(5:50 p.m. EDT) -- The world's largest cruise ship is out to prove it has an equally outsized, albeit steel, heart.
Royal Caribbean has donated 1,000 of the 2,700 cabins on the 225,282-ton, 5,400-passenger Oasis of the Seas to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for a special one-night cruise on November 30. The cruise will depart after the ship's christening, scheduled for the same day. Cabins are available to the public, and 100 percent of the proceeds from sales (tickets and onboard spend) will benefit the nonprofit organization, which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Royal Caribbean will also match whatever Make-A-Wish raises.
All of the massive ship's innovative features and amenities, such as the zip-line, carousel, all restaurants, bars and casino, will be open during the one-night cruise to nowhere. In addition, wishes will be granted onboard for a handful of local "Wish kids" from South Florida. The godmother of Oasis of the Seas -- whose name has not been announced to the public -- and special guests will also be aboard.
Celebrities who have donated their time to Make-A-Wish include golf phenom Annika Sorenstam and actress Jennifer Garner -- both active sorts who'd fit the bill as Oasis' godmother. We have no inside scoop on who the godmother will be, but we do know that Make-A-Wish will have representatives at the naming ceremony. For more celebrities affiliated with the organization, check out the Celebrity Hall of Fame.
Royal Caribbean's association with Make-A-Wish runs deep, with a number of wish kids cruising on Royal Caribbean and (sister line) Celebrity Cruises ships. Royal Caribbean has contributed more than $2.8 million in in-kind services and $372,000 in discount savings through its Wishes at Sea program. For example, 11-year-old Zak had his wish come true when he became a chef on a cruise ship (Celebrity Century). From his story: "Zak was fitted for his very own chef's uniform, which included a hat and neckerchief. Zak was equally awed by the gigantic kitchen and the kitchen staff of 150 top professionals." You can read more of Zak's story and other cruise wish stories here.
Per-person rates for the Make-A-Wish event begin at $750 each for the one night event (prices are based on double occupancy), which includes tickets to the naming ceremony. Those interested in booking cabins are asked to contact Royal Caribbean's Cynthia Paez at 877-202-1520, ext. 12751.
Interestingly, anyone who books a cabin on the one-night fundraiser cruise will have a shot to lock up space at a discount on the very next sailing, a four-night pre-inaugural cruise departing on December 1. Surprisingly, Royal Caribbean's Paez tells us, "We still have a good amount to sell." Per-person rates for the four-night cruise begin at $650 each and up (again based on double occupancy and cabin package).
The "official" maiden voyage, a seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise, will follow on December 5. Like the pre-inaugural, cabins in most major categories are still available -- though they're not cheap. A quick check on Expedia had a Boardwalk Balcony cabin at just under $2,000 per person.
--by Dan Askin, Associate Editor
Editor's Note: Cruise Critic is a member of the TripAdvisor Media Network, an operating company of Expedia, Inc. Expedia, Inc. also owns Expedia.com.
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Royal Caribbean, Make-A-Wish Team Up for Oasis Cruise
September 23, 2009