By Michael Coleman
A new Royal Caribbean cruise ship is set to turn the industry on its ear when it debuts in late 2009.
Its not just the sheer size of the vessel which is turning heads this week some 220,000 tons, 5,400 passengers and 2,700 staterooms but rather what Royal Caribbean will do within the space of the worlds largest cruise ship.
Oasis of the Seas will feature cruisings first neighborhood concept complete with a Central Park, Boardwalk (look for eateries, retail outlets, carnival games and a handcrafted carousel) and AquaTheater, a venue that will host acrobatics, synchronized swimming, water ballet, professional high-diving and elaborate fountain shows – synchronized to music and lights – in the evenings.
Look, too, for an urban living concept aboard the ship as 28 two-level loft suites an industry first – will also be introduced. The ship will feature 37 different categories of accommodation
Two rock-climbing walls and the first zip-line at sea, suspended nine decks above Boardwalk, have also been incorporated in the design.
But, the Pool and Sports Zone and the Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center neighborhoods, unveiled this week, have only added to the vessels wow factor.
Stretching the length of the ship, the Pool and Sports Zone will feature private cabanas, pools and two FlowRider surf simulators and a sports deck with the first Beach Pool at sea. It will have a sloped entry, flanked by two whirlpools.
Look also for an intimate adults-only Solarium featuring a tranquil swimming pool, two serene whirlpools, and four cantilevered whirlpools suspended 136 feet above the ocean.Â The Solarium will feature a Bistro by day then it transforms into a romantic and intimate setting for specialty dining and dancing under the stars.
Royal Caribbeans signature H2O Zone a kid-friendly onboard waterpark has also been designed for the young at heart. Separate wading and current pools, as well as a dedicated infant and toddler pool, will be surrounded by both adult and child-sized lounge chairs.Â
The water fun aboard the ship does not end there, however. The more competitive set will find haven in the Sports Pool, where afternoon water team sports will include basketball, badminton and water polo while the morning hours will be dedicated to lap swimming.Â
Royal Caribbean favorites such as the nine-hole miniature golf course, Oasis Dunes, will challenge players of different abilities while the Sports Court will house basketball and volleyball courts.
The Vitality at Sea Spa, meanwhile, will include a Thermal Suite featuring heated tile loungers, saunas and steam rooms; three couples massage suites and seven individual treatment rooms. Kids and teens will also find their own dedicated Spa in which to enjoy specially catered services.Â
The Fitness Center will offer a varied selection of the latest cardio and resistance equipment for working out alone or for joining one of several onboard classes, including spinning, kickboxing, Pilates and yoga.Â
The 16-deck ship will sail year-round from Fort Lauderdale. Bookings open Sept. 3.