Tim Adams of the U.K.’s Observer is one of hundreds of travel writers invited aboard Royal Caribbean’s new mega-liner Oasis of the Seas.
Unlike the majority of cruise groupies who have gushed praise for the mega-ship, Mr Adams’ article is not exactly what the executives of Royal Caribbean were hoping for.
The article is entitled "Oasis of the Seas: the Ship that Mistook Itself for a City State."
Mr. Adams’ first sentence sets the tone for his critique: "It carries more than 8,000 people, has an on-board park and themed bars from all over the globe. But one experience you don’t get on board Oasis of the Seas is that of being at sea."
This is a criticism which many reporters have made, including the most famous travel writer in the world Arthur Frommer who writes in his blog that Royal Caribbean is "dumbing down" the travel experience while taking aim at the passenger’s wallets . The Gadling travel site echoes a familiar sentiment in the article "The Oasis of the Seas: Designed to Keep Your Dollars Captive (and "Dumb Down" the Travel Experience)."
Royal Caribbean’s conceptual drawings of the ship – showing women with designer bags briskly walking to the next store – reinforces my conclusion that the cruise ship was designed more like a floating high-rise Dadeland Mall (Miami’s mega shopping center) than anything resembling an ocean liner. Like a cavernous mall, the Oasis is huge, busy, noisy and designed to take your money by selling you things that you absolutely don’t need and probably don’t really want.
Here are some of Mr. Adam’s observations:
"The Oasis . . . is partly a tribute to XXXL, the American god of girth . . .
The ship is an oasis within the sea, a sort of inward-looking gated community of the waves, moving its passengers restlessly from experience to experience, spending money.
I have a sense that in years to come the Oasis of the Seas . . . may be seen as something of a symbol of the end of an American empire based on vast consumption . . ."
There are others who share Mr. Adams’ views. Take a moment and read:
"Royal Caribbean’s "Monster of the Seas" – a Cruise Ship Only Gordon Gekko Could Love"
"Oasis of the Seas – A Vision of All Consuming Hell"
Photo credits Royal Caribbean