's ships.

While it did have the split atrium, where you could look up to the sky and then had the atrium-view staterooms looking into it, as well as the skylights that brought daylight down into the Royal Promenade, the design that won the contest was actually based on a series of rolling hills.

These were structural hills that were covered with grass with skylights on the side.

Building Central Park

Royal Caribbean had never done anything on a ship before that involved live greenery and trees and grass and things of that sort, so they brought in experts, including scientists from the University of Florida and landscape architects.

"We looked for a company that we thought would be really bringing the best expertise in a Caribbean environment and all of what that entails seasonally," Ms. Gonzalez recalled.

"We had to spend an extraordinary amount of effort working with structural specialists because we were literally putting these giant holes in a steel structure that typically is not perforated in any way. So the fact that we were breaching that with skylights was something that was very daunting for the conventional ship engineers."

In addition, Royal Caribbean had to bring specialists to address the issue of bugs that live around these plants, and implications of what happens when a ship pulls into a port and the various local laws related to fauna.

Royal Caribbean had to also address the ability to fertilize the plants and not overcomplicate the water systems to the point of impacting the environment or ocean.  Specifically, how could Royal Caribbean capture water runoff that might contain fertilizers.

The experiment

Photo by STX Europe

A major hurdle for Central Park was the rolling hills concept. There was a lot of uncertainty about grass living in an environment where the sun really had an apex high sky for a limited number of hours a day.

To tackle the idea, they constructed a piece of machinery where they mocked up the hills of of grass with real grass on it. Then they created a machine with a long axle of a car that had wheels on it. These wheels had shoes, lined around the rim of the wheel that was simulating people walking up and down the grass down in the atrium. They then simulated the lighting effect to reproduce the conditions that allowed for limited daylight.

This experiment hoped to address concerns such as:

  • How would the grass grow?
  • How often would it have to be watered?
  • How would foot traffic up and down be on the grass?

Ms. Gonzalez summed up the experiment by saying, "Well, to make a long story short, that task failed."

The test showed that regardless what species of grass that was used, and no matter what they would do with fertilization or any watering or anything else in this in this atrium, the grass was not going to be a surviving concept.

Not only had the test failed, but it was right before Christmas and the team had reached a point where they had to go back to the drawing board.

Becoming Central Park

The team spent four weeks over the Christmas holiday working in their London office rethinking the concept of the design and to change it drastically, keeping in mind time was not on their side.

Eventually, they settled on the idea of a Central Park area that looks a lot like what we see on cruise ships today, with more of the flat walkways and the skylights that actually stand up in the sky and capture even more daylight.

Photo by STX Europe

Ms. Gonzalez spoke about the risks the team took to make the concept work, "We understand there's risk, but we put a lot of effort into mitigating that risk. And we're not afraid of failure or failure usually leads us to a better place."

"And I think the Central Park is a story of how we ended up actually in a better place with the design than where we thought we were going to land, where we started it from the very beginning."

 

The team believed so much in the new design for Central Park, that they created a scale mock-up of the entire Central Park neighborhood at the Turku, Finland shipyard.

Photos by Kelly Gonzalez

Essentially, they printed the design on canvas and strung it up from the trusses in the ship hall, complete with facades of stateroom balconies.

They augmented the look with proper lighting and sound so that Royal Caribbean's Board of Directors could get a good ideas of what Central Park would become.

The team had do all of this for the rest of the company to be able to understand and regain trust behind the design, and the design process, to pull off a concept like Central Park.

Photos by Royal Caribbean

"Once it's proven, and we've gone through the risk mitigation and we kicked all the tires and looked at it inside out and outside in, that we are able to really stay very true to that and deliver on the concept as it is when we presented it to our executives."

What's the differences between each of the Oasis class ships?

In:
Category: 
01Apr2020

Royal Caribbean has four Oasis Class ships in operation, with more coming, and you might be wondering what the differences are between each of the ships.

Each ship offers something a little different, but they have more in common than different. While they are not carbon copies of each other, a lot of the offerings are similar, and the Royal Amplified program aims to bring the amenities up between them all.

Keep in mind that this is not a listing of every single difference, rather, it is a look at the significant differences that most guests will notice.

Oasis of the Seas

Check out our first timers' guide to Oasis of the Seas.

Entertainment

  • Shows in the Main Theater: Cats & One Sky
  • Shows in AquaTheater: Aqua80
  • Show in Studio B: Frozen in Time
  • Mission Control: Apollo 18 escape room

Notable Dining Options

  • Chops Grille
  • Giovanni's Table
  • Johnny Rockets
  • 150 Central Park
  • Solarium Bistro
  • Portside BBQ specialty restaurant
  • El Loco Fresh complimentary Mexican restaurant
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade
  • Sugar Beach candy shop
  • Coastal Kitchen

Pools & Slides

  • Caribbean-style pool deck makeover, complete with Lime & Coconut signature bar. New day beds, casitas and variety of seating were added.
  • Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, Typhoon, Cyclone and Supercell
  • Splashaway Bay kids aquapark (larger than on other Harmony or Symphony)

Unique Offerings

  • Oasis of the Seas features Music Hall (instead of Dazzles)
  • Ultimate Abyss slide
  • Laser Tag: The Clash for the Crystal City
  • Spotlight Karaoke venue
  • Bionic Bar
  • Revamped Adventure Ocean
  • Small Wonders

Allure of the Seas

Please note these differences are based on the upcoming Royal Amplification, which us currently on hold.

Entertainment

  • Shows in the Main Theater: Mamma Mia
  • Shows in AquaTheater: OceanAria
  • Show in Studio B: Ice Games! Ice Show
  • Royal Escape Room – Apollo 18: Lunar Landing

Notable Dining Options

  • Chops Grille
  • Johnny Rockets
  • Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar
  • 150 Central Park
  • Solarium Bistro
  • Portside BBQ
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade
  • El Loco Fresh
  • Sugar Beach Candy Shop
  • Coastal Kitchen

Pools & Slides

  • Caribbean-style pool deck makeover, complete with Lime & Coconut signature bar. New day beds, casitas and variety of seating were added.
  • Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, Typhoon, Cyclone and Supercell
  • Splashaway Bay kids aquapark

Unique Offerings

  • Bionic Bar
  • Ultimate Abyss
  • Music Hall (instead of Dazzles)
  • Spotlight Karaoke venue
  • Revamped Adventure Ocean
  • Small Wonders

Harmony of the Seas

Check out our Harmony of the Seas Guide & Review.

Entertainment

  • Shows in the Main Theater: Grease & Columbus...The Musical!
  • Shows in AquaTheater: The Fine Line & Big Daddy's Hideaway Heist Aqua Show
  • Show in Studio B: 1887 A Journey in Time & iSkate
  • Escape the Rubicon escape room

Notable Dining Options

  • Chops Grille
  • Jamie's Italian
  • Johnny Rockets
  • 150 Central Park
  • Solarium Bistro
  • Sabor Taqueria & Tequila Bar
  • Izumi Hibachi & Sushi
  • Mini Bites
  • Wonderland
  • Coastal Kitchen

Pools & Slides

  • Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, Typhoon, Cyclone and Supercell
  • Splashaway Bay kids aquapark
  • No pool in the Solarium

Unique Offerings

  • Bionic Bar
  • Ultimate Abyss
  • Virtual Balcony rooms

Symphony of the Seas

Entertainment

  • Shows in the Main Theater: Hairspray & Flight
  • Shows in AquaTheater: HiRO
  • Show in Studio B: 1977 & iSkate 2.0
  • Escape the Rubicon escape room

Notable Dining Options

  • Chops Grille
  • Jamie's Italian
  • Johnny Rockets
  • 150 Central Park
  • Solarium Bistro
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade
  • El Loco Fresh
  • Izumi Hibachi & Sushi
  • Hooked
  • Wonderland
  • Coastal Kitchen

Pools & Slides

  • Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, Typhoon, Cyclone and Supercell
  • Splashaway Bay kids aquapark

Unique Offerings

  • Bionic Bar
  • Ultimate Abyss
  • Virtual Balcony rooms
  • Enhanced Solarium Bar area
  • Ultimate Family Suite
  • Laser tag

Wonder of the Seas

Wonder of the Seas will be the fifth Oasis Class ship, and we do not know all details about the ship. 

Royal Caribbean has released very little information about what will or will not be on Wonder of the Seas.

Concept art for the ship seem to indicate variations on the exterior design. In addition, Wonder of the Seas is scheduled to sail from Shanghai, China. 

Video: Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class vs Quantum Class

In:
22Oct2019

Should you cruise on Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class or a Quantum Class cruise ship? For families, this is a tough decision, with each offering something different and we have a breakdown of what each ship excels at and why it is a great choice.

In our brand new RoyalCaribbeanBlog video, we offer a look at what makes each class of cruise ship different and which types of cruisers would enjoy each.

And if you love this video, we have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

By the way, have you subscribed yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single video!

So check out the video and then let us know: Do you prefer an Oasis Class or Quantum Class ship and why?

Royal Caribbean extends Oasis Class neighborhood balcony compensation offer

In:
Category: 
21Sep2019

In the wake of Royal Caribbean's recent announcement to cancel complimentary perks for Oasis Class neighborhood balcony staterooms, the cruise line announced it is extending the grandfathering in of guests who booked these rooms prior to the announcement.

Royal Caribbean cited guest feedback regarding compensation related to the end of this program, and decided to allow guests that are currently booked in a neighborhood balcony departing from January 1, 2020 through April 30, 2021, that they’ll have the option to either  (1)receive a $50 non-refundable onboard credit per stateroom, or (2) choose their original package. Guests will receive an email from Royal Caribbean International and once they make their selections, their reservations will be automatically updated.

This is eligible only to those guests booked before September 18th, 2019 on sailings departing on-or-after January 1st, 2020. 

In a statement, Royal Caribbean reiterated its pride on "pushing the boundaries of innovation and constantly creating amenities and experiences that exceed the expectations of our guests, and we look forward to introducing new amenities and programs that will delight them during their cruise vacations."

 

Royal Caribbean eliminates complimentary perks for Oasis Class neighborhood balcony staterooms

In:
Category: 
18Sep2019

Update: Royal Caribbean has extended the neighborhood perks to all guests who booked prior to this decision to end the benefits.

Royal Caribbean announced it will discontinue the extra benefits it offered to guests who booked Boardwalk Balcony and Central Park Balcony staterooms on Oasis Class ships. 

Known as DINE • DRINK • DISCOVER program, Royal Caribbean will remove the program on all sailings departing on and after January 1, 2020.

Guests booked prior to September 18, 2019 in neighborhood balconies sailing from January 1, 2020 through April 2021 will receive a $50 non-refundable Onboard Credit per stateroom, as a consolation for the policy change.  Anyone booked on sailings from January 1, 2020 and after, following the announcement, will not qualify.

If you are wondering why Royal Caribbean made the decision to remove the perks, here is what they said, "Royal Caribbean is always looking for new ways to exceed your clients’ expectations. We’ve been conducting extensive research to better anticipate what matters most to them and will continue to offer countless ways for your clients to make unforgettable memories onboard. We are excited to share some game-changing updates to our inventory and amenity offerings in the coming months."

The neighborhood balcony room benefits began in November 2016.

Top 8 tips and tricks for Royal Caribbean's Boardwalk neighborhood

In:
14Jan2019

Royal Caribbean's Boardwalk neighborhood on its Oasis Class ships is a favorite spot for so many cruisers.  The area is inspired by both the seaside piers that dot the coast of England and the nostalgic boardwalks of yesteryear such as Coney Island. 

There is a lot to see and do around the Boardwalk, and we have eight secrets that you may not know about the Boardwalk neighborhood.

Complimentary breakfast at Johnny Rockets

Did you know that Johnny Rockets on Harmony of the Seas is complimentary for breakfast?  All Oasis-class ships offer this option, but many guests are unaware that breakfast is served here, nor that it is included with your cruise fare (Johnny Rockets has a cover charge for lunch and dinner).

The Johnny Rockets breakfast menu on Oasis Class ships is a traditional American breakfast, with pancakes, omelettes, French toast and the like.  In fact, Johnny Rockets is one spot onboard Harmony of the Seas to get omelet made-to-order.

Johnny Rockets tends to be not very crowded for breakfast, because many guests are unaware of this option, and it also has a large seating capacity (indoor and outdoor seating options).

Slide down and celebrate at the bar

If you are on Harmony of the Seas or Symphony of the Seas, a fun sea day activity is to take a ride down the Ultimate Abyss down to the Boardwalk and then celebrate with a drink (or two) at the bar.

The Ultimate Abyss slide concludes at the rear of the Boardwalk, convenient to the bar at Sabor (on Harmony of the Seas) or Playmakers (on Symphony of the Seas). 

An after-slide drink is the perfect way to celebrate conquering the Ultimate Abyss!

Aft chairs with a view

If you are looking for a quiet spot to watch the ocean, many guests are unaware of an area right below the first Aqua Theater suite balcony on deck seven.

Just behind the rock wall, you can find comfortable Adirondack chairs to sit in with the perfect view of the ocean.  Rarely will you find other guests here.

Ride the carousel at night

Photo by Michael Poole

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.

The full-sized, traditional hand-crafted carousel was specially designed for Royal Caribbean, and many guests find this a fun family activity.  Be sure to include at least one ride at night, because like the fairs of the past, nighttime is when these rides really shine when they are all lit up.

Luckey climber

On Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean added a large climbing structure perfect for kids to try out called the Luckey Climber.

Luckey Climber is a brand of rather large climbing structures that are surrounded by a net, designed for kids to jump on and explore.

These innovative playgrounds are part art and part jungle gym that feature some very bold colors. It is a bit hidden in the back of the Boardwalk, so not all guests are aware it is there, but it is a really fun spot for kids to burn off some energy.

Eat and drink at the bar

While the kids are trying the Luckey Climber, you should to the opposite side of the Boardwalk to grab a drink and maybe an appetizer.  Sabor offers a bar on Oasis, Allure and Harmony of the Seas while Playmakers is on Symphony of the Seas.  

Regardless of which ship you are on, you can go to the bar without any reservations and sit down to enjoy a cold beverage whenever the restaurant is open.  It is a great spot for meeting friends, and there is usually a nice ocean breeze passing by.

Pre-pay for arcade credit

If you plan to let your kids enjoy the arcade on Royal Caribbean, you would be best served to invest in a pre-cruise arcade credit purchase for the bonus savings offered.

There are three options available to purchase prior to a cruise, which offers the convenience of pre-loading arcade credit, as well as a discount.

  • $25 Arcade credit for $20
  • $50 Arcade credit for $40
  • $100 Arcade credit for $80

By purchasing arcade credit ahead of time, you will ensure your kids get extra game time while saving you money in the process.

Boardwalk Balcony rooms come with special perks

Guests staying in a Boardwalk view balcony stateroom are entitled to special amenities for booking this type of stateroom.

Specifically, you will receive:

  • Complimentary meal for four at Johnny Rockets
  • Complimentary Royal Refreshment soda package for two guests
  • Exclusive rock climbing wall experience for the entire family

Boardwalk view balcony rooms typically cost less than ocean view balcony rooms, and the added amenities make it a great deal.

Royal Caribbean trademarks Oasis Class stern design

In:
Category: 
01Oct2018

Royal Caribbean has filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the stern design of its Oasis Class ships.

The trademark was filed by the cruise line on September 24, 2018 and describes the unique design of an Oasis Class ship that includes the balcony staterooms, Ultimate Abyss and Royal Caribbean logo symbol.

Trademark design

Aft view of Harmony of the Seas

"The mark consists of the stern section of a cruise ship having a set of stylish oblong-shaped balconies on the left and right sides of the stern section, a pair of ornamental slides extending from the rear section of an decorative fish head to cascade downward to a lower deck of the cruise ship, and a pair of tusk-like structures extending upward from the top of a lower deck of the cruise ship, to a mid-deck level of the stern section, each tusk-like structure includes a set of stylish curved vertical beams intersecting near the top portion of the tusk-like structures, and an ornamental crown and anchor symbol suspended between the pair of tusk-like structures."

This is the second ship design element to be trademarked by Royal Caribbean in September.  Earlier in September, Royal Caribbean trademarked its smoke stack design.

5 things to love about Central Park on Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class cruise ships

In:
08Feb2018

When Royal Caribbean built its first Oasis Class ship, Central Park was one of the most distinguishing features to hit the cruise industry.  To this day, Central Park remains an incredible space on any cruise ship. 

Stepping foot into Central Park, you will quickly come to see why so many others relish time spent in this Oasis Class neighborhood.  Central Park features a lush garden in an area about as long as the Royal Promenade and twice as wide. Here are five things that you will come to really enjoy about Central Park too.

The Flora

The most obvious thing about Central Park is that is literally covered in so many different kinds of vegetation.  Considering this is part of a cruise ship, and outdoors, finding a park in the middle of a cruise ship is pretty darn impressive.

From towering Cuban laurel and Black Olive to clusters of calla lilies and rabbit foot ferns, the park’s collection of plants is a mix of coastal and highland sub-tropical species from around the world that is well suited to thrive on Oasis Class ships' Caribbean itineraries.

A series of columns interlaced with vines is just one of the welcoming entry points into Central Park, and is elegantly landscaped with tropical foliage and seasonal flowers, shrubs and trees. Drifts of calla lilies among giant elephant ears, red ginger, rabbit foot ferns, banana croton, gold dust dracaena, and butterfly lily are some of the plant life guests discover. Impressive ‘green walls’ spanning 25 feet and five decks high hosts fern and a variety of flowering vines such as red and white Mandevilla, Clerodendron thomsaonaie, and Thumbergia grandiflora. The park also has changing displays of accent plants, such as birds of paradise and Spathoglottis ground orchids. Trees, some eventually reaching more than two-anda-half decks high, include cherry of the rio grande, podocarpus nagi, and amstel king ficus. 

Book reading spot

Are you looking for somewhere onboard to enjoy a good book?  Central Park is a vastly underrated spot for breezing through your chapters.

It is the perfect quiet place onboard to "get away" and just relax as the world goes by. You will find benches and chairs throughout Central Park that can be a great area for sitting.  With Park Cafe nearby, you can easily grab a cup of coffee or tea and bring it to one of these areas to enjoy with your book.

Be sure to look for some of the more hidden sitting areas in Central Park, which add to the aura of feeling like you are in a park somewhere on land.

Piped in sounds

If you stop for a few minutes between checking out all the fun things to do on any Oasis Class ship, you might hear a subtle aspect of what makes Central Park such an impressive area.

Royal Caribbean actually pipes in sounds of crickets, birds and other animals to add to the feeling that you are in a park.  As the name implies, Central Park is named after the world-famous park in the middle of New York City.  Like any park, animals call parks home.  While Central Park on Oasis Class ships do not usually have animals living there (birds sometimes come and go from island to island), Royal Caribbean added their own sounds to the area.

If you happen to have a Central Park balcony room, they turn off the sounds at night to ensure a quiet evening of sleep.

Al fresco dining

Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class ships offer a tremendous amount of dining options, and in Central Park, you can enjoy many of these restaurants outdoors.

With warm temperatures nearly year round, enjoying your meal outdoors can make a lot of sense.  Rather than taking your food and then going up a few flights of stairs to the pool deck, you can step outside and eat with the sun shining right outside.

Chops Grille and Jamie's Italian/Giovanni's Table offer their own outdoor seating areas, which means you have the choice of dining indoors or outdoors when eating at those restaurants.

Nighttime

If picking which aspect of Central Park we love the most was a contest, nighttime in Central Park would win hands-down.

As beautiful as Central Park is during the day, at night it truly shines.  The area is lit up from all angles, which transforms Central Park into a nighttime conservatory.  The lighting accentuates the beauty of the area, so be sure to bring your camera to capture the stunning look.

Each evening, there is also live music performed in Central Park.  Whether it is piano or string music, listening to it while surrounded by a beautiful park is one of those "I can't believe I'm on a cruise ship" moments that can never be understood until you experience it yourself.

What do you love about Central Park?

Did we miss one of your favorite things about Royal Caribbean's Central Park? Or did our list remind you exactly of what you remember the most? Share your ideas, suggestions and thoughts in the comments below! 

Oasis Class AquaTheater Vinfographic

In:
16May2017

The theatrical possibilities of the AquaTheater, the distinct high diving, acrobatic performance space introduced by Royal Caribbean with the Oasis class of ships, have breathtaking limits. 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.

Royal Caribbean updates Oasis class neigborhood perks with more restaurant choices

In:
Category: 
02Feb2017

Guests who reserve a Central Park balcony stateroom on a Royal Caribbean Oasis class cruise ship now have a few more choices for where to enjoy their complimentary lunch.

Royal Caribbean introduced special perks for guests that reserved neighborhood perks back in November 2016.  Guests who are in a Park View Balcony room will now have a choice for a complimentary lunch for two at Giovanni's Table, Jamie's Italian, Sabor or Johnny Rockets. Previously, this perk limited guests to lunch at Jamie's Italian on Harmony of the Seas or Giovanni's Table on Oasis and Allure of the Seas.

None of the other neighborhood balcony perks appear to have been changed. It is not clear when exactly this change occured, but it provides guests in a Central Park View balcony added choice in where to dine with their complimentary lunch benefit.

The Eat • Drink • Play benefits are as follows

  • Central Park View Balcony
    • Complimentary lunch for two at Giovanni's Table, Jamie's Italian, Sabor or Johnny Rockets.
    • A complimentary bottle of red wine
    • Casino gaming lessons from an onboard expert
  • Boardwalk View Balcony
    • Complimentary meal for four at Johnny Rockets
    • Complimentary soda package for two guests
    • Rock climbing wall session for the entire family

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