Royal Caribbean International®:Oasis of the Seas®
In this article Eric Floyd unveils Royal Caribbean International®’s new ship, Oasis of the Seas®.
For years, I have proclaimed cruising beats any other vacation option for a variety of reasons. When one is perched high above the ocean where the heavens meet the waves, it simply inspires the most exhilarating repose imaginable. The supplementary mixture of exotic ports of call, fine-dining and countless amenities fit for nobility only fuels the rapture. I have been blessed by acquiring passage on many a luxury liner in my life; however, I wondered where I would ever find suitable adjectives to describe the Oasis of the Seas, the latest jewel of Royal Caribbean International®.
This coming December, an unprecedented era in the travel industry will begin as a cruise ship that parallels paradise will embark on its maiden voyage from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Royal Caribbean International has further cemented their legacy among industry leaders by conceiving the concept of neighborhoods and infusing it into their ultramodern liner. This genre of leisure will undoubtedly entrench an insurmountable chasm between the Oasis of the Seas and every other vessel combing the horizon.
I will be your humble guide as we jointly explore the revolutionary design of this cruise ship. Along our travels, we will pay a visit to: The Boardwalk, sky-lit Royal Promenade, Central Park, the unique loft accommodations and innumerable additional facets that are ripped from the pages of a dream. Those territories must temporarily be put on hold, though, as we seek out and maneuver through the area onboard specifically designed for the Southern Gaming and Destinations clientele. Casino Royale, here we come!
The characteristic that separates a gambler from every other type of soul who roams this earth is the propensity to thrive at the apex of the action. The blazing lights, feel of the felt, sensation of the checks in our hand and the sense of overwhelming satisfaction when destiny deals us a rush induces every breath we take. To fuel this desire, Royal Caribbean has extracted the superlative attributes from every major gaming mecca on earth and synthesized them to concoct the Casino Royale.
Upon arrival into the 18,000-square-foot parlor that Southern Gaming and Destinations Magazine rates as the finest casino on any cruise ship, a tangible tidal wave of energy will uncontrollably wash over you. The illuminated atmosphere and eclectic artwork dressing the perimeter initially sets the stage for an unforgettable session. Certain attributes of the gaming will especially find favor with the discriminate player and must be further exposed to properly showcase this salon.
Table games that are the darling of most traditional players enable prospectors to commandeer the bounty they are in search of. Blow on the dice and control the destiny of the craps table; engage the roulette wheel with a nickel on a lucky number; or cut the house’s edge down to virtually nothing playing single-deck blackjack. For the population that craves a modern gaming matrix, take a seat for Caribbean Stud Poker, Let It Ride or Three Card Poker. If slot machines or video poker rate as your huckleberry, pleasant news awaits. Hundreds of loose machines — including the Game King Poker cabinets that have evolved into the preferred mechanism for astute players — adorn the floor in both slant top and ergonomic styles. Poker enthusiasts will be elated to be informed that Royal Caribbean International has taken great care to please the rounders within the ranks of its guest list. Limit and 2/5 no limit Texas Hold ’em routinely provides the opportunity to satisfy a craving for checks and raises.
An array of Texas Hold ’em, blackjack and slot machine tournaments further quantify the Casino Royale as a gambler’s muse. All Royal Caribbean International voyages of four nights or more will organize a Royal Poker Tour qualifying tournament until March 2010. Winners of a satellite advance to the final Royal Poker Tour tournament to be held on the Oasis of the Seas on Dec. 13, 2010, with an estimated prize pool of $100,000. Sit ’n’ go blackjack tournaments where all contestants have a chance to progress to the grand finale and sit ’n’ go slot tournaments enable guests to compete against their fellow passengers for an assortment of cash and prizes.
Royal Caribbean International has made completely sure that every detail in regards to player hospitality has been chartered. In an effort to allow Casino Royale patrons to accumulate future cruise discounts and other various complementary services, Club Royale has been established. Table and slot players alike are encouraged to gain membership, and the level of reward gravitates toward the level of play. For those who frolic in the stratosphere high above the table limit, the Up Front Cruise Discount Form should be completed ahead of any cruise booking for the chance to receive voyage reductions. Credit requests forms are also available for those who want cash to be waiting at the casino cage.
With our gaming thirst quenched, the remaining tour of this extensive buoyant labyrinth that Royal Caribbean International has created may commence. As previously mentioned, the predominant concept of neighborhoods was the driving dynamic in the construction of the Oasis of the Seas since the keel was laid. The utopian brainchild that once only existed in the creative department’s sketchpads has been willed into reality by an elite engineering force. Together, let us traverse into this unfathomable wonderland.
The Royal Promenade covered with a crystal canopy skylight is undoubtedly the heart of the Oasis of the Seas. Its grace is fortified by the mezzanine level where inspection of the happenings below may be savored while enjoying a delicious demitasse. Another lofty facet inspiring awe is the Atlas Bridge that uncoils from a lustrous globe during entertainment gaieties. The creativity of the Royal Promenade most certainly culminates with the Rising Tide Bar, which is encapsulated by a crystal veranda. Depending on the time of day, guests are hoisted toward a translucent blue sky or twilight panorama containing thousands of sparkling stars. The remaining décor includes the signature Café Promenade, various themed bars and sumptuous shopping depots.
The Central Park neighborhood and its vibrant piazza, aimed to be the Oasis of the Seas’ town square, will undoubtedly entrance any passenger that navigates its corridors. A blend of nautical lifestyle and teeming tropical grounds has been infused to create Central Park’s daytime tranquility and elegant nocturnal interludes. Savor street entertainment, feasts of various fare and themed gardens that present nooks and crannies perfect for reading and conversation. The Vintage Wine Bar, Parkside Art Gallery and Gourmet Market consummates Central Park’s chemistry.
Family merriment and nostalgia have been birthed in a neighborhood onboard the Oasis of the Seas especially dedicated to those guests who adore recollection of the simpler times. Inhabitants of The Boardwalk will marvel at the carousel, casual dining options, novelty photo shop, candy store and various other amusements that make up this old world scene. There can be no debate that The Boardwalk’s crown jewel is the AquaTheater that serves as a daytime social reservoir where guests are invited to sunbathe and swim. Theater-goers in the evening are transfixed by the hydro exhibition and water acrobats that specialize in lofty feats of agility. The entire hippodrome is set against a breathtaking view of Mother Nature’s oceanic masterpiece.
As imperative as the genesis of neighborhoods was to the Royal Caribbean International design team, an equal amount of artistry was dedicated toward the fabrication of guest accommodations. An array of 37 stateroom categories and six different suite options adorn the Oasis of the Seas, many of which utterly redefine maritime passage. Cabins that remain available for future booking include but are not limited to: Royal Loft Suites, AquaTheater Suites, Family Balcony Ocean View Staterooms, Central Park Balcony Staterooms, Promenade View Staterooms, Boardwalk View Staterooms and Ocean View Balconies.
Urban living once thought to be a seafaring impossibility now comes to fruition right before the eyes onboard the Oasis of the Seas. The apex of this unprecedented quantum leap in cabin refurbishment is the Two-Story Loft Suite. These contemporary design lofts with their double height ceilings boast 2,000 square feet of open living area. An exquisite design scheme of colors stemmed from King Neptune’s kingdom paint the lodge’s decor. The boundless balcony outside of the 17-foot-high towering windows enable the sea breeze to generate moments of loving romantic memories as inhabitants gaze across the infinite. A generous sitting area central to the lair has a couch, cozy armchairs and a flat-screen television. Completing the lodge is the bathroom that might as well be christened as a “private spa.” It features rain-shower heads along with natural stone and glass tile accents.
It has been exclaimed throughout the ages that exemplary cuisine is indeed a gift from the creator himself. Royal Caribbean International has assembled a menu of delights so decadent, its supremacy may never be challenged. I specifically requested for ship menus to be delivered to me in person so I could whet the appetites of those whose greatest passion is tempting taste buds. I have chosen to review a trifecta of eateries onboard the Oasis of the Seas that are sure to make any food-lover’s stomach growl. Remember that this tiny morsel barely scratches the surface of the inclusive bounty onboard.
My bias for Italian dishes is feverish, and after examination of the menu from Giovanni’s Table located in the Central Park neighborhood, I know where I will be spending my first evening once I embark onto the Oasis of the Seas. My perfect dinner includes an appetizer of Beef Carpaccio complemented by Cold Black Truffle Paste Sabayon, an entrée of Veal Ossobuco topped with mushrooms and, of course, for dessert, tiramisu washed down with an espresso … Mamma Mia!
Another restaurant that will be tussling for passenger affection is the 150 Central Park. Chic décor tied with cuisine dictated by the season will be sure to set diners adrift on a lagoon of culinary bliss. If Cauliflower Panna Cotta with Beluga Caviar, Horseradish Crusted Salmon Medallion, Seared Sea Scallops, Braised Beef Short Ribs and Butter Poached Maine Lobster doesn’t suit you, then I don’t know what will.
We conclude the round of reviews at the Solarium Bistro, which is nestled poolside providing meals for guests languishing for nutrient laden and health conscious subsidence. This destination will specifically appeal to those who adore eliminating calories but not taste from their diet. A dinner consisting of Multigrain Bread, Yellow Tail Sashimi, Ice Chilled Cucumber and Yogurt Bisque with Fresh Dill, Spinach Goat Cheese Salad and Peppercorn Seared Bison Tenderloin would be my selection. Abundantly more combinations may be enjoyed either inside or ocean-side.
The axiom that “The entire world is a stage” has obviously been subscribed to fervently by the Royal Caribbean International entertainment team. The 1,380-seat main theater on the Oasis of the Seas will proudly present the Broadway musical “Hairspray.” Auditions that have located peerless talent in Los Angeles, London, New York and Chicago were coordinated to ensure only masters in their craft be admitted into the production. The main theater will also retain value as the home of original showcases pieced together by the very best entertainment producers and directors in the business.
Incredibly, the spectrum of entertainment onboard is not limited to the main theater and its bedazzlement. An assortment of capacious and intimate clubs furnishes the balance of where guests may escape into euphoria. Blaze Nightclub churns out the latest dance music, or, for those who prefer to swing out, visit the cool cats jammin’ the night away at Jazz on 4. Other rooms include the On Air Club for karaoke zealots, Boleros Latin Dance Club, the Schooner Piano Bar and Dazzles Nightclub, where themed music rules the air waves. Comedy Live offering family, adult and specialty shows along with Studio B and its one of-a-kind ice escapades only add to the list of revelry.
The traditional image of cruising brings to mind a little basking in the sun at the foot of the ship’s pool. In line with everything else aboard the Oasis of the Seas, this pastime has been redefined. Four awesome swimming pools and 10 whirlpools remain at a guest’s disposal. The highlights of this aqua land includes the H20 Zone with a giant water-spraying octopus, a sports pool that is designed for laps and the sloped entry beach pool that recreates the sensation of wading into the ocean.
The athletic vacationer is going to remember the Sports Zone as simply the coolest part of the Oasis of the Seas. Images from two Flow Riders that enable guests to recreate surfing or body boarding are transmitted to a TV at the nearby Wipeout Bar. Other recreation includes: two rock-climbing walls, a miniature golf course, basketball court, table tennis tables and the exhilarating Zip Line. This repelling device allows the courageous to fly from one end of the sports deck to the other as they take in the spine-tingling view of the boardwalk from nine stories aloft!
Naturally, vacation is a time of recreation, but it also serves as the ultimate activity of rejuvenation. The time that is spent onboard must allow self-reconnection, and the Vitality at Sea Spa is the buttress of this philosophy. A thermal suite offers heated tile loungers, saunas and steam rooms for the immediate time after a solo or intimate couples massage has erased life’s tensions. A beauty salon for supple pampering and the Vitality Café serving wholesome entrées and smoothies both additionally complement the replenishment of guest vigor.
For fitness buffs sailing the high seas, Royal Caribbean International has graphed a totally unmatched health regime. Facilities include 158 cardio and resistance machines, free weights and a jogging track with a partial roof enabling runners to be shielded from the elements. Various studio fitness classes offered that are aimed at overall wellness are sure to be taken advantage of by guests seeking a route toward an inner vitality. Students should expect to ingest rare knowledge by apprenticing under experts in the art of pilates, yoga or kickboxing. The newest and most innovative form of resistance exercise called “kinesis” — which is designed to burn 30 percent more calories while improving flexibility and posture — is also taught on board.
Royal Caribbean International realizes that they have an obligation to cater to the entirety of their guest list, regardless of age. This is why more space than ever has been created just for children and teens, allowing for parents to be completely free of anxiety, thus maximizing the whole family’s holiday. The award-winning Adventure Ocean Youth Program enables children 3 to 11 to experience an Adventure Science Lab, Imagination Studio and Adventure Ocean Theater under professional and compassionate supervision. Features just for mature adolescents include: Teen Disco, lounge with gaming systems and DJ booth, fitness area and private deck space restricted just for teens. Couples who have recently entered the adventure of parenthood will appreciate the fact that babies from 6 to 36 months have their own group of dexterous caregivers available.
If nothing else, our tour of the Oasis of the Seas has legitimized one fact: No cruise ship on earth has ever gone to such great lengths in order to charm its guests. Enticing any adventurer further are the exotic Caribbean ports of call visited by the vessel and the lexicon of shore excursions that will surely entrench a kaleidoscope of memories. For those who have never experienced an exodus in this part of the world, know that the islands of St. Thomas, Jamaica, St. Maarten and the Bahamas all offer tailored hospitality, gorgeous beaches, exotic sights, impeccable shopping and once-in-a-lifetime activities like swimming with dolphins or snorkeling with tropical fish. There is simply no other vacation option available that showcases a greater amount of value for the dollar. It is time for the ultimate sabbatical with the luxury that you have always pined for. The adventure of a lifetime awaits — see you on the Oasis of the Seas!
For more information and reservations, call 1-888-561-2234.
By Eric Floyd