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October 28, 2009

The First 30 Hours of Oasis of the Seas


It's been a long wait, but today is the day Royal Caribbean takes over the Oasis of the Seas! That's right, the largest ship in the world is ready for cruising.

Below I've included included comments from Adam Goldstein (President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International) and Richard Fain (Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.). These two important men in the Royal Caribbean family of brands are onboard the ship right now and gave us these comments about their first 30 hours . . .

Adam Goldstein:
"Ok, so I've been on Oasis of the Seas for 30 hours. In no order of importance or anything else, here are some observations:

  • A small group of management had dinner tonight at Giovanni's Table. I ate too much to be blogging right now. It was fantastic. Spending this kind of quality time with our colleagues is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the business. Royal Caribbean people are truly special.

  • We practiced the flag-changing ceremony tonight. The flag-changing will occur after the delivery papers are signed tomorrow. The practice consisted of listening to the national anthems of Finland, Norway the Bahamas and the United States multiple times, followed by the lead singer of Hairspray. I guess we're ready.

  • The fitness center is already open for workouts even though the ship isn't ours yet. 35 minutes into my workout someone shut the power off in the gym. That doesn't happen at home. Maybe we won't accept the ship.

  • Even though we can see our breath, which should not happen in the Caribbean, it is majestic in Central Park at night. And Central Park is still a partial construction site missing 12,000 plants and trees.

  • Usually an onboard announcement is introduced by the familiar ding-ding-ding that we now have in our television announcements. For unknown reasons the shipyard personnel testing the public address system have replaced the ding-ding-ding with something that sounds like a cross between a sick sheep and a drunk cow. Maybe this is one of the techniques for getting through a long dark winter.

  • Our perfectionist entertainment team is frustrated by our inability to get into the theater and start the rehearsals. We're trying to figure out other places onboard where the cast can rehearse while they wait for the theater. Studio B, an obvious alternative, is unavailable because the ice cast is constantly rehearsing in there. So a more imaginative venue is required.

  • I think Richard Fain must have said cabin instead of stateroom 50 times today. The question is, does he do this because i) he really thinks it should be cabin instead of stateroom, ii) he can't help himself, or iii) he knows it irritates me?

  • Kerriann Von Raesfield, our chef at 150 Central Park, is really special. She is a phenomenally talented chef on a world-class scale, yet she is the opposite of a prima donna. She is doing every startup task that all crew have to do, including all safety drills. She thought it was cool that she was trained today in how to fight a fire. If you haven't booked dinner at 150 Central Park, please go to Cruise Enhancements on our web site and make your reservation now.

  • I will be on a plane home tomorrow during all of Game 1 of the Phillies ? Yankees World Series. Unfortunately that plane is not JetBlue. This is provoking an allergic reaction throughout my body.

  • I don't care what you have heard, read or thought about Oasis of the Seas. It is better than that. Much better."

    Richard Fain:
    "This morning we took delivery of Oasis of the Seas in a simple ceremony in the yard's main conference room.

    I have waited six years to say that so I'll say it again. This morning we took delivery of Oasis of the Seas.

    Few people ever get a chance to be involved in such a groundbreaking project. Few people ever get a chance to work with such remarkable, passionate and dedicated professionals. Few people ever get to see such an amazing undertaking overcome all hurdles and reach fruition. I have been blessed with the opportunity to be involved in many such building projects including SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS, FREEDOM OF THE SEAS, and more recently CELEBRITY SOLSTICE. And I have had the chance to work with so many wonderful people to bring these amazing physical creations to life with a level of service, activities and amenities that distinguishes our company.

    We are still not complete. That won't happen until all the systems become operational and we start to wow our first guests. I consider the operating systems and processes to be just as important as the physical plant and I am looking forward to seeing them in operation. But we have passed a crucial milestone and I couldn't be more pleased.

    I am especially appreciative of all the people who have taken this project from a few unformatted ideas and simple sketches on paper and turned them into something bigger than any of us dared hope for. The architects, designers, engineers, artists, workers, crew, specialized experts, weird thinkers, directors and just plain enthusiasts all made this a successful collaboration and we owe them our grateful thanks. Of course, they are not done yet and I can't wait to see what they come up with next - whether the subject is new physical ideas or greater operating efficiencies.

    In addition, I owe my family my thanks as always for their support, patience and understanding. They've put up with a lot, but they know that isn't going to change and I appreciate that they accept it anyway.

    Now I am looking forward to Oasis' arrival in Ft. Lauderdale.

    p.s. Allure is picking up steam too"

    Yesterday Richard Fain had these additional comments about the ship:
    "Today, I have fluctuated between exhaustion and exhilaration. . . . and exhilaration won.

    My day ended with a walk through Central Park with Harri. First, we had a lovely dinner in Giovanni's Table and then finished our final pre-closing review with Adam and Brad Stein, our General Counsel. It was late, but neither of us was tired. Exhausted, yes. Tired, no. The construction was finished; the decisions were made; and the closing was nigh. There was nothing more to be done until the morning when the lawyers will say: "sign here."

    And yet, there was one more thing to do. This was the first time Central Park has been completed (ex-plants) and the first time it has been lit at night. It was magical. The new art piece under the central bridge was in place and beautiful. The trellises were up and lit. And the walls of glass were glowing.

    I was really surprised. I have always focused on the daytime view and not really paid enough attention to the nighttime look. Scott Wilson has harangued me about it, but I just never focused enough on it. Until tonight when I realized just how magical it is.

    It was a good way to end the day."

    As the first cruise onboard Oasis of the Seas draws nearer (December 1st, 2009 for the public) I know you're thinking how much does a cruise cost on this fabulous ship. Well, I'm here to tell you it's cheaper than you think! Take a look at these great deals . . .

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    Posted by Denise at October 28, 2009 03:09 PM
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