This week, Cruise Critic's Editor in Chief Carolyn Spencer Brown is in Finland visiting Oasis of the Seas, the most innovative ship of our time, in the final throes of construction at Turku's STX Europe shipyard, and scarfing down cupcakes with Royal Caribbean execs. She's working around the clock, but are the rest of us jealous? Maybe just a little bit! Office hijinks ensued when an, ahem, blow-up ship showed up for work at Cruise Critic's main headquarters in New Jersey -- consider it our consolation prize.
Of course, we're not having all of the fun. Cruise Critic members are in on it, too! In addition to virtually joining Carolyn on her journey -- via a live blog with photos and videos straight from the scene -- you've all been stirring up Oasis fever by participating in fun games, polls and contests on the site. Even among those for whom Oasis is too big or too much, its construction and impending launch are hot topics.
Here are some highlights:
Poetry in Motion
We asked you to wax poetic about Oasis of the Seas by writing cruise haikus -- and participating in a Mad Libs-style fill-in-the-blank game -- on Twitter and Facebook (our challenge: "I love _________ about Oasis but could do without _________"). Your gems?
"I love everything about @OasisandAllure but could do without the zip-line!" - @CruisingGranny, via Twitter
"I love everything about Oasis and Allure but could do without Johnny Rockets." - Karen Knopff, via Facebook
"Oasis too big? / Five thousand plus guests onboard / Not for me, thank you" - @Ladewig, via Twitter
Our lyricists will be gifted with a fancy Cruise Critic logo tee!
Yesterday, green with envy over our editor's trip, we spent the day with the next best thing -- Inflatable of the Seas! Pictures posted on our Royal Caribbean forum inspired members to share their funny photos, too. Here's a sampling:
Mouse over for a caption; click to see it larger. Cruise Critic members Cruiserccl, elizanessie, EVALUATOR and kthy66 will get snazzy T-shirts as thanks!
Throughout our week of blogging, and photo and video coverage, nearly 300 of you responded to our poll asking which Oasis features you're most excited about. Here's a snapshot of the results:
The majority of respondents, a whopping 49 percent, selected the Boardwalk neighborhood with its AquaTheater as the feature they're most excited about. Second runner up: Central Park! Thirty-seven percent of respondents checked off this new area as one of their favorites.
Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean Oasis' other features are any less exciting. In fact, the "All of the above, silly!" option snagged the third-largest piece of the vote pie with 34 percent. A healthy 29 percent of you want to try onboard zip-lining, while 31 percent are craving a cocktail in cruising's first mobile bar, the Rising Tide.
Where do you want to sleep? With 14 percent of the vote, loft-style cabins beat out both Central Park-facing staterooms (13 percent) and Boardwalk cabins overlooking the carousel (10 percent).
In general, food-related options netted fewer direct votes, with 150 Central Park, Giovanni's Table and Asian-fusion Izumi chosen by 11, 10 and 9 percent of respondents respectively. Perhaps with so much else to do and see onboard, folks have decided there simply won't be enough time to eat!
Haven't weighed in yet? There's still time to vote!
Stay tuned for more insights, live from Finland, tomorrow -- we're still taking and answering questions on our blog!
--by Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor
Image of Richard Fain eating cupcakes appears courtesy of Carolyn Spencer Brown.