Ocean Parks That Cruise The World

How do you “park a park” in the middle of the ocean? You do what Royal Caribbean did and build one into the hull of the biggest cruise ship in the world. That would be Oasis of the Seas…or Allure of the Seas…or Oasis III, the unofficial name for the third of what may be four ships in this class when the dust settles.

And you call the innovation Central Park.

So far, there are at least three Central Parks: the one in New York City and the two on Royal Caribbean ships. Actually, many cities have parks by that name, so let’s say there are three that qualify as being unique.

What’s Central Park on the ocean really like?

The photos that follow will give you a taste. They’ve been around for almost five years, since Oasis arrived, so thousands of passengers have had their taste. Before we boarded Allure of the Seas, we wondered — frankly — how appealing we would find a miniature version of the real thing on a cruise ship.

It was one of our favorite places on the ship, and here’s why…

From our balcony, we always knew if there was a quiet place to sit (and there always seemed to be an available bench):

Central Park-10They weren’t the blue birds of paradise, but they were close:

Central Park-3This became a daily routine for breakfast, a classy buffet-style eatery with wonderful food:

Central Park-14An upscale restaurant that’s just a walk-in-the-park away:

Central Park-4Amazing artwork that provides a sharp contrast to all the greenery — and there’s a lot of that:

Central Park-1Even some kids, and characters from DreamWorks, who arrive for photo-ops every day and never keep the kids waiting in line:

Central Park-2These, folks, are real trees and assorted greenery that are cared for by a staff of three:

Central Park-6Where else on the Caribbean Sea would you find a Willow Leaf Ficus Tree?:

Central Park-8A park that’s big enough to have intersections:

Central Park-11Along with a path to a world-class steakhouse:

Central Park-5The glass doors give it more the feel of a “greenhouse” than a cruise ship:

Central Park-12Like all good parks, it’s quiet most of the time and a magnet for photographers. You just don’t expect to be able to enjoy that when you’re on a cruise ship.

Today at portsandbows.com: Holland American adds Caribbean ships

Holland America Westerdam
7 nights
November 15, 2014
Fort Lauderdale (return): Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Maarten, Half Moon Cay
Inside: $399
Cost per day: $57
www.hollandamerica.com

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