Last December, when Royal Caribbean Cruise Line unveiled its newest ship, the Oasis of the Seas, jaws dropped. It is the most expensive commercial vessel ever built. It is the world’s largest cruise ship. The news coverage featured every synonym for “big” imaginable.
Journalists called it a behemoth, and were wowed by the staggering numbers. The ship can carry more than 5,000 passengers, and 2,000 crew. There are 37 places to eat and drink on 16 decks. It has 2,700 staterooms and 4,500 air conditioning units.
But what’s truly stunning about the Oasis of the Seas, besides its sheer size, is that it’s a ship designed not to look like a ship.
Explore the World on the City on the Ocean
Royal Caribbean designed the Oasis of the Seas as an urban experience. The ship is made up of seven distinct neighborhoods, all centered around a central park bigger than a football field. The park has been landscaped with more than 12,000 trees and shrubs, lined with pathways to nearby cafes, restaurants and bars.
It’s also got a city’s worth of entertainment possibilities. If you’re looking for something to do on a day out at sea, of course there are the standard mini-golf course, whirlpools and a rock-climbing wall.
But on Oasis of the Seas, you could go to the fairground and ride the first-ever carousel at sea. Or experience the thrill of a ride on the 80-foot zip-line track, also the first ever on a cruise ship. You can also go jogging on the longest track at sea, where each lap is close to a half a mile.
Even the pools are bigger or deeper or a first of some sort. Oasis of the Seas has the first beach pool at sea, with a sloped entry so you can go wading. It also boasts the deepest pool afloat.
If you’re looking for entertainment, the Opal Theater seats nearly 1,400 and has been staging the first full Broadway production at sea, the Tony-Award-winning musical Hairspray. There’s also the outdoor Aqua Theater, where you can catch the nightly water show, including breathtaking high diving acts. Or you can bring the family to the ice show at the rink.
For shoppers, you don’t have to wait until you hit port to give your credit card a workout. There is 10,000 feet of retail space on board, where you can pick up a Coach handbag, a Tag Heuer Watch and some Kenneth Cole shoes. If your tastes run to the much less expensive, you can just pop into Candy Beach, and pick up some of the 72 varieties of candy, ranging from modern to vintage.
If you’re really hungry, it is possible on the Oasis of the Sea to have 36 meals a day. Although, it is probably not wise.
If you’re worried all this may be a little overwhelming, it is still easy for find quiet corners on the ship to talk and be together. And if you’re at all concerned of losing track of your family and friends on board this floating high-rise complex, don’t worry, they have an app for that! Royal Caribbean Cruise line has come up with Royal Connect, a system you can rent on board that lets you plan your itinerary, get information about events, and even keep track of your loved ones through electronic wristbands which can pinpoint someone’s location on the ship.
So, sit back, relax and venture out onto the open ocean, without leaving any of the perks of a real city behind.