Our teen reporter gives us her perspective on the new class of mega-ship from Royal Caribbean.
It's almost here!
New details about the upcoming Oasis class of Royal Caribbean ships (Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas) have been released. The first ship, Oasis of the Seas, will set sail in late 2009. As a teenager, this ship seems like the coolest thing ever. There will be a total of seven unique neighborhoods around the ship. Details of only three of these neighborhoods have been released so far. Each neighborhood will have a different theme and plenty of family and teen-friendly things to do. The neighborhoods revealed so far are Central Park, the Royal Promenade, and the Boardwalk.
Let's look at Central Park first. As a teenager, this may be the least interesting of the three neighborhoods, but it is still pretty awesome. Spanning longer than a football field, Central Park features garden spaces, tropical foliage and plenty of outside dining options. They are: Chop's Grille -- Royal Caribbean's signature steakhouse which is really excellent by the way, Antonio's Table -- an Italian trattoria, Central Park Café and many others. Shopping in this area includes a portrait studio, an art gallery and a Central Park-themed special gift store. The area is surrounded by about 300 balcony staterooms. Some spots along the park are open to the sky. This way, it doesn't feel like you're in a really nice mall but rather a real park.
Our next stop, directly below the Park, is the Royal Promenade. You may have seen Royal Promenades on current Royal Caribbean ships, but you've never seen one like this. On the Freedom and Voyager class ships, the promenade is a place my friends and I often hang out if the teen club isn't open. This will still be the case with Oasis. All of the same dining and shopping options as on the Freedom class are there, plus more. One of the cool features, which as teens we can't use yet, is the rising tide bar. Over time, it ascends and descends between the Promenade and Central Park above it. Even though we're underage, it still seems like a cool thing to watch. Another new aspect to the Promenade is the Atlas Bridge. For parades and shows, it slowly unravels to become a ten-foot platform over everything.
If you think these two neighborhoods are cool, then just wait for the last one!
Our final stop on our journey is (drum roll, please) the Boardwalk! Similar to Central Park, with the open-air above and astern plus staterooms along both sides, the Boardwalk is definitely the place to be. Some of the dining includes the signature Johnny Rockets, Seafood Shack, Boardwalk Donut Shop, Ice Cream Parlor and many more. As far as entertainment and shopping go, there's Madame Zahara's -- a psychic and tattoo parlor, a photo shop, as well as kid and teen retail shops. For those with more change in their pockets there are six loft suites that overlook the entire boardwalk. In the middle of all of this is none other than a carousel, the first carousel at sea! At the end of the Boardwalk, there are two huge RCCL signature rock-climbing walls. A new bonus is the zip-line that sails nine decks above the Boardwalk. You fly diagonally across the entire area and really get a bird's eye view of the neighborhood.
And now for the main attraction -- introducing the Aquatheater! The Aquatheater is at the very end of the Boardwalk with great ocean views over the stern. During the day it serves as a pool and place of relaxation. But as the sun goes down it turns into a theater. Guests can enjoy a fantastic water show, complete with plenty of flying acrobats. It's definitely a new way of putting on a show! All I can say is that whenever I cruise aboard the Oasis, I am definitely spending plenty of time on the Boardwalk.
Starting in the fall (2008), you'll be able to find out more information regarding booking a cruise on this fabulous vessel. You'll also be able to find out more clues and info about the other four neighborhoods. I'm pretty excited about it. How about you?