Monday, November 23, 2009

Can You Feel the Love Tonight

The entertainment in the Opus Theater was Jonathan Kane, an Elton John impersonator who was spot on! Really, really good! Having seen Elton John in concert, Kane has the singer’s mannerisms down pat. The back up band was stellar as well. The main stage also offers two monitors, so while “Elton” was singing Candle in the Wind, a montage of Marilyn Monroe footage was playing. Then there was the “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” duet “Elton” did with KeKe Dee who appeared on video. Not sure how I feel about that. Kind of cheesy. But, at the end of the concert, the audience got to head on stage to dance. Gala was one of the first ones out of her seat! I’ll post pictures as soon as I can! So much to do that it’s hard to find time to blog.

Safety First

We had our obligatory safety drill just before departing. Each guests SailAway card has their lifeboat section written on it, so it’s easy to know where to go – nothing to remember. My is F4, so I headed to the Opus Dining Room on the 5th floor to watch a safety video (the audio ran out for part about a minute). Not that I’m a glass-half-empty kind of person, but I have no idea how 6K people would get off this ship in a timely manner. It was pretty tough with the 3,500 folks here are on board now. My friend Sarah, who’s a former cruise line worker, had this advice for me before I left: “Know where every exit is, because that ship is a disaster waiting to happen.” I hope that never happens. Here’s my glass-half-full reaction… didn’t it take the Titanic 3 hours to sink? Hopefully, that would be enough time to get passengers on lifeboats!

Dining at Sea

We had an early dinner seating at 6:30pm Sunday in the Opus Dinning Room. It’s a three story room with a massively beautiful crystal chandelier. The staff is pretty attentive. The chef’s menu included lamb shank with rosemary and mashed potatoes. I chose an appetizer of tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto with EVOO and Balsamic vinegar. Not bad, but tomatoes needed to be riper. Should have just had a mixed green salad. My Angus steak wasn’t too bad, and Gala’s cod looked very tasty, as did Shannon’s chicken marsalla. For dessert, its angel food cake, which was a bit of a disappointment. It’s better at Publix. But, there is a wide range of offerings, including healthier offering that are part of the ship’s Vitality plan.

Who Am I With?

So, who am I onboard with? There are about 3,500 people on this Cruise to Nowhere. A combination of media folks like me, travel agents, Royal Caribbean executives from around the world and preferred guests. There’s also a celebrity or two- if you can call the lady from The Little People a celebrity.

We’ve docked 12 miles out to sea so we can fully enjoy the amenities that the Oasis has to offer. And let me tell you, you’ll never be bored. From enjoying the outdoor beauty of Central Park to learning to boogie board and surf to riding a carousel in the Boardwalk. Even zip lining! Which I won’t be trying, due to my aversion to heights. Oh yeah, there’s a spa and a fitness center. Last night after dinner, my cabin mate, Shannon, and I found a running track. Two-point-four laps equals a mile, or if you’re really industrious, you can do a 5K. With only 36 hours on board, I’m having a hard time deciding what to do!

The other folks I’m traveling with are Gala and Doug Reitz, and Gala’s daughter, Shannon. Gala and Doug (a pilot with American Airlines) run A Travel Crew travel agency; and Shannon runs a travel agency as well (I think it’s called My Travel Paradise. Not sure, but Wynonna Judd is following her on Twitter!). Both agencies are affiliated with YTB. Gala graciously invited me on this great cruise, and I’m most appreciative!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ready to Set Sail!

All I can say about this ship is WOW! It’s Massive with a capital M. After arriving at Port 18 at Port Everglades, built just to accommodate the Oasis of the Seas, my three other traveling companions climbed the kinda steep ramp to enter the mammoth ship. There certainly is a great deal of anticipation for the Oasis. Everyone is friendly, from the Broward County Sheriff deputy waving us through security at the port entrance to the Royal Caribbean staff welcoming us aboard.

As we arrive on deck 5, we’re greeted by the smell of Sorrento’s Pizza (which is enticing, since it was 12:30 and I was hungry!). We’re in full view of a cupcake store, Irish pub, and sandwich shop. After my cabin mate, Shannon and I find our stateroom on the 9th deck, we check out the balcony, the bathroom (small), throw our bags down, head downstairs for a slice or two of pizza, then decide the Champagne Bar is too good to miss. A whole bar dedicated to my favorite beverage! One this inaugural cruise, there’s just one brand offered, but for paying customers, there will be a whole menu of choices. Two Kir Royales later, we stroll towards the Boardwalk to see the Carousel, rock climbing wall, and Aqua Theater – where it looks like workers are putting the finishing touches on the floor. I read The Oasis will have water shows featuring Olympic and college synchronized swimmers. I’m thinking a modern-day version of one of those Esther Williams’ shows.

The only snag so far is the stateroom Gala and Doug – my two other traveling companions-hadn’t been vacated yet. Guess the guests on the last Cruise to Nowhere didn’t want to leave! But Guest Services fixed the problem rather quickly, and escorted them to their new stateroom.

Shannon and I have been on a quest to find the ice skating rink. It’s on deck 4, but we have to wait until tomorrow to actually skate – and that’s not a definitely. We’ll see.

Well, I’ve been on the ship for more than 3 hours. Just about time for our emergency drill and then the sail away party! Lots of fun still to enjoy. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Getting Excited

I've been doing my research to prepare for my Oasis of the Seas ship. So much to do and see! There's an ice skating rink with professional skating shows along with open skate time! On a cruise ship! In Florida! can you believe it? Maybe I'll lace up and hit the ice to work off the great food I'll be eating! There are 24 restaurants onboard. You read right! Many are complimentary and included in your ticket. There's even a snack bar offering healthy alternatives that's free.  Other restaurants charge as much as $35 to enjoy a specialty dining experience. Which isn't bad if you have a special occassion to celebrate. I'll definately be visiting one of them. Maybe the one that features spa cuisine. Of course, if I go skating, calories be damned!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

7 Days and Counting!

Cannot wait to board the Oasis of the Seas! Did you see the reports on Good Morning America on Friday the 13th as the world's largest cruise ship arrived in Port Everglades? What a treat to be aboard for one of the ship's maiden voyages.

I'll be joining my friends, travel agents Gala and Doug Reitz of A Travel Crew ( and their daughter Shannon (my cabin mate) one week from today. We'll leave Ft. Lauderdale for our 3 day, 2 night Cruise to Nowhere. It's a sneak peak of the Oasis of the Seas before she's takes public (and paying) passengers on December 1.

After checking out the website,, my head is spinning with all the activities I can choose from! This is only my second cruise, so I a little overwhelmed looking at what's available! I think I'll to learn how to surf in the wavepool.

This week, I'll be doing the typical pre-trip laundry and packing, as well as making sure wi-fi is available so that you can follow my blog and Twitter posts. This is my first time blogging and twittering, so if you have any suggestions- feel freel to pass them on! Got a question about the ship, or an activity you want me to try? Let me know! 
Until next time, Happy Voyages!