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Old November 25th, 2009, 06:41 PM
birdsNworms birdsNworms is offline
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Default Oasis: Problems?

Then, you have the entertainment issue. Oasis is debuting a true, Broadway show in Hairspray. Did I miss this? No one has talked about the entertainment because it was largely absent on this 'showcase' cruise. IF you saw the two signature shows RCCL is promoting for this ship or the one in the AquaTheater, please let us know about them as entertainment is a pretty essential part of the cruise experience.

On Oasis, it was largely AWOL. Save for the skating show, a holdover from the Voyager and Freedom classes. Which Tom Scallen and Willy Bietak did a great job on given the limitations. But it is hardly new or can it be cited as an innovation -- that was ten years ago RCCL.

Even boarding the ship and walking around, there was an entire lack of music/entertainment beyond the physical diversions built into the ship -- think FlowRider, Zipline, Merry-Go-Round, etc. Sure, "Central Park" -- like the entire ship -- is impressive, but...well, every time I walked through it I saw glasses and beer bottles in the planters and heard agents (mind you, this was a free cruise) rumbling about how off the price-points were for their market. Bottom-line, it takes more than what was being presented.

Of which, I must comment that it was crazy to hear RCCL's PR folks pushing the add-ons considering the already exceptionally high buy-in price on the Oasis and the current economy. One would think that common sense would have had them telling these agents of all the many things that Royal Caribbean decided to include in that cost.

Internet, however, is another story, contrary to some reports here and on other websites. There are, indeed, two smallish Internet facilities that are part of the design [not there for press only] on decks 7 and 9 forward plus various clusters in the conference areas, teen area, and others. In addition to the in-room set-up and WiFi, there is enough when coupled with the obvious belief the target consumer of this product will travel with his/her/their own laptop. No revenue loss there.

I know many of the cruiseline's top executives and their PR staff have embraced the idea of this ship being a "resort at sea". Likening it to a family-friendly Las Vegas or even a floating Walt Disney World. Of course, this begs the obvious question: if you are looking for a Las Vegas or a WDW, why not simply go there and avoid the potential problems this new market -- first time cruisers -- required by Oasis might well encounter?

For those who want to be at sea, and want to know they are afloat, there are opportunities for this. The solarium for one is worth mentioning as is the small but stunning Viking Crown Lounge. If you want to feel like you are Jack's "king of the world", this ship will not disappoint.

That said, what is clear is that you actually have to search out these locations as otherwise it is difficult to know you are anywhere but at a very pricey resort on land with many, many add-on costs. And to have to search out locations to feel as though you are on a ship is, by any reasonable evaluation, a substantial failure in the product.

It has been reported, as stoked by RCCL itself, that you will pay a 144% premium to book the Oasis right now. If that were only the case. The truth: RCCL is demanding a quixotic 300%-plus cost factor over its own Freedom Class for similar sailing dates.

Now I certainly agree this ship should command a premium over its competitors, but that moves beyond such a thing. By any interpretation, it is gouging. If you include the competition other lines present, the premium jumps to over 400%. Astounding.

Again though, this is one impressive ship. One impressive feat. But can it float?

The ship may not be an evolution to a maturing market, or a revolutionary twist on that market. The Oasis -- and the Allure -- may as one reporter noted, and RCCL's PR lackeys stunningly linked to, be dinosaurs of an arrogant era where bigger is better and damn the consequences.

I just wonder, after being on a ship where no one was paying and the booze was flowing more than the FlowRiders, if it is viable...? Or, when all the buzz quiets after the christening on November 30, it will be only a matter of time before the government of Finland or a savvy investor takes ownership for pennies on the dollar?

That would be sad. But, seeing the poor show RCCL put on in reality and not as disseminated by those who wrote with any eye toward future invites and/or employment, I think heads should roll over this one.
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