Story by David G. Molyneaux, editor, TheTravelMavens.com
"Midnight at the Oasis, send your camel to bed
Shadows painting our faces, traces of romance in our heads
Heaven's holding a half moon, shining just for us
Let's slip off to a sand dune, real soon, kick up a little dust."
Or so I was singing (thank you writer David Nichtern), long about midnight, on the amazing new Oasis of the Seas.
Camels? Sand dunes? Dust?
No. But romance was in the salt sea air.
We were sailing off the coast of Florida. Most
passengers had returned to their pillows, and the largest cruise ship ever
-- a bustling, floating mall of bars (including the Rising Tide, right), shops, restaurants, and sporty
diversions such as a zipline -- grew quieter in the early morning,
moonlit shadows, like a big city at rest for a few hours before the
tumult of a new day.
Now, finally, the big ship was mine. And I went for a long walk.
- To the top decks with the zipline platform, miniature golf and two FlowRiders to surf on;
- Past four swimming pools, including one for adults with six whirlpools, a Youth Zone with 28,700 square feet, and an open air Solarium;
- Through Central Park on Deck 8, which is open to the sky high above. A few couples strolled arm and arm amid 1,200 plants, trees, flowers and a group of restaurants, including 150 Central Park, advertising a 10-course tasting menu by Chef Keriann Von Raesfeld for $35 per person.
- Along the Boardwalk, past a hand-crafted carousel with 200 light bulbs, to the AquaTheater, with 600 seats and a diving platform 72 feet high.
- To the Prominade, where Scott Perham sang a soft "Take it Easy" by the Eagles, where the Rising Tide Bar rises two decks to Central Park, and the Cupcake Cupboard sells its stock for $2.50 each.
There's more to explore, and that's the point on a ship with 2,700 passenger cabins housing 6,296 beds, and another 2,165 beds for crew, enough to carry most of my hometown of Oberlin, Ohio.
could take a week's cruise on Oasis of the Seas and still not
experience all of the places to eat (25), drink (37, including the Globe and Atlas pub, left) or play a slot
Yet, the beauty of the largest cruise ship in the world is that you can find your own nook or cranny for romance. And take a midnight walk to claim your place.
As Maria Muldaur sang in "Midnight at the Oasis (1974)"
"I know your daddy's a sultan, a nomad known to all
With fifty girls to attend him, they all send him, jump at his beck and call
But you won’t need no harem, honey, when I'm by your side
And you won't need no
camel, oh no, when I take you for a ride."
Oasis of Seas will take you for a ride weekly, on Saturdays, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to St. Thomas; St. Maarten, and Nassau. Prices start at about $1,100 per person for two people in an inside cabin. Royal Caribbean has set higher rates for Oasis of the Seas than on its other ships.