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When Everything Is About Oasis, What’s a Cruise Blogger Like Me To Do?

Written by: Kuki

Let’s face it; for the next month or two all the “news” is about, or going to be about, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. I have to admit it’s for a good reason; with the upcoming debut of the largest ship yet, and the largest by 50%. For months we’ve heard about it with specifically timed “reveals”… the Central Park and Broadway Neighborhoods, and Ziplines, and floating bars, and loft suites, and the latest news of a concert onboard by Rihanna. Royal Caribbean’s Public Relations Dept. has done an outstanding job of releasing a steady stream of tidbits to keep their announcements front and center on all the cruise industry media outlets. And you have to tip your hat to them for their masterful work. And I have no doubt as the hype continues, thanks to that effective work winter fares will rise for those who’ve been waiting to book Oasis.

But, what’s to happen to writers who aren’t enthralled by everything Oasis? (ok I may be the only one)   Why even writing about Carnival’s new Dream, or Norwegian’s new Epic makes us look like also-rans. Just writing about the odd looking “Top Hat” designs of Norwegian Epic’s Courtyard Villa area, makes it appear we’re really just championing the design of Oasis of the Seas.

I’m in desperate need of the cruise industry to step up to the plate and supply us with some truly bizarre incidents, and innovations to supply me with non Oasis material. Anyone working on a ship that can fly?

For awhile we thought we had something to write about when Norwegian announced the massively popular Blue Man Group would be leaving their Las Vegas venue, and appearing as a regular act on the Epic.  It certainly seemed to us that, that was going to be a major innovation for cruise ship entertainment. But it appears that poor NCL got upstaged with the recent announcement that Rihanna will play a concert, at the Aqua Theater, during the inaugural 3 day cruise on the Oasis of the Seas; though to my mind Blue Man Group has broader overall entertainment appeal, and the fact they’ll be a regular act as opposed to a one time concert, should garner more attention.

But I always seem to be swimming upstream against the Oasis hype juggernaught. I’d hazard a guess that all media outlets will be shouting the praises of this ship when she finally debuts; particularly as the first few pre-revenue sailings will be filled with invited media types, industry insiders, and travel agents.

D’ja ever wonder why they don’t save all the “Special Events” for the first round of paying customers, who actually pay a premium to be in the “Inaugural Cruise” (when they really aren’t)? They should at least save some of that “pre-inaugural”  Xtra large shrimp for the paying customers.

The coverage is going to let loose a torrential display of verbiage, with outlet after outlet attempting to find more “saucy” terminology to describe every detail about the ship. And what am I going to be writing about?  Like this blog… I’ll keep my tongue in my cheek and probably just be “Gone Fishin”, at least mentally.

-          A View From the Kuki Side of Cruising -

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Comments

Comment from Greg D
Time October 28, 2009 at 9:26 am

I think thats just how the industry is. RCI is going to bring the WOW factor with their ships. That is what the common cruiser wants to read about.
On the other hand, I think you can write about CCL and NCL as long as you balance it enough Oasis news to make you seem unbiased. This reminds me of the Tech industry, where when Apple Inc. releases ANYTHING, the blogs go crazy and thats what dominates them for days and they just can’t get over it.
Just my thoughts,
-Greg

Comment from Dave Beers
Time October 28, 2009 at 9:28 am

I succumbed to the hype two days ago and am now going on the 4-night cruise, which as Kuki references will be the first revenue cruise but isn’t being called the inaugural cruise. We’ll pass the inaugural passengers as we exit the ship with copies of our onboard expense reports sticking out of our pockets.

I’m paying (and a lot for a 4-night cruise plus the single supplement) but I just have to see the ship and write about it, and my press presence was either too miniscule, or too late, (or perhaps both) to get an invitation to a freebie. RCI wore me down with their skillful trickling of details and teasers.

I have to say I admire Kuki’s steely resolve in the face of the Oasis barrage. But the Allure still waits, lurking in the future.

Comment from Paul Motter
Time October 28, 2009 at 11:13 am

Actually, I predict the most interesting reviews will come from the non-cruise press that the cruise line PR departments usually want to please so badly. They won’t be full of the kind of praise you expect from the cruise press who (love the idea or hate it) can’t help but be impressed by the accomplishment that Oasis is.

Like the opening of a Broadway play, Royal Caribbean will be interested in how the ship plays in the New York Times and Daily news. Based on the fact that a lot of newspaper people usually have a jaded view of cruising anyway, I suspect it won’t be all hearts & flowers, especially if there are any of the kind of glitches you are hoping for.

You are absolutely right, early cruises should be open to paying customers, and in many cases they are. Carnival Dream has been sailing for months now, but it won’t “debut” to the press for two more weeks.

I was just on MSC Fantasia and the first cruise was a revenue cruise followed by the naming ceremony the following week. So it does happen.

But in the case of Oasis – there are no guests on the inaugural crossing (unlike Carnival Dream, Queen Mary 2, and many ships). Plus the ship is arriving in Ft Lauderdale on Nov 11 but the first cruise with any guests onboard is not untiil 9 days later.

Something tells me RCL does not want any glitches on this ship because they are banking on it being a hit. They are also saying it is beautifully finished – but still no pictures of the finished ship.

Are they hiding something? probably not – chances are they either don’t feel pictures do it justice, or else they are purposely forestalling the “hype” by not revealing too much until the big media blitz. They don’t want Rihanna, Good Morning America and the rest of the inaugural to be anticlimactic.

FYI – I have been writing about Dream regularly. It also looks like a really nice ship although more evolutionary than revolutionary.

Comment from kuki
Time October 28, 2009 at 11:49 am

I actually believe there will be some very interesting and awesome things about the Oasis, regardless of if I’m interested in sailing her or not.

I also have to admit I do enjoy “poking at her” a bit. LOL

Comment from Dave Beers
Time October 28, 2009 at 12:26 pm

According to the RCI facebook and twitter entries the Oasis isn’t finished. They are still installing fixtures, carpets, and Central Park is devoid of plant life (not surprising). The main theater also isn’t finished given the facebook entry complained about the entertainers searching for a decent place to rehearse.

Comment from Mike M
Time October 28, 2009 at 1:38 pm

I remember in late 1999 when I was researching my first cruise. Most of the media and board chit chat was about Voyager of the Seas. The buzz about Oasis seems even greater. Then again, the ship is 100,000 tons bigger so it should garner more buzz.

It took me three years to sail Voyager and I guess it will take that long to sail on Oasis or Allure. Voyager did create a new paradigm in cruising but it didn’t turn the cruising world upside down. It became another choice. The same happened with Freedom and I anticipate that the same will happen with Oasis and Allure.

One major difference I see between NCL’s Epic and Oasis (other than size) is the marketing. Epic is marketed by NCL as taking what they do well and expanding upon it. This attracts NCL cruisers to book the ship. Oasis markets itself as having great new innovations. Epic has great innovations from the cabins to the entertainment such as Blue Man Group. Oasis markets their “neighborhoods” and innovations such as the shopping venues, promenades, named chef restaurants and other things. To me Oasis’s marketing is more like the launch of a Las Vegas hotel rather than a cruise ship.

There will be room for Oasis and Allure in the cruising world. It’s a darn big world and it has to be for two darn big ships.

I’ll just wait a few months after the launch and then we’ll be back to “regularly scheduled programming”.

Take care,
Mike

Comment from Captain Tennille
Time October 29, 2009 at 12:23 am

A little constructive criticism: You might want to lose the moniker “journalist” from your portfolio. It seems you are seriously at risk of losing your objectivity. Just call yourself “critic” and join the ranks of those who complain that bigger is not better. I can remember a time when a ship called Sovereign of the Seas was panned as “just too big” and “going to ruin cruising”. Maybe it did, but, it also wound up pioneering cruising as we know it today. Love it or hate it, Oasis and Allure will define cruising for at least the next decade.

Comment from kuki
Time October 29, 2009 at 7:35 am

<<<>>>>

Tenille, some “journalists” will agree, some will not. I love the “journalistic part of my portifolio.

I’m from the same journalistic vein as Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, Bill Krystal, Keith Oberman, Rachel Maddow, Charles Krauteimer, Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert, the editorial staff of the WSJ, New York Times and Post,
We all live by and respect the journalistic code… The News and Only the News!!!!!…. and anything we might have to say about it if we have an opinion :)

Comment from Anne CAmpbell
Time October 30, 2009 at 9:58 am

The Disney folks came to New York yesterday and, I personally think, trumped RCI in terms of WOW, HOLY COW, AMAZING new features. Disney Dream (entering service January 2011) will have a water slide-type ride that starts on Deck 16 and plummets all over the exterior of the ship. It’s 700+ feet long and even hangs out over the side of the ship.

If YOU’RE tired of Oasis (and I am too), imagine how weary most cruisers who follow this industry are. Always write for the reader and keep up the terrific work you done for over a decade. What interests you also interests readers.

Comment from kuki
Time October 30, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Anne.. nice to see the industry react so quickly. I write the blog, and the next day Disney announces a roller coaster :)

Comment from Captain Tennille
Time November 1, 2009 at 11:40 pm

Mr. kuki, you forgot Rush Limbaugh.
Seriously, after all the posts and articles on Cruisemates complaining about bias in the media (by writers who have little or no cruising experience), I’m a bit surprised and disappointed for you to go ahead and pan a ship YOU have yet to experience…. (and you can called me Captain or CT… Tennille is the chick who wouldn’t eat and died) ;-)

Comment from Mike M
Time November 3, 2009 at 11:50 am

Captain:
You are confusing Karen Carpenter with Toni Tenille. Toni Tenille is alive and well and living in Arizona.

If Karen Carpenter had taken more cruises she may not have died of anorexia.

Take care,
Mike

Comment from kuki
Time November 3, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Capt.

On whole, with me the lone exception, the articles written about Oasis have mostly come with eager anticipation, and positive commentary as all the reveals were revealed :)

As for me, I have certainly never “panned” the ship, or attempted to review it.

This last blog was a satiric “woe is me” fun piece questioning what else there is to write about, with the Oasis hype taking the headlines.

Even in my more critical blogs, it’s been about the dramatic effect a ship like Oasis may have, not the ship itself. As I’ve stated I think it’s most likely RCI will have huge success with Oasis…. and that result would mean higher pricing for it.

Though, at the moment, there’s still space available on the inaugural sailings, and even its Christmas cruise, so that may prove a bit problematic for them.

Our editor in chief, Paul Motter will be on early sailings of the ship, and no doubt will write a full review, with lots of detail, when the time for that comes.

Comment from Captain Tennille
Time November 3, 2009 at 8:32 pm

MikeM> shows what I know about music…huh?:-)
Mr. Kuki> It’s hard as hell to tell when we’re getting “serious kuki” and “clown kuki” these days. JMHO.

Comment from kuki
Time November 5, 2009 at 8:14 am

Capt… since it seems the world is so serious these days, and I thought some might take it wrong… my last sentence said “Like this blog… Ill keep my tongue in my cheek”.

Guess I head to write ATTENTION : SATIRE… though I have to admit it’s not so good when you have to be explaining a joke :)

Comment from Tina
Time November 28, 2009 at 11:55 pm

That’s some nice, uhh… speculation there, kuki.
I almost feel bad for the hundreds of people working day and night to make these ‘reveals’ even possible, only to have it over shadowed by its suspiciously untimely press release.

Comment from Twiftiestv
Time December 17, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Seems to be mixed reviews about the Oasis cruise. We thought the cruise was absolutely wonderful! We posted some videos on our site to show everyone the fun that we had! Hope that others will enjoy it as well! We pretty much let the viewers decide for themselves as out vids generally will have little editing…what you see is how it is! Enjoy!

http://www.twifties.tv/videos.php?category_id=9

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