Oasis of the Seas Takes Shipboard Entertainment to a New Dimension

The new ship being built for Royal Caribbean, Oasis of the Seas will feature a pool deck entertainment venue like nothing ever seen before on a cruise ship. Royal Caribbean ship designers have created the Aqua Theater for their new series of super-mega ships previously code named “Project Genesis.”

During the day the pool and surrounding tiered deck will serve in a conventional fashion allowing guest to swim and sun the day away. However, the venue transforms into theater for shows featuring acrobatic diving, trampolining, synchronized swimming, cascading fountains, and laser light displays. The pool will have an adjustable floor to allow for the needed greater depth for diving. The surrounding deck chairs become theater seats for the ship’s passengers. Royal Caribbean pioneered the “alternative” style entertainment venue with the first ever shipboard ice rink and ice show. This concept seems to take that idea even further.

The Shows
The shows sounds amazing, if it can live up to its hype. Circus style acrobatics delight and amuse people of all ages and backgrounds. On many ships, I’ve often had other passengers enthusiastically taking about how much they enjoyed the featured aerialists in the theater. The planned trampolining and acrobatics should bring about the same reaction from the crowds. The synchronized swimming, an increasingly popular spectator sport, should be a hit with the shipboard audiences. Cirque de Solie features synchronized swimming in its “O” production. Several, other Vegas venues have also featured synchronized swimming in their shows or special events. Finally, this planned production takes another cue from Vegas and Disney with the planned light and water shows. Tourists from around the World gather in front of the Bellagio Hotel to see the cascading fountains shows. Disney features shows using lights and water in many of their parks. Passengers looking for something totally different and innovative on a cruise ship will certainly find it in this venue.

Will I be there?
As a cruise traditionalist, I have been hesitant to cruise one of these mega liners. They do feature many more options and attractions, but I still prefer the intimacy and charm of the smaller vessels. I’m also concerned about crowds aboard a ship that will hold over 5000 passengers. I’m just a little worried that it might seem more like a trip to an amusement park during prime season, than a relaxing get away.

We went to Disney World during the summer three yeas ago. Long lines and crowds required careful by the minute planning in order to ensure we could do as many activities as possible at the different parks. One of the joys of traditional cruising is not having to worry or plan anything. Passengers can show up for their dinner seating, and their table and wait staff are waiting for them. The shows and evening activities are planned around meal times, so passengers can do as little or as much as they like without having to plan and schedule every activity.

By contrast, to use the Disney World vacation as an example, we actually made dinner reservations 6 weeks in advanced so that we could take advantage of a special package providing dinner and reserved seating for the popular light, water, music and character show “Fantasmics” at the Disney MGM Studios park. Without those special reserved seats we would have had to arrive 2 hours early to the show’s grandstand in order to guarantee seating for the show.

I can’t imagine that the crowds, even on a cruise ship this big, would affect planning and scheduling as much as they did for our Disney World trip. Lets face it, Disney parks could have over 100,000 people visit in a day, compared to Oasis of the Seas’ about 5000 passengers. It won’t be as crowded, but I have to think that crowding will factor into certain venues, especially ones like this that will be sure to be popular with passengers. I can’t wait to hear back from passengers who love the Mega Ship experience. I’m sure that they will enjoy this innovative entertainment experience.

In the meantime you’ll still probably find me on smaller ships enjoying a more subdued vacation.