Still another fun part of the ship is Boardwalk—an old time Coney Island lookalike with the only carousel at sea, candy and donut shops, the old photo booths for the kids to squeeze into, an ice cream parlor, the Seafood Shack, a Johnny Rockets diner and the Boardwalk Bar. There’s also the Star Pier and Pinwheels, a kids’ and teen retail store. At the end of the Boardwalk is the Aqua Theater that’s a regular sun and swim venue during the day and turns into a water show venue in the evening with high diving and water acrobatic performances. Here, too, are two of Royal Caribbean’s rock climbing walls.
The Royal Promenade—always the heart of a Royal Caribbean ship—is the shopping, dining and bar/lounge central, where passengers will also find Guest Services and the Shore & Land Excursions offices. This is where the Rising Tide Bar lands and where guests find the Atlas Pub, the Schooner Bar, the Champagne Bar and Boleros Latin Bar. In the best interests of our readers, we did our best to try them all and they all come heavily recommended. Sorrento’s is a great pizzeria—go for the Florentine pizza, it’s delicious.
If the Royal Promenade is retail/services central, then the 2-deck Pool and Sports Zone is activities/relaxation central. There are so many pools here—this area takes up the better part of the ship on the two top decks—it’s a wonder this thing doesn’t sink. It’s also where your thrill-seeking clients can ride the zipline, nine decks above the Boardwalk. Or, they could sit at one of the four pool bars with a good book like a civilized person and look up every now and then, enjoying the terrified, why-am-I-doing-this looks on the zipliner’s faces as they careen across the ship. One of our favorite places in this area of the ship is the Solarium, two decks of pure relaxation with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto the ocean and where passengers will find the Solarium Bistro—still another excellent dining venue that turns into a specialty restaurant in the evening. Here, too, is the FlowRider, the surf simulator where passengers can catch a few waves, a basketball court, miniature golf, ping pong and more sun loungers than any other ship afloat—always a big deal on a cruise ship because there never seem to be enough.
For the family, there’s the Youth Zone where kids 3 to 11 can enjoy the Adventure Science Lab, the Imagination Studio and the new Adventure Ocean Theater. Teens, too, have their own club and a variety of areas where they can hang out and meet new friends. The entire area offers dedicated spaces for age-appropriate groups and has a full staff of well-trained professional to look out after the kids and get the most out of what’s offered.
The Entertainment Place is the place to be at night, of course. There’s elaborate, true Las Vegas-style entertainment available at the main theater, but there’s also a lot of other smaller venues for those who prefer a more intimate entertainment experience. There’s Blaze, a hot nightclub that packs them in. Jazz on 4, meanwhile, is for music fans who enjoy a more low-key experience. Dazzles is a club that runs the gamut from disco to Big Band sounds, while Comedy Live is still another small club with hilarious entertainment.
To be honest, this ship is so big, it’s hard to get an in-depth look at everything that’s offered to your clients in just a day-and-a-half. The Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center was one such area we didn’t get to see too much of, but the fitness area is huge with all the latest exercise equipment, as well as spinning, Pilates, yoga and a new class called Kinesis, which promises a full-body, no-impact workout. There’s also the Vitality Cafe with a variety of healthy snacks, juices and smoothies, as well as healthy, nutritious entrees for the strong-minded or for those who want to assuage their guilt of multiple trips to the desert tables. The spa itself promises the most advanced spa and anti-aging therapies available, with couple’s massage suites and its Thermal Suite.
Probably what guarantees your clients a truly unique vacation resort experience aboard this incredible new ship is not just the hardware and the gleaming, truly innovative environment—it’s got to be the crew and the service ethic. We’ve been on more than a few “new introductory” cruises such as this one and Royal Caribbean outdid itself staffing this ship. Virtually every crew person we were in contact with were experienced, professional, out-of-their-way helpful and virtually all of them were genuinely excited about serving on board the Oasis of the Seas.