<strong>Raising the bar</strong>: The Rising Tide Bar is one of the innovations on board the new Oasis of the Seas. The oval-shaped bar literally levitates, rising from the Promenade, here, to the open-air Central Park two decks above. <em>*MCT photo</em>
Raising the bar: The Rising Tide Bar is one of the innovations on board the new Oasis of the Seas. The oval-shaped bar literally levitates, rising from the Promenade, here, to the open-air Central Park two decks above. *MCT photo
<
1
2
>

FRIDAY, FEB. 24: Finally.

After having a mental tug-of-war with myself, I’ve decided on which cruise I’ll be taking for my 50th birthday — Royal Caribbean’s The Oasis of the Seas.

When I had initially narrowed down my search, it wasn’t in the top four but I couldn’t ignore everything this ship has to offer.

With my mom, brother, sister and their families coming along, I wanted a ‘wow factor’ and this ship has it.

My expectations are high as this is the ideal cruise ship.

I have sailed with Royal Caribbean four times before: twice on the Mariner and once each on the Freedom and the Liberty so I have a baseline to judge The Oasis on.

This ship has nearly everything.

For starters, the action activities onboard include: surfing, rock climbing, ice-skating, a zip line, a carousel and a mini golf course.

I am looking forward to taking the zip line across the pool, sports deck and boardwalk area.

I’ve previously surfed on both the Freedom and the Liberty and ice-skated on all four Royal Caribbean ships.

I’ll have a blast watching my three nephews do this for the first time on their first cruise.

In addition, Royal Caribbean has teamed with Dreamworks so characters from Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda will be on The Oasis and I’m sure my nephew JT will love meeting them.

My nephews are 6, 12 and 14 and there are programmes designed for each age group so they won’t be bored as their parents enjoy the ship.

The Oasis also has an Aqua Theatre with water shows. My wife and I have an inside balcony at the stern of the ship and we will be able to watch the shows from the luxury of our room.

That show includes synchronized swimming, high diving acrobatics and a light show.

The Oasis also has the Broadway show Hairspray, a comedy club, and a jazz club among other entertainment venues. The other main show is Come Fly With Me, which some reviewers have said is better than Freedom’s Once Upon A Time, which happens to be the best show I’ve seen at sea. If it’s better than that, we’ll be in for an amazing treat.

The Studio B ice rink will also host a show called Frozen in Time. Previously we have seen performances by skaters from Russia, Canada and the US on Royal Caribbean’s ships.

The ship has 25 dining options, 14 of them free. We’ve chosen the late seating as the early one was already booked and with nine people in our party we are not going to take a chance on standing around waiting for dinner.

The Johnny Rockets on board the ship has a $4.95 cover charge for lunch and dinner but breakfast is free and we’ve enjoyed eating there in the past. We’ll also probably get coupons to eat free there as members of Royal Caribbean’s Crown and Anchor Society. The Crown and Anchor Society is for people who have sailed previously with the cruise line and they give you a booklet of coupons to redeem on board.

I am very interested in eating the famous ‘roast beef sandwich' at Central Park. Every review I have read about this has raved on how good it is.

Of course, there are other up charge restaurants to choose from like the Seafood Shack, Chops steak house, a couple of Italian eateries.

Even at sea, we can’t escape Starbucks as it has one on the ship.

We’ll be doing a western Caribbean itinerary of Haiti, Falmouth, Jamaica; and Cozumel, Mexico, but that’s secondary to being able to go on this ship.

Besides everything else I already mentioned The Oasis has a Central Park area, which includes the Rising Tide bar. That bar moves between three decks. Making it a unique destination in itself. There are 56 trees and over 12,000 plants in the Central Park area of the ship.

Of course, The Oasis includes all the other amenities you would expect a ship to have: casino, five pools, fitness centre, spa, and teen centre.

People in Bermuda have long complained about the ‘mega cruise ships’ that come here.

These are not mega ships — those are medium-sized vessels.

The Oasis of the Seas is the world’s second largest cruise ship — only its sister ship the Allure is bigger, and then its only by two inches.

It has 2,394 crew to help meet the needs of its 6,000 passengers.

That’s a mega ship.

That may sound like the ship will be too crowded, but if past sailings on the Freedom and the Liberty are anything to go by, the ship will be big enough to keep everyone entertained or relaxed.