Tag-Archive for » Oasis Class «

Friday File: Making Of A Cruise Ship

It's rare that most of us get a chance to see a cruise ship under construction, even in pictures. Royal Caribbean's third Oasis Class ship will be Harmony of the Seas, currently being built at the STX Shipyard in France. Below is what it looks like now, precisely one year before it opens for business, in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea…

Harmony-1

An aerial view of the new ship before taking a bow.

Harmony-2

A close-up of the bow, on which its name is already visible.

Harmony-3

Soccer players get ‘capped’ internationally…as do cruise ships.

Harmony-4

Appears it’ll be ready sooner than May 2016, don’t you think?

Harmony-5

What the artist thinks Harmony will look like when she’s done.

Oasis

And if Harmony’s like the mother ship, you won’t know her from Oasis!

In the news…

• Puerto Vallarta expecting visits from 131 ships this year, up 16 per cent
• Norwegian introduces specialty dining package starting at $59 for three days
• Chinese cruise market close to hitting a ceiling; Caribbean looking stronger

Today at portsandbows.com: Carnival's new policy on bringing drinks aboard

Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam
7 nights
November 29, 2015
Fort Lauderdale (return): Half Moon Cay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Key West
Inside: $482
Cost per day: $68
www.hollandamerica.com

Friday File: Allure of the Seas

shipEven after the arrival of its stablemate Anthem of the Seas this weekend, Allure of the Seas will remain the biggest cruise ship in the world (a couple of inches longer than Oasis of the Seas). Some passengers think it’s also the best big cruise ship in the world and after seeing our photos from cruising on her, maybe you’ll have a better idea why…

bar that moves

When “The Rising Tide” is good, because it’s a bar that spans three decks.

parade - fiona and shreck

Fiona and Shrek captivate onlookers during the Royal Promenade parade.

johnny rocket's

Almost every ship has a hamburger joint…here that's Johnny Rockets. 

flo rider

If you think FlowRider is a surf simulator solely for kids…well, it’s not.

kids water park

This water park IS solely for kids, the most colorful if not most creative.

central park

This could be a garden spot on land, but in reality it’s Central Park at sea.

cupcakes

A whole shop devoted to cupcakes, now a Royal Caribbean specialty.

directions

The best multi-lingual way we’ve seen to keep walkers and joggers apart.

mini golf

The golfers would count this mini-putt among the most interesting at sea.

park cafe

Ideal breakfast — lots of choices and space…best of all, nice and quiet.

pool deck

When space isn’t at a premium on big ships, it isn’t around the pools either.

wine bar

Unassuming and tasteful, the wine stop on Allure of the Seas.

Today at portsandbows.com: Carnival Live's line-up for 2015

Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam
12 nights
June 9, 2015
Venice (return): Athens, Istanbul, Lesbos, Ephesus, Santorini, Olympia, Argostoli
Inside: $899
Cost per day: $74
www.hollandamerica.com

More ships, voyages for Windstar

Windstar, the yacht-style cruise line that has grown from bankruptcy four years ago to a fleet of six ships by summer, has unveiled its collection of voyages for 2016…There are 11 new ones and 30 new ports that Windstar ships will visit, all of it made possible by the addition of the Star Breeze and Star Legend this spring, following appropriate Star Priderefurbishment…Until they go into drydock, the ships will continue sailing as the Seabourn Spirit and Seabourn Legend…Then they’ll join another former Seabourn ship, now Windstar’s Star Pride (above), which has been flying under the new cruise flag for almost a year…The most intriguing of the new itineraries is a circumnavigation of Iceland on the Star Legend, from Reykjavik to Reykjavik in seven days at the beginning of July (least amount of ice?)…The fare is currently listed at $3,399 per person.

Richard BransonWhen our colleague Phil Reimer was writing about Richard Branson and his Virgin Cruises of the future last week, another layer of the story was unfolding…Colin Veitch, the former Norwegian executive whom Branson recruited to be a founding partner, is suing the magnetic entrepreneur because he claims he could’ve made $315 million before Branson dumped him…The suit is based on Veitch’s contention that it was his financing plan Branson used to start the new venture, which will apparently start with a pair of 4,200-passenger ships designed to attract young travelers…The question about the concept is this: Are there enough “young travelers” with enough vacation time to keep two big ships full year-round.

The folks who live and work around the cruise ship terminal in Fort Lauderdale have been used to seeing the twin towers of cruising, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, coming and going on alternating weeks…Oasis is moving to Port Canaveral next year, following the cruise line’s investment in a new terminal that opened in December…It will be replaced in Fort Lauderdale by Harmony of the Seas, the third Oasis - LabadeeOasis Class ship that will arrive next fall, so maybe the people who live and work around the Port Everglades terminal won’t even notice that Oasis is gone — unless they read the bold type on the side of the ship.

On the theory that there’s strength in numbers, seven Indian Ocean islands are sending representatives to wherever cruise executives gather to generate business for their ports…The seven include the Seychelles, Madagascar, Mauritius, Maldives and three most of us have never heard of, let alone visited…This month, they were at a tourism trade fair in Germany and managed to convince Costa Cruises to consider having more of a presence in the islands, which its ships visit, and to give residents a chance to board ships for round-the-islands cruises…The islanders are offering pre- and post-cruise shore excursions that include an African safari…Geography is perhaps the biggest problem — the islands are in the same hemisphere as Somalia…Can you say “pirates?”

Today at portsandbows.com: Royal Caribbean's next biggest ship coming

Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas
4 nights
August 24, 2015
Miami (return): Nassau, Coco Cay, Key West
Inside: $219
Cost per day: $54
www.royalcaribbean.com

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

Hotel Director As Great As His Ships

There are people in the Royal Caribbean family who firmly believe that Raimund Gschaider is the “hotel director of all hotel directors” and that’s at least part of the reason why his workplace is known as Allure of the Seas. So in our ongoing quest to provide you with the human-interest side of people on cruise ships, we sat in the hotel director office of all hotel director offices with that in mind.

It quickly became clear that Raimund is more at ease and more animated in talking about his offspring than himself.

The offspring that weighs 100,000 tons.

Yes, Allure of the Seas and her older sibling, Oasis of the Seas. In the years he spent preparing for, participating in and celebrating their arrivals, it’s entirely possible he did feel like he’d been giving birth.

“It takes a lot out of you,” he says. “It is your sole force. That is very demanding, and very rewarding and very amazing, for all the right reasons, but it keeps you involved Raimund Gschaiderall the time. You don’t have the same down time. I recommend it to anybody. Very few get to take part in something that is revolutionizing an industry.”

And now that the big ships are three and four years old, he is like any proud parent.

“Once you’ve been on an Oasis Class ship, it’s difficult to go on any other ship,” adds Gschaider, who has worked for Royal Caribbean for 31 years, the last two decades as a hotel director on ships. “It is a most amazing property. It has everything. It simply has everything. There are so many options, and so much space. Everything on the ship is decentralized. It’s such an open place…less density than on any other ship.”

And there’s more:

“It’s a great destination that takes you to great destinations. It has more than Vegas, Orlando, the Caribbean and New York can offer you — a little bit of everything for everyone. Everybody has a space and a place on board. More experience and activities and culinary options…more to do, even on a rainy  day. You have so much more to do so much more — Broadway, aqua shows, Shrek, Dreamworks…”

And he’s still getting warmed up.

“There are six different pool areas. Go from the top down and see who’s where. There’s a different energy level in each area. It’s magic, pure magic. It’s like going to five different parts of a city. That is what these ships are. Even when we started, I was blown away.”

Raimund, as he is widely known, was the project director for both ships. He was responsible for, among other things, the organizational chart that made sure the right people were in the right places on a ship with a bigger population than many towns. Having started working on cruise ships as a waiter after leaving his native Austria, Gschaider was promoted to restaurant manager at 26. His next step up was food and beverage manager, on the way to managing 2,160 crew members.

What makes a hotel manager so good…or a good hotel manager?

“On a cruise ship, you’re dealing in a very dynamic environment,” he explains. “There’s a structured element to it. You have to be quick to react to all circumstances, but you are surrounded by an amazing group of people who share my passion to provide great vacations. We are all here to make that happen. It’s not the ‘me’…it’s the ‘we’.”

Gschaider was in Finland when the first plate was cut for Oasis of the Seas, which floated out in 2010. He was there for Allure of the Seas, which arrived a year later. He won’t be there for the arrival of Quantum of the Seas this fall, and not for two more Oasis Class ships expected in 2017 and 2018 (I’m too old for that”). Those ships are following in a wake created by Oasis and Allure.

Expectations were exceeded.

“Absolutely!,” he says emphatically. “And EVERYBODY will tell you that. Richard Fain [Royal Caribbean's CEO] mentioned that when he ordered the fourth ship.”

There is, of course, a human interest side to Raimund Gschaider. He worked at the Four Seasons in St. Moritz after attending hospitality school and before attending business school in Salzburg. He now lives in Miami. He has two 30-something sons who live in London. He and his wife like to vacation in beautiful places and golf courses are personal magnets.

“My wife is taking lessons,” he says. “I’ve had my share of lessons and I’m no good either. When I’m off, I play two or three times a week…when I’m working, two or three times in four months.”

Working, after all, means looking after one big family.

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Celebrity Equinox
11 nights
December 1, 2014
Fort Lauderdale (return): Grand Cayman, Cartagena, Colon, Puerto Limon, Belize, Cozumel
Inside $1,054
Cost per day: $95
www.celebritycruises.com

  • Categories

  • Archives