Thursday, November 19, 2009

Get the Inside Scoop on Oasis of the Seas

I’ll be spending two nights on Royal Caribbean’s new Oasis of the Seas over Thanksgiving weekend. The purpose of the trip is to experience and learn all I can about this fantastic ship. The challenge is to do it in only 42 hour!. I will be particularly interested in the ship’s accessibility for guests who have disabilities and also how this ship can best suit groups.

Oasis of the Seas is opening her doors to thousands of travel agents and news media over a two week period. If you watch television, it would be hard to not have heard about “the world’s largest cruise ship.” Heck, this thing is sailing with a blimp, carousel, multiple “neighborhood” areas, a zip-line and other unique features as well as RCCL’s standard feature, a rock-climbing wall, and a FlowRider which has been popular on all of Royal Caribbean’s larger ships.

Most agents will be checking cabin categories, public areas, trying the food and seeing what the shows and entertainment are like so they can best guide their clients to the kind of vacation that many people dream about. But an “access travel specialist” has extra duties. We’re recording access (or lack thereof) details. We are measuring lengths, heights and widths, and takingWe love the door handles and the automatic door opener for this restroom on Mariner of the Sea. photos of things that make some people scratch their heads. “Regular” agents aren’t typically taking photos of toilets, lips in doorways and unisex bathroom signs. They also don’t lay on the floor to take a photo of a glass of water on a ramp to show the angle of the ramp in a cabin. Then again, typical travel agents don’t get as excited as our Access Travel Team specialists when we see a door handle instead of a doorknob on a public room door! Yep, we are a bit of an anomaly in the travel industry world.

My tape measure, camera, new Flip Video, battery charger and detailed deck plan are all ready to be packed. My list of questions and specifics to check on is growing. As well as the questions and details from our office, some clients have asked that I check specific items and members of Cruise Critic responded to my offer by listing some of their questions and concerns which have been added to my list.

Do you have an access detail you’d like for me to check on? No promises that I’ll get to it, but I’ll certainly try. Just respond back as a “comment” to this blog with your question before Thanksgiving and I’ll add it to my list.