New York is about to be home to one of the world’s largest cruise ships
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
There’s a milestone moment coming this weekend in the cruise world — one that has been mostly overlooked amidst the flurry of cruising restarts in recent weeks: New York City finally will become home to one of the world’s largest cruise ships.
Royal Caribbean‘s famously giant Oasis of the Seas — the groundbreaking vessel that ushered in the current era of 5,000-plus-passenger megaships — on Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021, will begin sailings out of the New York City area’s Cape Liberty Cruise Port.
Measuring 226,838 tons, Oasis of the Seas will be by far the largest cruise vessel ever to sail out of the region.
For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s cruise newsletter.
Unveiled in 2009, Oasis of the Seas is an icon in the world of megaships. At the time of its debut, it was nearly 50% bigger than the next biggest cruise ship, and it was chock full of then-unprecedented features (three separate deck-top pool zones; a boardwalk-like amusement area that mimicked the Jersey Shore; and a tree-lined “Central Park” to name a few — all part of seven distinct “neighborhoods”).
Even today, Oasis of the Seas remains one of the world’s three biggest and most-amenity-filled passenger vessels. It’s only surpassed in size by two sister ships that have rolled out since 2016, and only by a tad. It can hold up to 6,699 passengers with every berth filled.
The first Oasis of the Seas sailing scheduled for Sunday out of the New York City area will be a non-revenue “test cruise” designed to show the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that the ship is ready to resume operations.
Oasis of the Seas hasn’t sailed with paying passengers since March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this year, the CDC published a list of rules and requirements that cruise lines must follow if they want to restart cruises in U.S. waters. Among them, the CDC requires simulated test cruises with unpaid volunteers for any cruise vessel that plans to operate in U.S. waters without 95% of passengers vaccinated for COVID-19.
Unlike some cruise brands such as Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean hasn’t committed to operating ships with more than 95% of passengers vaccinated for COVID-19, citing the large number of families with children who are ineligible for vaccines among its customer base.
The initial sailing of Oasis of the Seas will be a six-night trip to Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas.
Assuming all goes well with the voyage, Oasis of the Seas will begin regular sailings with paying passengers out of the Cape Liberty Cruise Port on Sept. 5.
Located just a few miles southwest of Manhattan in Bayonne, New Jersey, the Cape Liberty Cruise Port is one of three main cruise ports in the New York City area.
The restart of operations for Oasis of the Seas comes in the wake of a massive $165 million overhaul of the vessel.
The overhaul brought Oasis of the Seas several major attractions that have debuted on other Royal Caribbean ships in recent years and proved highly popular with Royal Caribbean fans. Perhaps biggest among them is Perfect Storm, a trio of multistory waterslides that first debuted on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas in 2016 and can also be found on the line’s three-year-old Symphony of the Seas.
At 228,081 tons, Symphony of the Seas is the current size leader in the cruise world.
Oasis of the Seas also received a version of Harmony of the Seas’ Ultimate Abyss, the longest dry slide at sea. It drops from the Sports Zone on Deck 16 to the Boardwalk area on Deck 6.
The overhaul of Oasis of the Seas also made it slightly bigger than it was before.
In all, the ship has 16 passenger decks. It is 1,187 feet long and 215 feet wide.
The huge success of Oasis and its sisters over the past decade helped to touch off a race to build bigger vessels among competitors. Over the past few years, rivals MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line have both rolled out far bigger ships, and Carnival Cruise Line recently hit the supersize button with a giant new vessel, Mardi Gras.
Once it begins regular sailings with paying passengers, Oasis of the Seas is scheduled to operate seven-night departures out of Cape Liberty Cruise Port with stops at Perfect Day at CocoCay and Nassau in the Bahamas, and Port Canaveral, Florida. Fares for the voyages start at $578 per person, based on double occupancy.
Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:
- The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship
- The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
- A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
- 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
- 15 ways cruisers waste money
- 12 best cruises for people who never want to grow up
- What to pack for your first cruise
Featured image courtesy of Royal Caribbean
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees