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11.19.2009




Oasis' Make-a-Wish Foundation Benefit

Today is Oasis Day!
Assuming you are reading this on schedule, then I am in Ft Lauderdale preparing myself to see the world's most exciting new ship to come along in my lifetime. That's right, as I was thinking of all the superlatives I could use for this ship, the "most exciting new ship of my lifetime" is what I decided upon, and to my way of thinking you can't say anything much of anything more exciting than that.

Oasis of the Seas is finally here, she is real and no longer just a concept - the biggest and most exciting cruise ship ever built. She is in Ft Lauderdale and ready to take on her first contingent of passengers; and I will be among them. Yes, being in the cruise media certainly has its perks, and they don't get much better than this one. Unless it was actually boarding the ship one night early to see the Rihanna concert they are holding onboard in the AquaTheater on Thursday night (11-19) - the night before my cruise. That will be the first official Oasis shipboard event ever.

But I will be boarding Oasis of the Seas on November 20th when she sails with her first group of real passengers ever. But this two-night trip is mostly for media and travel agents, and that really means just one full day to get a few pictures and sample the dining room food. I seriously doubt if all 5000 passengers will be invited to try the chic 150 Central Park restaurant either night - since it only holds 150 people.

I also doubt that we will see the much discussed first at sea production of the Broadway hit Hairspray, since it has already been announced the show won't be ready for the first media cruise due to some needed maintenance of stage rigging. I am hoping to see an AquaTheater show with its professional divers and acrobats on our two-night cruise, however. I am also hopeful of the opportunity to see the cool new Loft Suites with wall to wall and floor to ceiling glass windows two decks high for ocean views from nearly every square inch of the suite.

I know we will see the Boardwalk with the carousal, Dazzles Nightclub, Central Park and the grand new Royal Promenade which is longer, deeper, wider and taller than any of the previous Royal Promenades on any other Royal Caribbean ships. I will also be strolling through Central Park, with its live grass and trees full of Tivoli lights to illuminate the paths between al fresco dining spots.

Yes, I will be taking breaks to write down my impressions and upload pictures for your viewing pleasure. I do want to mention this however - this is just a two-day media cruise. They won't be serving the full menus in the restaurants and most of the stage shows will not be performed. But that is why I am also booked on the December 1st cruise as a regular passenger - the very first voyage for regular passengers the ship will make. We will be seeing all of the stage shows including Hairspray, the Comedy Club, the Studio B ice rink and I do have reservations for 150 Central Park, the first restaurant at sea ever to have a world-class executive chef actually working onboard the ship - designing the food and supervising its preparation. Now that is first-class cruising.

We will also be stopping at Labadee on this four-day cruise, the private island enclave belonging to Royal Caribbean with a roller coaster and one of the world's longest uninterrupted zip lines - over 2600 feet. Yes, Oasis is finally here, and I won't lie, I am excited. I have been looking forward to this event for nearly six years now, since they first announced the Genesis Project, the initial name for what they knew would become the largest cruise ship in the world.


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The Oasis Naming Ceremony
On Nov. 30th, a gala, star-studded launch party and one-night inaugural cruise of the much Oasis will raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation®, which grants wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Royal Caribbean is donating 100% of the proceeds of the sale of 1,000 staterooms to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

I was just informed that Royal Caribbean will have seven godmothers for Oasis - one for each neighborhood on the ship. Now that is a novel concept but this is a very unusual ship. The most I have ever seen is two godmothers, and they were more like "godsisters;" the Olsen Twins for the Holland America Zaandam.

But even better than seven godmothers, special guest Corbin Bleu of High School Musical will be onboard to grant the wishes of several wish children to want to meet him.

Per-person rates for the Make-A-Wish event/inaugural cruise begin at $500 each and up, depending on cabin category. Event packages are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

The Make-a-Wish Foundation is truly a very special organization. If you are waffling about trying Oasis of the Seas' first four-day cruise then this is the best reason yet to get onboard. If you sign up for the one-night gala naming ceremony you can also get a discount on the following inaugural 4-day cruise sailing December 1st that I am booked on. Anyone who books this charity event and sails on the four-day cruise is welcome to meet with me and I will buy you a drink.

Even for people only attending the one-night inaugural ceremony (November 30th) there will be onboard amenities open for your enjoyment including the rock-climbing walls; the zip line and carousel, the FlowRider surf simulators; four pools; the Vitality Spa and an acrobatic diving show in the AquaTheater. After a special dinner menu in the Opus Dining Room (certain event packages substitute that with the ship's specialty restaurants), you can visit the Opal Theater; see comics in Comedy Live; relax in a lounge or gamble in the Casino Royale.

Yes, the ship will set sail and go beyond the 12-mile limit so that the shops and casino will be open for the gala event. To make your reservations, and to find out more about the special pricing offered by Royal Caribbean for the four day sailing departing Dec. 1, contact Cynthia Paez at Royal Caribbean International, 1-877- 202-1520, ext. 12751, from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or e-mail Cynthia at cpaez@rccl.com. To find out more about this event, go to "All Hands on Deck" for the make-a-Wish Foundation.


Unwind in the Caribbean with a Holland America Line cruise from $599
Immerse yourself in the Caribbean with Holland America Line. Discover your award-winning private island Half Moon Cay, explore Mayan ruins and colonial cities, and enjoy a myriad of beach and water activities. View our special offers now.
Holland America Lines

Upgrading Our Message Boards
Our new message boards are finally online in a new formatI believe many cruisers will already find familiar. The format is called vBulletin. When the new boards come online on November 11th, our company also faced a very unusual cyber attack which we had to deal with. It made the launch of the new boards pretty tough for those of us trying to ease the process for you, our readers, but fortunately many of you have been able to get in without missing a beat.

If you do have any questions about our new boards they can be sent to customer-service@cruisemates.com. We can help you with passwords, but we will need to know your username or an email address you may have registered with.

Thank you - and we look forward to seeing you on our new message boards.

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