I kissed my index and middle fingers and tapped the side of the ship as I stepped over the threshold onto the fifth deck of the Oasis of the Seas. I had boarded 18 cruise ships prior to this departure in October, and “kissing the ship” is a tradition I have had since my very first cruise in 2002.
Although the notion of boarding a sea vessel is quite familiar to me, it didn’t take long for me to realize that this ship was like none other I had ever experienced. When we stepped on board, our senses were greeted with familiar sounds and smells. It was hard to ignore the delicious aroma of fresh baked pizza. As I looked around, I saw store fronts and restaurants. Was I really on a cruise ship? I had heard the concept of a “floating city” before, but it didn’t sink in until I stepped aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. It truly is its own city.
Our first few hours aboard were spent exploring the different neighborhoods that this floating city had to offer. The Boardwalk is located at the stern of the ship and is reminiscent of a different era. Think Coney Island…a hand-carved wooden carousel, candy shop, hot dog stand, even a Zoltar machine ready to give us our fortune.
Opposite of two ginormous rock walls, we found the AquaTheater, an outdoor amphitheater surrounded by the deepest freshwater pool at sea. Later in our cruise we would enjoy “Oasis of Dreams,” an amazing show featuring synchronized swimming, acrobatics, and incredible high dives from a pair of 30-foot platforms.
A few floors up and in the center of the ship we discovered the Central Park neighborhood. Again, I had to ask myself, “Am I on a cruise ship?” With more than 10,000 live plants, this is a place we felt grounded with nature…even when we were in the middle of the ocean.
Having a desire to see the ocean, we made our way to the top decks, where water is plentiful! Oasis has an abundance of life guard-manned swimming pools and whirlpools. If that wasn’t enough, we could channel our inner surfer dudes and tackle the FlowRider surf simulator….or at least laugh at those braver than us wiping out!
Our exploration of the ship was cut short by the mandatory safety drill and sail away festivities. That was okay, though; it was quite clear that Oasis was going to take longer than a few hours to explore.
I could fill a book with the experiences that were had after this ship set sail. There is so much to tell! Like how amazing the ice skating show after dinner was. How my mouth literally dropped open as I watched the sand artist. How for the first time in her life, my youngest daughter fell in love with the kids’ club. How our dining staff made us feel like we were part of their family and performed magic tricks at the table. How my oldest daughter participated in a fashion show in the Royal Promenade modeling jewelry worth more than our car. How we soared 500 feet above the beaches of Labadee on the Dragon’s Breath Flight Line. And on and on.
My family of four spent seven days aboard the Oasis of the Seas and there are still activities we didn’t get to check off our list. Being bored simply wasn’t an option.