By paul motter
Old Hollywood movies often promised us a beautiful oasis before revealing desolate reality. In the past month I have been on a similar emotional roller coaster - wondering how Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, the newest and biggest cruise ship ever built, would actually look. Would it be the paradise the name promises? Or would my vision become a wavy cinematic mirage effect into desperate desolation?
Why was I even worried? Normally, every brand new cruise ship reveal is preluded by an exhaustive array of interior photos sent to the media for publication long before the actual ship arrives.
But in the case of Oasis there was a complete blackout of pre-release interior pictures. While we were told the ship was 99% finished when she left Turku, Finland on her way to her new home, Fort Lauderdale, FL, there were no photographers onboard to give us pictures of the final product. Naturally my imagination went to the worst possible conclusions. This was not just another new ship, this is the most revolutionary, biggest and most expensive cruise ship ever built.
Well - it turns out the reason for the blackout was an agreement with Good Morning America, who insisted on first rights to show all the wonderful interior features of this ship to the world. But I didn't personally get that message, which left me wondering what Royal Caribbean may have to hide.
On Thursday, November 19, Good Morning America broadcast live from the ship. If you saw the broadcast then you may have seen some of her finer features, but from what I have heard GMA didn't actually show enough of the ship. So it wasn't until the next day, November 20th, when the real cruise experts (the cruise media, not the talking heads) arrived that cruise lovers finally got to see the true beauty that is Oasis of the Seas.
I have two photo galleries for you: Oasis Gallery One, and Oasis Gallery Two.
Here is my conclusion; This ship is amazing, and in my opinion it even surpasses the promises Royal Caribbean made about it. But only the pictures can tell the entire story, although my words will hopefully help. This is a ship you truly have to see to believe.
For example, we know Oasis has an AquaTheater to present aquatic shows, but what exactly does that mean? Only if you have seen shows like "Eau" by Cirque D' Soleil, or "La Reve" at The Wynn, the poshest hotel is Las Vegas, do you have any idea what an aquatic show is like. The shows weren't quite ready for our viewing, but we did see a rehearsal, and we have a video of that for you here: Oasis AquaTheater Show.
If you want to see another short video just to get an idea of what it is like onboard the ship, check out this short clip that starts on the top sundeck and drops down to view Central Park.
This video just shows the plain girth of the ship and how beautiful she looks at night. This was taken from my hotel room balcony at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina overlooking the harbor of Port Everglades. And this video, taken from the same vantage point, merely shows the wonder of the AquaTheater fountains:
Long story short - please look at our Oasis pictures linked above to get an idea of her beauty. No one I met onboard was disappointed and I did not see a single person without a smile. This is the future of tropical escape cruise ships - they could not have possibly done a better job of filling that space with fun and happiness. This is a ship everyone should see, and if most people feel as I do (and I sense they will) then prices will not be dropping anytime soon.
In fact - we had been advertising 7-day cruises next November (2010) at $729. That price is now at $799 again. The moral of the story is that demand drives pricing in the cruise business, and word of mouth about Oasis is already getting started.
If prices do drop, it will be when the sister ship, Allure of the Seas, arrives next December, 2010. By that time prices for the two ships will have come down, but I do believe word of mouth about this vessel will be a driver of sales for quite awhile, and I would be surprised if prices drop significantly soon. Furthermore, if you spend the money and see it now, not only do you get the bragging rights to say you were among the first, I guarantee you, the ship is worth what you pay for the cruise.
There is still time to book the December 1st four-day cruise, although supply is getting shorter. By the way, I hear that the top suites on Oasis are already fully booked for the next two years. The people who can easily afford this ship are already booked.