Sunday, September 05, 2010

Oasis of the Seas...a Teenager's Perspective

If you've been reading this blog then you know I recently returned from a family vacation aboard Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas.  I traveled with both my 17 year old son and my niece of the same age.  If you travel with teenagers, you know how tough it can be to find something the entire family will really love! Well this was it!  Here's my son's acoount....

     Having cruised with Royal Caribbean 10 times before, I have been on both Voyager and Freedom class ships.  I thought that they had everything that a cruise ship could possibly have, but boy, would Oasis  change that thought !  I had seen plenty of pictures of the ship before but nothing would compare to seeing it for myself.  When I first stepped on the ship, I noticed that the Promenade was bigger, wider. It really resembled a city street lined with shops, restaurants, and bars.  For years the Promenade has been my favorite feature on a ship.  The pizza they serve here is the best and now you can get personal pies too.  Its open really late so you will never go hungry.  Brand new features on the Oasis Promenade made it even better such as the Cupcake Shop and the Rising Tide bar.  The Cupcake Shop has cupcake flavors that I didn’t know existed such as orange creamsicle, banana, coca cola, red velvet and coconut.  They also have conventional varieties such as chocolate and vanilla cupcakes. Every one I tasted was great!   The Promenades on previous Royal Caribbean ships were spectacular, but this took it up a notch higher.

      At the end of the Promenade, and a flight of stairs up, was the Boardwalk.  This is a new feature to any cruise ship and is unique to the Oasis class of ships only.  The first thing I took notice of was the carousel.  I hadn’t realized how large it actually was until I saw it with my own eyes.  It looked just like one that you would see in an amusement park, if not better.  Don’t think that it is for little kids only; even at 17 years old, I had to try it for myself and it was fun to be on the first carousel at sea.  The Boardwalk contained lots of eating places such as a candy story, gift shops, a doughnut shop, and an ice cream parlor, where you could add just about any topping you can imagine. Try the key lime pie donut! It sounds weird but it was really good.   Johnny Rockets and Seafood Shack lie at the far end of the Boardwalk across from one another.  Each place created its own atmosphere and I ate at both of them during the course of the week.  I am not a seafood person like the rest of my family, but there were alternatives on the menu for those who don’t like fish. I had ribs. At Johnny Rockets, the waiters all loudly say hello and goodbye to everyone all at once when you enter or leave and they still sing and dance. Eating there was lots of fun!  At the very end of the Boardwalk was the AquaTheater.  Here, all of the diving and acrobatic shows are performed. The high dive was amazing and you should see it!  Instead of the conventional one rock climbing wall on the sports deck, Oasis has two of them, one either side of the AquaTheatre.  The wall has different paths ranging from easy to hard and is good for anybody looking for a challenge. Everyone got better at it as the week went on. There is also plenty of other entertainment going on in the Boardwalk area such as balloon animals, airbrushed tattoos, and a fortune telling machine.  There was also an area set up with games for small children to play.

     Right above the Promenade, was another new feature for Royal Caribbean called Central Park.  This area is special because it contains trees, vines bushes and greenery to give the area a natural feel.  It made me feel like I was in a park back at home.  I’ve seen cruise ships with a few potted plants here or there, but this display of landscaping is something that you have to see for yourself.  Lined along the winding walkways, were the specialty restaurants such as Giovanni’s Italian Restaurant, and Chops Steakhouse, my personal favorite.  By the way, the desserts are excellent there.  The Central Park CafĂ© is the perfect place to stop for lunch.  They have a variety of foods, and a great salad bar, where you choose a variety of ingredients, and make a salad just how you like it. We ate here a lot. All of these restaurants have indoor and outdoor seating so you can choose which environment you like best.

    Many new features had also been added to the pool and sports deck on top of the ship.  The pool deck consisted of three swimming pools, one kiddy park water area, a circular current pool and numerous hot tubs located all over.  There are plenty of lounge chairs as well so you can relax, listen to the tropical music being played by the live band, and sip a tropical drink all afternoon if you choose. They can make them all non-alcoholic!  The pool hosts many events also such as a belly flop competition and the  volley ball competition, which is always a lot of fun to watch, especially when the cruise director and his team played.  The center of the pool deck is open so you have a bird’s eye view of Central Park below.  The sports deck has a basketball court which is now netted in so the balls can’t leave the court. Its easy to join a game. The mini golf course is fun for all ages and you can play as much as you want.  It’s not like the courses back at home where you have to pay.  Instead of the one or two ping pong tables that everyone fights over, Oasis has six of them in their own special enclosed area. This was a great idea since its often windy on the top decks!  The back of the sports deck has two flow riders, one for those who want to stand up and surf, and one for those who want to go on their stomachs.  The sports deck also offers a zip line over the Boardwalk.  Even if you don’t try it, it is still fun to watch the zip liners above your head from the Boardwalk.  This feature is completely new to cruise ships, and is just another innovative  idea by Royal Caribbean. Its also a good practice run before you get to the big one at Labadee.

     The variety of shows on the ship was amazing.  The new ice show, “Frozen in Time” was sensational.  It took you through many famous stories and nursery rhymes in the form of skits preformed on the ice.    The ice show also featured a guest artist that made drawings in sand. Its hard to describe but was very unique.  My favorite show in the main theater was called “Come Fly with Me”.  In this show, performers would fly right over the audience, and acrobatics would be performed in mid air. This was the best show I have ever seen in the theater before.  I am actually not that much of a show person to begin with, but all of them  on the ship had impressed me. One of the best events on the ship, 70’s Night, is located on the Promenade.  This is the one event on your cruise that you absolutely can not miss! The entire Promenade and every overlook is packed with a sea of people that are dancing to the music.  The cruise director and crew host this party and free stuff is thrown out from above, like t shirts and bracelets. The entire Promenade is turned into a light show and the disco balls drop down from the ceiling.  The crew really gets into it, and it is lots of fun! Even if you weren’t around in the 70’s like me, you’ll still enjoy it.

     The Oasis of the Seas was bigger and better than any cruise ship I had ever been on.  I had more fun on this ship than I did on any other in the past.  If this is your first cruise, then you will be spoiled because no other ship can match this, until the Allure comes out!  Every class of cruise ship that Royal Caribbean has come out with has been a step better than the last, but Oasis is a leap ahead of anything else out there.  It was the best vacation we ever had!                    "

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