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World's Largest Cruise Ship Sets Sail

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If one person’s “wow” is another person’s ludicrous, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas will have some people loving it and others scratching their heads.

The world’s largest ship—which previewed on a two-day cruise to nowhere for press and agents from Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 20—is certainly lively and action-packed, big, brash and different—a mass-market resort-like experience with a whole bunch of cruise industry firsts.

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The 225,282-ton city at sea has seven designated “neighborhoods” and accommodations for more than 6,200 passengers (plus some 2,200 crew). About 50 percent larger than any other cruise ship, the 16-deck Oasis towered over others at the Port Everglades terminal—in comparison, Holland America’s Maasdam, docked nearby, looked like a tugboat.

Oasis’s standout areas include the family-friendly Boardwalk, an open-atrium amusement park, with the first merry-go-round at sea and an AquaTheater where high divers will perform; and Central Park, an open-air park in the center of the ship with real trees and winding pathways through lush tropical gardens. The impressive Entertainment neighborhood includes an ice skating rink, intimate jazz and comedy clubs, and the largest casino at sea. The Pool and Sports Zone is massive, stretching the entire nearly 1,200-foot length of the ship, with multiple areas for sun and shade and getting wet.

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For views, you can book an ocean-view cabin or an interior-view that overlooks the Park or Boardwalk or the ship’s huge interior Royal Promenade, lined with shops and cafes. If you turn your head the right way from a Boardwalk-balcony cabin, you can actually see the sea too. In fact, with all the interior spaces on Oasis, the ocean is rarely in view.

Some will love Oasis for its bigness and boldness, while others may find it too much like a floating resort; not like a ship at all.

The first paying passengers come onboard tomorrow, Dec. 1, and regular weeklong cruises from Fort Lauderdale visiting St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Nassau, Bahamas, begin Dec. 5. Fares are from $1,179 up to $16,659 (for the two-level, 1,524-square-foot Royal Loft Suite).

Guest blogger Fran Golden is a cruise expert and frequent contributor to Travelandleisure.com.


Photos courtesy of Royal Caribbean


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