Tweet (6:22 p.m. EDT) -- It's hard to believe that nearly a year has passed since Oasis of the Seas mania took over the seawaves. The 225,282-ton, 5,400-passenger cruise ship debuted after months -- actually, years! -- of hype, brimming with first-in-cruise features like the lush, tree-filled Central Park neighborhood; an outdoor boardwalk with an aquatic amphitheater and real, wooden carousel; numerous new restaurants; and even its own Broadway show, "Hairspray."
But with nine months at sea, we want to know: How well is Oasis carrying the mantle of largest and most innovative cruise ship ever built? Is it still commanding the incredible price points it did when it debuted? And what can you expect from Oasis' equally sizeable sister ship Allure of the Seas (pictured above at the shipyard), due out in just a few months?
We'll actually be sneaking a peek at Allure in Finland this week (more on that later)! But first, let's take a look back at Oasis:
What You're Saying
To date, Cruise Critic readers have submitted nearly 200 reviews of cruises onboard Oasis. While the majority are overwhelming positive -- check out this sea of five and five-plus ratings -- there's a handful of two- and three-star reviews as well. A few worth checking out:
One of the very first. Member cruisinisforme writes from an Oasis pre-inaugural cruise to nowhere, "My overall impression of this ship is 'WOW' I honestly loved every second on it ... Even if you prefer the smaller ships (which I personally do sometimes) there is no way you cannot enjoy the time you spend on this wonderful ship and all that it has to offer."
One of the funniest. There are many decent "size does matter" jokes throughout, but we also love member benmon's witty five-plus-ribbon review: "Dinner usually took about 2 hours and that's ok. But all the shows start at 10:30 so since the theater is about 2 miles away from the dining room you had to catch a cab. Well run like your trying to catch a cab or wishing you could catch a cab, or the L train."
One of the less glowing. Again, some members, like fcombs, weren't overwhelmed: "This ship is impressive to look at, and if it was my first cruise, I'd probably be blown away, but if you are a veteran cruiser, I just don't see how you could like this one. Nothing we like about cruising was there ... I hope they don't go bigger because they can't handle this crowd."
One from the Cruise Critic staff. Last but not least, of course, is our professional review of the ship. Cruise Critic's Editor in Chief Carolyn Spencer Brown reports, "Its innovations -- such as the first-ever Boardwalk and Central Park at sea, which uniquely occupy space that's carved out of the middle of the ship -- are already legendary."
Read 185+ Oasis of the Seas Reviews
What You're Paying
Are the days of peak summer sailings priced as high as $1,739 per person -- for an inside cabin -- behind us? Prices are definitely coming down. Earlier this year, we spotted April and May cruises on sale from $899. Today, we priced out an April 23, 2011, weeklong cruise to the Western Caribbean at $849 and the following week, in the Eastern Caribbean, $949. And you can snag a deal on upcoming fall cruises because, well, it's hurricane season.
But you'll still have to shell out for peak sailings -- Oasis' 2010 Christmas cruise starts from $1,599 (though it's worth noting that we spotted the same cruise just a month ago for $1,999).
Now the question is whether Oasis of the Seas' younger sister Allure, a near identical copy to Oasis (save for a few changes) debuting in November, will command an even lower price point because it's the second of two. So far, it's a close race. January 2011 Oasis cruises start from $999 while sailings during the same period on the brand-new Allure start from $949. June cruises on either ship start from the same price: $1,299.
Just remember that fares can change at any time; we'll be watching for price drops and trends.
Find Oasis and Other Royal Caribbean Cruise Deals
What Comes Next?
Speaking of Allure of the Seas, we are currently winging our way to Finland for a sneak peek of the almost-finished vessel at the shipyard in Turku. We'll be touring Allure on Wednesday, September 1, so stay tuned to Cruise Critic for coverage including:
Fresh photos of the ship, both inside and out
Insights on what to expect onboard … and how much work is left to be done
And whatever news we can arm-wrestle Royal Caribbean into sharing!
What are you excited about? Join the conversation in our dedicated Allure of the Seas forum!
--by Melissa Paloti, Managing Editor
Photo appears courtesy of Erica Silverstein.
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Oasis of the Seas, (Almost) a Year In -- Plus a Sneak Peek at Allure!
August 30, 2010