The website cruise.co.uk is claiming to have obtained an exclusive with its publication of extracts of a review of Oasis of the Seas by Douglas Ward, author of the Berlitz Guide to Cruise Ships.
Which is odd, because a two-page review of the biggest cruise ship in the world appears in the 2010 edition of the guide, which was published before Christmas. It’s there on pages 493 and 494, sandwiched between the Norwegian Sun and the Ocean Dream.
The original review was completed before work finished on building the ship, and it was based on Ward’s experience of Oasis’s smaller sister ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet, and possibly from what he or his assistants saw during construction work at the shipyard in Finland.
So even though he had not sailed on the ship, he was able to write comments such as “If you are in a Central Park cabin, you need to take an elevator to get to the closest pool – it’s like going to the top of your building to take a dip.”
And in another paragraph: “Although not as stunning as the Aquaventure experience at Dubai’s Atlantis Resort Hotel . . . the Pool and Sports Zone forward of the twin funnels is a real adventurous fun place for families to play in during the day.”
The exact same words appear in the new “exclusive,” which is in fact, just a slightly re-written version of the original.
There are a few additions, such as list of the ship’s seven godmothers, and a critical comment about the fact that the ship’s rails are fibreglass instead of wood.
More significantly, Ward points out that the split superstructure which makes Oasis unique among cruise ships was actually pioneered by designer Harri Kulovaara on the Baltic Sea cruiseferry Silja Serenade, which was built in the late 1980s, a fact absent from the review in the book.
Ward also demolishes the claim that Oasis contains the first carousel at sea, pointing out that there was one on board the SS Ile de France, which was launched in 1926.
One feature of the Berlitz Guide which some readers rely on, and which others decry, is the ratings system, which awards points for a ship’s accommodation, food, service and entertainment. In the book, Oasis is “not yet rated.”
So perhaps cruise.co.uk will reveal the scores for the first time. Well it does not. The ship is still “not yet rated.”
So much for the “exclusive.”