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Europe sails into the big time and Oasis of the Seas is just the start of it

September 13, 2014

Oasis of the Seas1You know you are on a big ship when you get in a lift and it goes up, up, up and UP … to Deck 17.

When you get there, below is a huge courtyard in the middle of the ship, with balconied cabins having views not of the sea, but of a park. Appropriately, it’s called Central Park.

It’s one of the “neighborhoods” in the vast Oasis of the Seas, the world’s biggest cruise ship, which has just arrived in Europe for the first time, docking at Malaga after a 10-day trans-Atlantic crossing.

For the record, Oasis has capacity for 6,296 passengers, there are 2,165 crew, and the tonnage is 225,282 – about five times the size of the Titanic. Which is a good time to mention that there are 18 lifeboats each holding 370 passengers, adding up to – enough.

And also to say Oasis is not the world’s longest. Its sister ship, Allure of the Seas, has 2 cms more. But Oasis got to that mark first, five years ago, with Allure arriving a year later, and it could be its hull was measured on a hotter day.

It was certainly a steamy one for Oasis in Malaga, although only a few passengers chose to stay on board. Those who did had five swimming pools and 20 restaurants to themselves.

I met one American looking very relaxed in a comfortable chair in Central Park, most of it in the shade.

He said it had been an uneventful crossing, a smooth passage all the way, and he was enjoying the ship so much he saw no reason to get off, particularly as it was so hot. In the circumstances he would do as the Spaniards do and have a siesta.

As the Oasis was not sailing until 8pm, that would still leave him time to do something useful ashore. Experienced cruisers will note this is later than the usual 6pm sailing time, and an enlightened piece of scheduling by Royal Caribbean.

Oasis was carrying on to Barcelona for a few cruises before returning to its homeport of Ft Lauderdale, Florida.

Sister ship Allure of the Seas will be in Europe next summer, starting with a 12-day voyage to the Mediterranean.

Meanwhile Royal Caribbean is building up to a big splash with its two much-anticipated Quantum class ships. Anthem of the Seas will be homeported in Southampton next year, while Quantum of the Seas will be based in Shanghai, one of three vessels Royal Caribbean is sending to Asia to build up its presence there.

These next generation vessels of 167,800 tons hold 4,180 passengers who will enjoy internet connectivity to rival onshore broadband. There will be skydiving simulators, a jewel-shaped glass capsule that rises 100 metres above sea level and gives 360-degree views, bumper cars, a circus school, adults-only solarium and private pool, studio cabins with balconies and Dynamic Dining, which will eliminate main dining rooms and set times, and offer 18 restaurant options. Whew!

Most importantly, for some of us, Royal Caribbean does a very good curry.

From → Big Ships, Cruises

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