Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Billion Dollar Baby

Turku, October 31 It is the largest and most expensive cruise ship in the world, with a price tag of anywhere between 1.4 and 1.9 billion dollars. Oasis of the Seas, probably the most opulent passenger ship the world has ever seen, has sailed after it was handed over to the Royal Caribbean Cruiseline by STX's shipyard in Turku, Finland last week.

The luxurious Oasis of the Seas has a massive passenger capacity of 6360 and will carry 2160 crew. It has 2700 staterooms and 28 loft suites, the largest one with an 80 square metre balcony and a Jacuzzi. Sixteen decks high, with a LOA of 360m and a beam of 47m, it is the epitome of extravagance.

Other statistics are equally staggering: Twenty one swimming pools and an ice cube making capacity of 50 tonnes a day guarantee that guests are kept cool and refreshed. Other on board facilities include a casino, spa, shops and restaurants, pool surfing, rock climbing and a zip line. The liner has 5000 kilometers of electrical wiring, 90,000 m2 of carpeting, a science lab, twelve thousand plants including real trees and an aqua park. A veritable museum and cultural centre, with 7000 pieces of art on display, not to speak of the hosting of Broadway and ice shows, the 225,000 behemoth will carry its high living passengers at a speed of just over 20 knots.

It also has seven themed 'neighbourhoods', a new concept which allows passengers to choose their surroundings based on their personal preferences or moods. For example, one neighbourhood, Boardwalk, will take holidaymakers to the nostalgic seaside piers of their youth. The first amphitheatre at sea, AquaTheater, will be the biggest freshwater pool at sea, ever. This will be a pool and rock climbing area by day and a theatre by night. The Royal Promenade will have, in addition to the more common luxury features of present day ships, a skylight and a ' Rising Tide bar', which is a bar that will move between three decks of the ship, allowing customers to get on and off at different level promenades. There will also be a shopping mall, shops and cafes, a champagne bar and a horde of other coffee shops and salons. An 'adults only’ solarium at the bow will feature whirlpools. The sports deck will have basketball, two flowriders, two rock walls, "oasis dunes" and mini golf. An indoor theatre seats 1,300 guests.


Central Park

Amongst some other 'neighbourhoods, the Royal Promenade, Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Centre, Entertainment Place and Youth Zones will each offer a whole gamut of mind boggling activities in a setting of your choosing. If you want more excitement, you could always stroll in the first park at sea, or use a zip line that races diagonally nine decks above an open air atrium. Moreover, if you want to retire to your loft suite, you can enjoy panoramic views of the ocean with floor to ceiling windows.

Richard Fain, the chief executive of Royal Caribbean, told reporters at the launch, 'Part of the thought process of the ship is to overcome the old myths people have about cruising. It's very hard to look at a vessel like this and think that cruising is secondary when you can choose rock climbing, surfing or zip lining.'

The splendorous ship, that took two and a half years to build, is now en route from Turku to its home port of Fort Lauderdale in the US, where some further upgradation to its amenities will take place before it makes its 4 day maiden voyage to Labadee in Haiti on December 1. She will be cruising mainly in the Mediterranean thereafter, or at least until her equally lavish sister vessel, "Allure of the Seas" hits the waves in 2011.

As for the billion dollar question, “What will a trip on the most expensive luxury liner in the world cost? Well, as they say, "If you have to ask, you can't afford it."



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