With room for 6,296 passengers, this largest-in-the-world cruise ship seemed a prime candidate for impossibly long waits but turned out to be the other way around.
Reporting Aboard The Oasis Of The Seas - "Wait'll you see the ship!" Myra, the Royal Caribbean check-in agent, gushed as I prepared to board the Oasis of the Seas. "We're going to have to pull you off by the teeth on Saturday."
Maybe. Maybe not. With room for 6,296 passengers, this largest-in-the-world cruise ship seemed a prime candidate for impossibly long waits, endless onboard queues and claustrophobia-inducing crowds. That's what I had expected.
Incorrectly, as it turned out. And, yes, Myra, after four nights onboard, I was hooked.
Our cruise carried 4,800 passengers on its Dec. 1 sailing, its inaugural voyage after seven cruises to nowhere -- and there was no sense of crowding.
The hoopla about the size was impossible to ignore, but the sheer fun of the ship was a happy surprise. You would have to be a hermit to be bored, and although the ship's destinations -- the eastern and western Caribbean -- may not be your dream trips, this is a case where getting there is more than half the fun.
Passenger Eric Hyde, an Angeleno, described it well. "It's kind of like Disneyland, outside of reality," he said. "You're literally spending four nights in an amusement park, then you wake up in the morning and you're already in line again."
Hyde, regional director of admissions at Concord Law School, had just wowed the crowd in the karaoke bar with his big voice. This was his 67th cruise, his 34th on Royal Caribbean, and he was wowed.
"The design and engineering are absolutely magnificent," he said. "Every space, there's something to see, something to marvel at."