NEW YORK- First Central Park, now a Boardwalk and Royal Promenade. Royal Caribbean International has a flare for the dramatic when introducing the new amenities and areas aboard its newest ship, Oasis of the Seas, launching in late 2009. Wednesday was no different. From the stage of the Nokia Theater in Manhattan's Times Square, flanked by multiple video screens and circus performers, Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Adam Goldstein, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, introduced two more of Oasis of the Seas' neighborhoods: the Boardwalk and Royal Promenade.
The Boardwalk is a true family affair, reminiscent of beach boardwalks with carnival games, a carousel, eateries and retail outlets. Also part of the Boardwalk is the AquaTheater, which will offer different activities for day and night. In the daytime, passengers can swim in the theater's kidney-shaped pool or race through the air on a zip line that will be suspended nine decks above Boardwalk; nighttime will deliver performances featuring acrobatics, synchronized swimming, high diving shows and other escapades. There too will be six AquaTheater Suites overlooking the theater area, 221 Boardwalk-view balcony staterooms and eight Boardwalk-view window staterooms.
Speaking of rooms, Royal Caribbean also unveiled designs for 28 two-level loft suites, which will feature floor-to-ceiling windows and vary in space from 430 square feet to the 1700-square-foot Royal Loft. In total, Oasis of the Seas will boast 37 different room categories.
The Royal Promenade, prominently featured on Royal Caribbean's Voyager- and Freedom-class ships, will be twice the width of what it is on those Freedom-class ships and about the length of a football field. It will feature 18 Promenade View Staterooms, eight retail outlets including a men's salon, and nine restaurants and bars. A new twist, in lieu of using lower decks to embark on the ship, the Royal Promenade will serve as the entry point for all guests.
Fain called the new amenities and neighborhoods aboard the ship, "game-changing," and said everything onboard was driven by customer demand. "When we looked to expand the market, people said they wanted choice and alternatives," he said. "Well, here they all are in one place at one fixed cost."
Both Fain and Goldstein said they are convinced that the addition of Oasis of the Seas would ultimately lead to better, more premium pricing. "Our pricing rise as we give customers more," added Goldstein, "Customers usually pay a premium price for new ships."
Oasis of the Seas will homeport in Port Everglades, conveniently located minutes away from Fort Lauderdale Airport. Bookings for the ship open September 3, in preparation for its inaugural voyage December 12, 2009. The season will begin with 19 seven-night Eastern Caribbean sailings calling at Charlotte Amelie, St. Thomas; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Nassau, the Bahamas. On May 12, 2010, the ship will alternate its Eastern Caribbean itinerary with a Western Caribbean itinerary visiting Labadee, Haiti, where Royal Caribbean is currently building a new dock; Falmouth, Jamaica; and Cozumel, Mexico.
Fain said each destination will have ports big enough to handle the ship so that tenders would be unnecessary. Asked if Royal Caribbean ships could be built even bigger in the future, Fain said he didn't envision anything larger. But, he said, "Never say never."
Visit www.oasisoftheseas.com for images and a video on the new ship.