Big Ships: Oasis of the Seas & Norwegian Epic

By Jennifer Crivelli, Cruise Consultant, The Cruise Web.

READY, GET SET, GO! The race is on to see which cruise line can launch the biggest ship with the most attractions at sea. It all began with White Star Line in 1912, who at the time decided to build the “Grandest” passenger ship at sea. Ship building has come a long way in 97 years….

In the modern era of “BIG” ships, Royal Caribbean has led the way. Each ship designed is bigger and better than the last, and traditionally, the largest ship in the industry. Royal Caribbean was the first to offer rock-climbing walls on all of their ships. In early 2005, Royal Caribbean took the “BIG” ship idea to the extreme, when they stretched the Enchantment of the Seas, adding a 70 foot section into the middle of the vessel. Then again, with the launch of Voyager of the Seas, Royal Caribbean added the Royal Promenade (Main Street at sea), an ice-skating rink and miniature golf. In 2006, the launch of Freedom of the Seas drew attention worldwide. Again, the largest passenger ship to enter the industry, Freedom added to the amenities of Voyager of the Seas, featuring the Flow Rider on board surfing, H2O Zone aqua park, full-sized Boxing Ring, and suites exceeding 1,400 sq. ft.

And, if that is not enough, here come the two newest ships in the industry. Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas sails her maiden voyage December 1, 2009. Norwegian Cruise Lines is also getting ready to launch the Norwegian Epic, she begins service on July 17, 2010! Both ships will sail year-round out of Florida featuring 7-Night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. So, how do you choose?

Two comments that I often get from cruisers, new and experienced, are: “I’m afraid I will be bored on the ship” or “Each member of the family wants to go somewhere different”. Allow me to use the later as a reference point to highlight the features of these new ships.

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Example One:

A family of 4 is searching for the perfect summer vacation. Mom wants to go to New York City, relax, visit Central Park and see a Broadway Show. Dad wants to head west to California to take up surfing. The oldest child, wants to go rock climbing in the Rockies and spend some time getting ready for the upcoming high school sports seasons. His younger sister wants to spend time at the beach working on her tan, visit the boardwalk, and get some cotton candy. How will they possibly decide?

My recommendation – Oasis of the Seas!
• Mom can visit Central Park right on Deck 8, complete with live trees, gardens, and Al Fresco dining. In the evening, she can attend the Broadway Musical “Hair Spray” being featured on board in the Opal Theater. She can even visit the Vitally at Sea Day Spa to enjoy a massage or facial.
• Dad can spend his days at sea on Deck 16, practicing his surfing on the Flow Rider.
• Who wants to climb a mountain, when you can climb a 30 foot rock wall a hundred feet above the ocean and there is even a Zip Line on Deck 16. Sports practice is not a problem either. Oasis of the Seas has a full-sized basketball / volley court, fitness center, and much more in the Sports Zone.
• Isn’t the best part of the beach the cotton candy on the boardwalk? Not to worry, Oasis of the Seas has a boardwalk, complete with cotton candy vendors and a full sized carousel. Sis can lounge by one of the four (that’s right, 4) pools and work on her tan, or enjoy one of the many Caribbean beaches featured in the ports-of-call.
And, with all the stateroom choices – the family can divide into two staterooms, or share a suite!

Example Two:
A couple who is planning their honeymoon was considering a trip to Orlando, Florida, but it is out of their budget. The Bride who wants to visit Europe, is afraid to fly, so she is interested in visiting EPCOT Center and touring the World Showcase. The Groom, an athlete and sports nut, who is more interested in water sports is leaning towards Typhoon Lagoon, but he doesn’t want to have to wear a tux for dinner on the ship!

My Recommendation – Norwegian Epic!
• For the Bride, Norwegian Epic offers 17 different dining venues on board, including Le Bistro (French Cuisine), La Cucina (Italian Cuisine), Teppanyaki (Japanese Hibachi), Wasabi (Japanese Sushi), etc; she can try a different cuisine each of the 7 nights of the cruise. And, the Epic’s 7-Night Western Caribbean itinerary calls on Roatan, Honduras; Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico – all known for great local cuisine.
• For the Groom, Norwegian Epic offers the most sports and fitness options in the Norwegian Fleet. Along with the traditional pool and fitness center; the Epic features three (yes, 3!) water slides, batting cages, a rock-climbing wall, bowling alleys, basketball court, etc. AND, since Norwegian Cruise Lines offers Free Style Cruising there are no formal nights!

Now is the time to experience the “BIG” Ships – as you can see there is something for everyone. Right now, prices are at the lowest they have been in years and look at what you get! No other vacation offers this many choices for this value! I already made my reservation, have you?


Jennifer Crivelli
Cruise Consultant
The Cruise Web, Inc.
1-800-377-9383 ext. 234


1 donna hekler { 06.17.09 at 12:53 pm }

Thanks for the great update on cruising amenities. So much to do, so little time……..

2 Mel { 06.17.09 at 1:04 pm }

Jen: Thanks for your insight. This is the first time i have seen what you look like! Trust you are well and that the Ravens have something in their tank this year!!!!!

3 Jen { 06.17.09 at 1:05 pm }

The amenities keep growing and growning, what will be next?

4 Jen { 06.17.09 at 1:18 pm }

Mel, great to hear from you again….hopefullly the Ravens will have a better season w/ Flaco in his 2nd year. Is there another cruise on your horizon?

5 Mary { 10.16.09 at 6:14 pm }

Cruised on the Mariner of the Seas – Wonderful experience and I will defenitely do it again. Royal Caribbean has the best ships.!!!!!!!

6 cailyn { 12.05.09 at 5:01 pm }

Next sumer I am going on the Oasis of the sea and I hope it goes good. Well, we are going with friends from our town and we are good friends with them. I heard there was an ice skating rink. I just cant belive that there is a ice skating rink. I went on the Carnival Insperation and it was AWESOME. Well, We all hpe we have a great time on the Oasis of the Sea!!!!!!!!!!(:

7 mohsen { 12.07.09 at 6:31 am }


8 Apple Yet { 05.20.10 at 6:39 am }

Ohhh, looks so fine, i really wish to travel with you

9 Enrique Flores Cancun { 05.31.10 at 1:35 am }

Cruising on the Oasis of the seas has been an incredible experience, Amazing Ship, the 8th wonder of modern world, I can´t wait for next cruise experience on board Epic….what is comming next?

10 Jen - The Cruise Web { 06.02.10 at 11:42 am }

We have been receiving rave reviews of Oasis of the Seas. Thank you Enrique for your post. Has anyone else sailed on Oasis? What did you think?

11 Retro Killer { 07.12.10 at 9:41 am }

wow, this is a boat i need to go on

12 Mocha { 08.29.10 at 4:16 pm }

I just returned from my very first cruise ever.I sailed on the Norwegian Epic and I must admit, it was a disappointment.The activities onboard were spaced too far apart or required an additional fee, so I often found myself bored. The two night clubs seemed to cater to a specific crowd and played the same kind of music EVERY night. Hip Hop night consisted of one measley hour of rap music. While there was a variety of food to eat, no one took into consideration those of us who aren’t vegetarians, but aren’t pork eaters either. Turkey sausage and bacon at breakfast time would have been nice. Also, after sacrificing almost a year to pay for this trip, you can’t imagine how I felt finding out that I had to pay additional money for soda or juices (except at breakfast time). Highway robbery! The 3 pools are very small and were always crowded. I was only able to enjoy the pool when in Costa Maya and Roataan. The Norwegian Epic is a brand new ship and still has room for growth but until then, I cannot recommend this cruise to anyone.

13 carolanne campbell { 01.21.11 at 6:44 pm }

We postively HATED the Oasis of the Seas. We have cruised 13 times before, (NCL, Princess, p & O etc) Royal Caribbean have lost their way. 5 star prices, 2 star service. Had to clear tables to eat breakfast, speciality restaurants always full, could only make 1 booking on a 9 day trip. In room booking service ( via tv) for entertainment didnt work the whole time we were there. Unhappy, rushed staff ( they were doing their best, but clearly something wrong) frequent 9pm ( anytime dining) reservations, finally sitting down at 10.15, after long qeueus. Wall to wall pizzas, chips, cheeseburgers, cupcakes and tacky food. If you dont want your ateries exploding whilst on this trip, there are very few healthy choices. Food in the windjammer often cold, salads past their best – gross. ( other windjammar rest on prev RC ships have been good) Dark public areas, and many of the public areas taken over by “in your face”sales space, photographs, merchandise, tat. It was like holidaying in a dark shopping mall. So many elements were disappointing. Too many passengers, and staff not able to cope, I really felt for them. We genuinely couldnt wait to get off this new years cruise 2010/2011. Would never travel with RC again.

14 Ann { 03.05.12 at 3:35 pm }

I think that people need to be thankful that they even have the money to go on a cruise. Most people couldnt afford it. The staff has to attend to over 4000 people, its not easy. They try their best on food and maybe some people dont like it but that doesnt mean you have to hate on the ship and say it was terrible! Like i said, there is over 4000 passengers on this boat, the cooks arenot going to go out of their way to specially make food for the 20 non-vegitarians and non- pork eaters on the whole boat! Quit complaining about everythinggggg! BE respectful. Some people need to learn how to grow up and be adults.

15 tom { 03.11.12 at 8:50 pm }

i just returned from a 7 day cruise on the NCL EPIC. It was my 5th cruise. I will not go on the EPIC again. i had to wait up to 45 minutes for a table in the main dining room for dinner. its not possible to make a reservation for the main dining room. the EPIC does have several other dining venue which costs extra.

i had a balcony room. the room looks bigger in the photo than in real life. thankfully my wife and i are skinny. my wife and the other women in our group complained that the rooms were too dark for “putting on their face”.

the pools are tiny.

16 Shirley Sheppard { 09.04.12 at 5:04 pm }

Sometimes I think you can get too large! My husband and I just returned from the Allure Cruise to the Western Carribean. Mind you this was the cruise that was shortened two days because of Hurricane Isaac. But that was not the issue. They gave us a very generous on-board credit, that allowed us to do several things that we weren’t planning on doing which helped. Maybe it was trying to squeeze all the things we thought we would have the time to do in 7 days into 5. I don’t know what it was. The boat is beautiful, they had fresher donuts, if you got them directly from Boardwalk Donuts than I’ve tasted at Dunkin Donuts or Krispy Kreme. The shows were fabulous, I saw Blue Planet twice! The bed was “king-sized” although it was quoted as being “queen-sized” and the temperature in my room was perfect. But I kind of missed that “human” element! Sure the Cruise Director was fun to watch from afar and the few folks we were able to interact with on a closer basis i.e. the Karaoke folks were great! But I always felt like I was rushing to the next thing and barely had time to speak to my fellow passengers or anyone involved in the activities we took part in. Sometimes bigger isn’t always necessarily better!

17 Louise Howard-Spencer { 02.12.13 at 6:01 am }

Bigger yes, better certainly not! These ships look like a vast block of social housing.

18 Jen C. - The Cruise Web { 02.12.13 at 2:16 pm }

Thank you to everyone for their comments. You are all correct – Bigger does not mean Better, for all passengers. The important thing is to work with a specialist to determine the best cruise for you. Families with kids may love all the amenities on the big ships – for others, they prefer the intimacy of the smaller ships. Whether 2,000 passengers or 200 passengers. there is a cruise ship out there for everyone, but every cruise ship is not for everyone!

19 babak { 05.11.13 at 8:33 am }

thank you

20 austin { 02.20.14 at 7:51 pm }

i think you getting better

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