Oasis of the Seas: Meet Her Coming-Out Crew
Oasis of the Seas launched her inaugural cruise November 30 with 2,160 crew members, many from the existing fleet, who bring more than 8,000 years of shipboard experience among them.
The naming celebration included company officers, board members, seven godmothers, the cast of the HBO television series Entourage, singer Rihanna, travel agents and press and was by all accounts, an outstanding party for groundbreaking ship.
When she entered service in December, Oasis of the Seas was renowned as the largest and most revolutionary cruise ship in the world. An architectural marvel at sea, she spans 16 decks, encompasses 225,282 gross registered tons, carries up to 5,400 guests at double occupancy, and features 2,700 staterooms.
Staffing the ship hasn’t been too difficult, as home comforts for the crew have been a key focus. The many upgrades include a significantly higher number of single crew cabins, flatscreen TV’s with wireless keyboards, full Wi-Fi access for every crew berth onboard, and crew facilities such as a 24-hour crew Windjammer, crew coffee shop and retail services furnished and finished to guest area quality.
Crew boarded 30 days before guests for intense training and lots of preparation.
Read on to learn more about the neighborhoods and the crew that make her so special.
Associate Hotel Director Gary Davies was a chef at one of the top five hotels in the United Kingdom. Then he decided he needed a break for six months to do something completely different, to get away from hotels for a while.
He ended up on Royal Caribbean International ships, and six months turned into 19 years. So far, he’s worked as an assistant purser, a purser, and in food and beverage before his current role. “I’ve never been bored in my time with this company,” said Davies.
As project manager for installing Central Park on Oasis, he had unique challenges that no one in his line of work has ever faced before. (See the related story for more details.)
And wouldn’t you know, great work often gets rewarded by more of the same.
“I get to install Central Park all over again on Allure,” said Davies.
Vitality at Sea
Aishling McCarthy is the Spa & Salon Manager for the Vitality At Sea Spa and Fitness Center.
“When I was asked to do Oasis, I jumped at the chance as I knew that this was going to be something very special,” she said. Originally from Cork City, Ireland, she trained at Cork College of Commerce in beauty and massage therapy and has worked for the company for 10 years.
McCarthy describes the Vitality at Sea neighborhood as a sanctuary to relieve the stresses of everyday life through traditional and Eastern spa therapies.
“While we were still in the yard in Turku, we noticed a noise coming from the gym which was affecting the treatment rooms,” McCarthy said. “This would have really affected the service that we provided to our guests.”
In what she describes as a WOW moment, a group of Marketing and Revenue managers, dive and casino staff worked tirelessly in Turku to come up with a solution.
“Now we have a quiet and tranquil spa area on Deck Five forward and it’s all down to amazing teamwork!” she said.
Seventeen years ago, Marketing & Revenue Manager Dean Bailey gambled on a career in the cruise industry.
Hailing from Birmingham, England, he picked Royal Caribbean International because his friends and colleagues at home told him it was the best cruise company to work for, and he wanted to travel.
He started out as a casino dealer.
These days, his location has changed but the energy is similar. His assigned neighborhood? The Royal Promenade — the hub of the ship.
“It’s unique among the seven neighborhoods, because there is always activity going on, as it is not affected by the elements,” he said.
“I chose to be part of Oasis of the Seas, so that I could be a part of history and gain hands-on experience with all the new technology and concepts,” he added.
The centrally located Entertainment Place is the destination for guests to laugh, dance, party, and generally be amazed by the talent Oasis has onboard.
Located down the stairs from Deck 5′s Royal Promenade, the neighborhood features a main plaza with entrance to a variety of nighttime venues: dancing, dance lessons and competitions, comedy, live jazz and blues, aerial acrobatics, ice shows and of course, the Casino Royale.
Activities Manager Anna Bass of Eastbourne, England, says she is truly proud of the area. “Our guests will be blown away with the incredible entertainment onboard,” she promised.
She studied dance and drama in college, and has been with the company five years.
“The guests loved the new ice show,” she said. “And the opening of Hairspray was definitely a WOW moment.”
Jennifer Boon dreamed of being a pirate when she was a child. Today, she lives a colorful life at sea as assistant ocean adventure manager on Oasis.
From her hometown in Solihull, England, her training included a Bachelor of Arts in education and dance, as well as diploma work with children and families. It was the perfect training for her new role.
She began working on projects for Kids’ Avenue, especially the nursery, for over a year before the launch of Oasis. She’s been with the company two and a half years now.
“Our Adventure Ocean Team has worked so hard and come up with new, exciting and crazy activities for our young cruisers,” said Boon. “The program they have put together makes me so proud to be part of the Youth Staff take-out team.”
She enthused about the many firsts for her neighborhood, including the opening night of the Imaginocean show, to signing the very first infant into the nursery, to having the honor of being the first nursery supervisor on Oasis.
“I don’t think I will ever get a chance to a part of something as big as this again,” said Boon. “It’s been and will continue to be an amazing experience.”
Originally from Hamilton, Ontario in Canada, Jenny Beaudoin’s educational background includes Recreation and Leisure Studies, Speech Communications and Primary Education.
As Adventure Ocean manager, Beaudoin says she is honored to be the caretaker leader/mayor for her neighborhood, the Boardwalk Caretaking team (part of Kids Avenue Team and Sports Zone team.) She’s been with the company more than four years.
“This space is the first of its kind in the industry, and has so many new and interesting features to offer the guests,” Beaudoin reflected. “We are home to the first carousel at sea, an Aqua Theater, shops designated just for kids, and amazing food venues that offer sugar and spice and everything nice. We have the first-ever seafood shack, and an ice cream parlor, donut shop and a candy store.”
Her position as Adventure Ocean manager involves overseeing the family programming. While Oasis was being built, Beaudoin planned a daily carnival she named Family Festival using ship renderings and blueprints for reference.
“Once onboard, I was overwhelmed with the space that I would be overseeing,” she said. “It took my breath away.”
She saw the space transform from a massive construction site, to stress-testing the Carousel, to seeing the artwork installation, to watching as neighbors move in and finally, welcoming families to her first event.
“Watching this space come to life has been an amazing experience,” Beaudoin said.
Pool and Sports Zone
Russell Rhodes was working as a park maintenance manager in South Africa where there were two FlowRiders. When the FlowRider was put onto Freedom of The Seas, he was recruited to work onboard and jumped at the offer.
After almost four years with the company, the native of Durban, South Africa is now the Open Deck Manager for the Pool and Sports Zone.
“My neighborhood on Oasis is a place where the guests come to have some fun or just relax in the sun around one of four pools each with their own vibe,” said Rhodes.
The pool deck is unique by having different zones for different experiences. The Solarium is for adults only, with six whirlpools and a swimming pool, accompanied by soft music. The Beach Pool area has water lapping under the deck chairs and umbrellas for shade-lovers.
The Main Pool area is an area for the sun lovers with no shade at all. The Sports Pool features activities such as water polo, water volleyball, badminton and lap swimming.
The H2O Zone is the family water park, where spray cannons, and an assortment of spray loops and fountains entice kids to play. This area also has the Baby Splash Zone so babies and toddlers who are not yet potty trained can also enjoy the water. This is a shallow area that filtered through separate systems than the other pools.
“I chose to be on Oasis because I was looking for new challenges, and I have certainly met my match here onboard,” Rhodes said.