Ask anyone what they most love about the ship, and you’re likely to hear “Central Park.’’
This is a serene garden open to the skies in the middle of ship, flanked by a few upmarket shops (including the first Coach at sea) and eateries (the specialty restaurant 150 features a mouth-watering tasting menu that looks well worth the $35 upcharge.)
A pergola twined with bougainvillea lines one side, “living’’ walks of plants line cabin balconies in the mid-section. Skylights protrude into the garden, allowing light to spill on the promenade below. The Riding Tides levitating bar slides between the two levels.
Above all, it’s just a soothing – and beautiful – place to hang out. We'll post pix...when we've got more time. So much to see!
Most of the 3,200 agents and press on board this two-day preview sailing are raving about the ship…and with good reason. But not everything is perfect.
Some of the technology features – such as booking show reservations via your TV – aren’t working, which meant a long stand in line for the free tickets. We might have been able to sneak into the show without reservations – the ship is only half full – but on a regular reservations are a must.
Another glitch: The Fish Shack restaurant has proven so popular that the wait is nearly two hours long. This probably won’t be a problem on regular sailings, when guests will pay an extra charge to eat there ($7.95 at lunch, $9.95 at dinner.). Today it’s free. Still, you can see a problem in the making, because no reservations are accepted.
Also not happening: The Aqua show, involving high-dives and drama (a la the Cirque du Soleil “O’’ show in Vegas.) The show isn’t quite ready, we’re told, but should be before the paying passengers come on board. That’s pretty much the case with all these glitches: They should be fixed before paying guests get here. Hope so.
The obvious question: How loud is it? I’m surprised to find that at night, with the balcony door sealed shut and the heavy curtain liner pulled tight, I don’t hear a thing. Don’t know if that’s the case for cabins on lower decks that are closer to the action…I’ll try to find out.
It isn’t the long glide hundreds of feet above the Costa Rica jungle that most zipliners crave, but it’s more thrilling than the short span looks from the sidelines.
A lot about the Oasis of Seas, the world’s much-vaunted and largest cruise ship, strikes me that way: Better than I expect. I’m one of several dozen cruise writers aboard the ship.
Ship is a loose term: We can even feel the ship move, not when it leaves the harbor and not here at sea.
And this is, truly, more resort than sailing experience. Carrousel. Ziplines. A “central park’’ and a “boardwalk.’’ An elevated-bar that levitates so slowly between the promenade (home to shops, bars and a few eateries) and Central Park that you won’t even notice the motion while you’re sipping your martini.
As Gene Sloan, cruise writer for USA Today has put it, this is the first cruise ship that truly compares to the best of the Vegas hotels or Atlantis in the Bahamas.
That might not please diehard cruisers who are really seeking a seagoing experience that feels, well, like you’re at sea. But as Pembroke Pines travel agent Al Dobles said, “My wife and I have been to all the islands. So the ship really is the destination.’’