(4 p.m. EST) -- Are you a die-hard Oasis of the Seas or Royal Caribbean fan? Do you simply have a thing for new ships? And -- perhaps more importantly -- can you get to Fort Lauderdale on Friday? Because it may be absolutely essential for you to watch the world's largest cruise ship ever sail into its U.S. homeport waters for the first time on November 13.
According to Royal Caribbean, Oasis will be visible from shore as early as 6:30 a.m. EST on Friday, will arrive at the mouth of the inlet at approximately 8 a.m., and will dock at Port Everglades' Terminal 18 around 9 a.m. The atmosphere will be festive, and Royal Caribbean is even throwing a party for onlookers. If you want to brave the early-morning wake-up call and the crowds, here's the skinny on where you can go to watch the ship come in.
The official Royal Caribbean welcome party will be held from 7 until 10 a.m. at the Jetty Pavilion of the John U. Lloyd Beach State Park in Dania Beach. You can park in Lot 5 and can enter the park, free of charge, between the hours of 7 and 8 a.m. There will be refreshments and giveaways.
Another viewing spot is the 17th Street Causeway Bridge. Member InletCam, who lives in the area, says that there is pay parking underneath the bridge and in other nearby locations. While views may be limited, onlookers should be able to see Oasis of the Seas docking.
The South Jetty on Fort Lauderdale Beach is an additional vantage point.
Oasis enthusiasts should know that there are a couple of places not to go. For security reasons, you cannot watch the ship from inside the port. In addition, Cruise Critic member InletCam, who will be videoing the ship's arrival from his home right on the water and broadcasting it via Web cam, mentions that his neighborhood, North Inlet, has strict parking rules -- so check before you go.
Will you be up early for the festivities? Let us know where you'll be when Oasis of the Seas first arrives in Fort Lauderdale. And, if you can't watch it live and in person, hook up with InletCam for remote viewing, via Web cam.
--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor
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Watch Oasis of the Seas Cruise into Town on Friday!
November 10, 2009