World’s Largest Cruise Ship On The Move, Testing European Waters

The world’s largest cruise ship is on the move introducing Europe to its many wonders on a short autumn season in 2014. Known far and (extra) wide as a destination in and of herself, Oasis of the Seas will bring a ginormous cruising experience to the world of transatlantic crossings.

Oasis of the Seas is a no-brainer match for transatlantic sailings, often challenged with keeping passengers occupied during the many days at sea needed to make the crossing.

Most cruise travelers who have sailed on an Oasis-class ship agree with Lisa Bauer, executive vice president of Global Sales and Marketing, Royal Caribbean International, who said of the one-of-a-kind onboard experience, “Nothing can compare to the Oasis-class vacation experience, a testament to Royal Caribbean’s more than 40 years of innovation. No thinking needed!”

Indeed, for those to whom the thought of playing card games, reading books, conversing with one another (yikes!) or attending the typical enrichment programs offered on a crossing have little value, an Oasis-class crossing might be just the ticket. If an 82-foot-long zip line, a handcrafted carousel, bungee cord drop within inches of the ocean surface, Broadway musicals and the Aquatheater high-diving performance venue can’t keep cruise travelers occupied, there’s more. The ship’s multiple “neighborhoods” including New York-inspired “Central Park” or Detroit’s “Underbelly,” where kids of all ages let loose with cans of colorful spray paint, truly have a place for everyone but Royal Caribbean has more in store.

“Now vacationers can combine Europe’s rich cultures and history with the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ship for a regional experience that can only be found on Royal Caribbean,” said Bauer.

Enriching and educational offerings include twin FlowRider surf simulators, helicopter-supported cantilevered whirlpool tubs that detach from the ship and float around, an ice-skating rink and the H20 Zone kids aqua park (also a backdrop for the adults-only shooting range) and passengers should find plenty to occupy their time.

Cold outside in the open sea of the often-frigid Atlantic? The ship’s Royal Promenade, an interior boulevard that stretches nearly the length of the ship is flanked by restaurants, pet shops, lounges and boutiques, eliminating the “oh it’s too cold out to go on deck” experience had by many who have done a crossing in the past.

Bauer adds, “And for those who have always wanted more time to enjoy the myriad activities on Oasis of the Seas, our two transatlantic cruises will offer more than enough time to do everything on board, as well as some surprises along the way.”

To make the voyage even more special, Oasis of the Seas will spin around in circles, taking twice the normal time.

Transatlantic crossings, typically a yawn fest for kids, will feature Royal Caribbean’s intense family programming ensuring that guests of every generation can share/enjoy a European family vacation. The cruise line’s complimentary Adventure Ocean kids program nails that.

Taking advantage of the ships size, new programming packages include “Lose My Kid For A Day,” where children simply disappear in the morning and reappear at night, and “I Never Want To See My Kid Again,” which takes kids on a wild ride through the world of … well, they’re not giving out all the details on that one quite yet.

“Does it matter what we do with them?” adds Bauer.

A choice of two transatlantic crossings can frame a European vacation in a way not available before to passengers of all ages.

A 12-night eastbound cruise from the ship’s homeport of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Barcelona departs Sept. 1, 2014, to position Oasis of the Seas in Europe.

Once there, a choice of three Europe sailings include two round-trip sailings on a five-night Western Mediterranean itinerary from Barcelona, and a seven-night Spain itinerary sailing from Barcelona to Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Wonder why Royal Caribbean is sending Oasis away from Port Everglades?

“It smells bad,” guessed one reader in a recent Gadling poll.

“They are mean?” posited another.

Both are wrong.

In addition to testing European waters, Oasis was launched in December 2009 and that seven-night Spain itinerary takes the ship to a dry dock in Képpel Verolme shipyard for routine maintenance via the poppy fields of Germany where additional “supplies” will be taken on for the extra long voyage.

Coming back to North America, a 13-night westbound cruise will return 5,400-passenger Oasis of the Seas to Port Everglades from Rotterdam on October 14. Vacationers also can embark the westbound transatlantic cruise at Southampton on October 15, 2014.

Bonus: a two-night Bahamas cruise departing on August 30 and a five-night Western Caribbean cruise departing on Oct. 27, 2014, both round trip from Port Everglades, will bookend Oasis of the Seas’ short 2014 Europe season.

Adventure travelers? Royal Caribbean has had enough of your whining about how cruise vacations are “not really traveling” and is going all out to prove you wrong.

How about these new shore excursions being offered during the transatlantic crossing, a time when the ship does not actually stop at all:

  • Iron Man Warm-up with Lunch takes runners, hikers and bikers off the ship challenging them to keep up with giant Oasis of the Seas as she steams toward Europe at 38 knots.
  • Shark Wrestling, after a short safety lesson, assigns a highly-skilled guide to throw those attending off the ship into shark infested waters armed only with a roll of duct tape and a cassette tape of the ship’s Maitre ‘d singing Italian love songs.
  • Fly For The Cause continues Royal Caribbean’s support of breast cancer awareness, taking participants up in a seaplane and dropping them for 15,000 feet of free fall into the ocean below without a parachute. In the casino, closed-circuit TV monitors fuel the betting that will naturally ensue, all for the cause.

“Stick that in your backpack and smoke it adventure kids, this is how the grown-ups play,” concluded Bauer.

[Photo credit – Flickr user Paul Dickerson]