Family Fun on New Ships: 2009 (Part 3)

| July 20, 2009

The next generation of vessels has plenty of new options for kids and teens.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN -- Oasis of the Seas The year's most talked-about new ship will also be the most family-friendly when it debuts with a huge splash in late 2009. Weighing in at 220,000 tons, the world's largest ship will carry 5,400 passengers.

The Boardwalk "neighborhood" on Oasis will be geared toward families and teenagers. The centerpiece of the Boardwalk is an old-fashioned carousel with 21 animals to ride. In keeping with the Coney Island type Boardwalk theme, there will be a Madame Zamara's psychic and tattoo parlor as well as a specialty candy store, a children's retail spot, and a shop geared to teens. Many restaurants in the Boardwalk area appeal to families including Johnny Rockets, Boardwalk Donut Shop, Seafood Shack and an ice cream parlor.

Another unique neighborhood that will be popular with kids of all ages is the AquaTheater. The Boardwalk leads into the AquaTheater, located at the ship's stern. Modeled after Greek amphitheaters, this area features stadium-style seating for 700 people that leads down to an outdoor pool. This will be the largest pool at sea, measuring 21.9 feet by 51.6 feet. The pool's depth can rise or fall, so it can be used by day as a guest swimming pool and by night as an aquatic entertainment venue. There will be high diving boards for shows, and underwater cameras so performers' images can be projected onto two large screens next to the stage. Additionally, a huge trampoline between the two diving boards will permit gymnasts and aerialists to flip and dismount into the pool. A trapeze hanging behind the high diving boards can be used for more stunts.

Since Royal Caribbean's motto is "Get Out There," thrill-seekers can enjoy the ride of their life on a zip-line from high above the ship. Passengers get to zip nine decks above the open air Boardwalk atrium for a bird's eye view of all the action.

The Youth Zone covers a whopping 28,700 sq. ft. including Kids Avenue, a central boulevard connecting children with dedicated Adventure Ocean spaces and various theme play areas. Like other new Royal Caribbean ships, Oasis will have a dedicated youth or teen room for each age group: 3 to 5 years; 6 to 8 years; 9 to 11 years; 12 to 14; and 15 to 17 years.

A first for Royal Caribbean will be the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery. Little ones six months and older can be left in the care of trained professionals day and evening. Parent/child free play time sessions will also be offered through Fisher Price as in the past.

The new ship will offer a number of common play areas for kids, some of which have not been on other Royal Caribbean ships before, including: Kid's Arcade, a games arcade; Workshop, where families can learn scrapbooking techniques or create personalized jewelry; Imagination Studio, where children can create with Crayola products; a fully-equipped Adventure Science Lab; Play, a circular area for youngsters to participate in active games; and Adventure Ocean Theater, complete with a stage, curtains, audience seating and state-of-the-art production equipment. At the theater, children can participate in talent shows, theatrical productions or hip hop classes.

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