Is Oasis of the Seas Going To Ruin the Cruise Industry?
Written by: Kuki
I may be the only writer in the cruise industry who isn’t salivating, in anticipation of the arrival or Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas.
I have little doubt that the excitement of the debut of the Oasis will receive unprecedented media coverage; filled with glowing adjectives about the never before seen innovations, and the truly remarkable technology and design features which will adorn the largest cruise ship ever built. And in many ways it will be justifiably earned. I’m also quite certain this ship will be a huge hit for Royal Caribbean, and for quite some time garner higher demand for bookings, and higher fares than other ships in the Royal Caribbean family, and indeed competitor’s ships, new or old.
Oasis wasn’t built just slightly larger than the presently largest ship in the world, she’s almost a half again as large as the largest cruise ship presently at sea. Also, she isn’t going to be just a larger version of the same ships which came before her. She will be jam-packed with features never before seen on cruise ships. You can read about many of them here…
CruiseMates Oasis of the Seas Article Compendium
There are some concerns voiced that a ship this size will overrun the islands she visits on port calls because of the shear volume of passengers she carries. Frankly, I don’t see that being a problem. There is going to be so much to see and do on this ship on a seven day cruise that I envision a great number of people who sail her not getting off the ship at all during port visits. And that is where some of my concerns about her impact on the industry begins.
With all she is going to be will Oasis simply be a resort, which happens to be on water, rather than on land?
For some time the cruise industry has seen land based resorts and all-inclusive as their primary competitor for people’s vacation dollars. Over the last decade all of the cruise lines have been adding features which they believe help them to compete with that land based market. Such things as additional dining choices (along with flexible dining times), increasing choices for entertainment and shipboard activities, variety in stateroom plans and choices, and doing away with the traditionally more restrictive dress requirements cruise ships used to adhere to, have become common on all new ships from all the cruise lines… all in an effort to compete with land based vacation options.
Like most people I’ve appreciated many of the changes I’ve mentioned above. I enjoy the additional options and amenities. Yet, I do have to wonder if the Oasis won’t take this that step too far; a step that may change the industry as we know it.
I worry that Oasis, and her sister Allure currently under construction, will become the template for the cruise industry. Will the other cruise lines within the mass market cruise industry feel they have to go down the same road to compete with the sure success of the Oasis of the Seas?
In my mind I still see a cruise as holding a bit of sense of mystery and adventure. I’d be rather disconcerted if down the road that feeling dissipates and I start looking at them as nothing more than amusement parks at sea.
Will the Oasis of the Seas be a boon to the industry; a boost it needs in tough economic times, or will it set in motion a change in the industry that we’ll someday regret?
I admit it will take a long time before these types of ships begin to dominate the industry. But a decade goes by surprisingly quickly. Will we soon see the cruise industry as nothing more than a sea full of floating resorts, where the best thing about them is seen as a choice where you never want or need to get off the ship? If that turns out to be the case, they could save fuel and just remain tied up at the pier. At least that would lower the cost of the “cruise”.
– A View From the Kuki Side of Cruising –
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