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Royal Caribbean’s Latest “Wow”September 15, 2008 By: Susan Young Travel Agent
Royal Caribbean International provided another dose of “wow” for the trade in late August, as it revealed more razzle-dazzle features for the 220,000-ton Oasis of the Seas, scheduled to launch in late 2009 as the world’s largest ship. From the first zipline experience at sea to a two-level glass Solarium with four cantilevered whirlpools, from a new spa for children and teens to a colorful octopus-themed H2O Zone with water-spouting tentacles, the 5,400-passenger vessel will boast a new level of guest amenities and activities.
A rendering of Oasis of the Seas' Solarium lounge
More than 16,000 consumers, media and travel agents learned about the latest “reveal” elements during an online virtual event jointly hosted by Royal Caribbean, AAA Travel and the Canadian Automobile Association. By surfing around the event site, web visitors toured two new onboard neighborhoods—The Pool and Sports Zone, which stretches the full length of one deck, and the Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center.
“The reveal created tremendous hype with our AAA customer base throughout Florida, Georgia and Tennessee,” noted Jim Sweat, managing director, travel agency services, AAA Travel, Tampa, FL. “This [virtual event] created a great deal of sales and future interest.” AAA Travel has always been strong on the brick-and-mortar side, but Sweat said it’s becoming more adept at marketing and dealing with Internet savvy members who prefer to book with AAA via a home computer.
In an online video, Richard Fain, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd’s chairman and CEO, told web visitors that “one of the things that Royal Caribbean was always famous for—going back 30 years—was its pools, and it’s kept that tradition.” The Pool and Sport Zone boasts four pools and 10 whirlpools. Beyond the new zipline experience and H2O Zone, guests will discover a new zero-entry Beach pool, ringed by colorful chairs and umbrellas; private cabanas with attendants; a pair of FlowRider surf simulators flanking the Wipe Out Bar; a sports court; and a nine-hole miniature golf course.
Created as a soothing adult oasis, a glass-paneled, two-deck Solarium will boast six whirlpools including the four cantilevered ones 136 feet above the water, “islands” of seating areas, a relaxation area and a pool. The Solarium’s bistro will serve healthy fare from the Vitality spa menu during the day, but by night, will transform into Club 20 for casual dining and dancing.
In addition, “we felt that there could be more of a spa and fitness district, so that when you go there, you’re going to be enveloped by it as opposed to [finding] a little bit of everything everywhere,” stressed Adam Goldstein, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. Thus, the new Asian-inspired Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center neighborhood will boast a spa for children and teens; new Kinesis group classes; and a thermal suite with three couples’ massage suites and seven treatment rooms. The fitness center will offer the latest cardio and resistance equipment and classes in spinning, kickboxing, Pilates and yoga. Guests will enjoy healthy snacks, light meals and juices at a Vitality Café.