A stunning Central Park area will be at the heart of the new Project Genesis ships which Royal Caribbean is preparing to launch in late 2009.

The revolutionary 220,000-ton design will introduce numerous firsts to the cruise world in terms of their size, but this is the first time the cruise line has revealed some of the internal details.

The first ship will also be called Oasis of the Seas, while her follow-up sister vessel will be Allure of the Seas.

The Central Park feature, in which the centre of the ship opens to the sky, will boast lush, tropical grounds spanning the length of a football field offering”an exquisite public gathering place featuring serene pathways, seasonal flower gardens and canopy trees, to will provide cruisers with more choices in a unique outdoor space.”

This new concept is also the first of seven ‘neighbourhoods’ on the mega-ships, a town square concept which evolves from a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere during the day to a gathering space for alfresco dining and entertainment in the evening, with concerts and street performances. The neighborhood is also lined with balcony staterooms rising six decks high, with views of the Park below and the sky above.

Surrounding this social space will be an array of restaurants, with choices ranging from fine dining to casual chic.

Guests will have the option of an elegant dinner at the new 150 Central Park or a picnic lunch from the more casual Central Park Caf�, where they can sit outdoors and people-watch. Other dining choices will include: Giovanni’s Table, an Italian restaurant; Vintages wine bar; and Royal Caribbean’s signature Chops Grille steakhouse.

Several bars will be scattered throughout the Park, including the Canopy Bar, located at one of two impressive glass-domed canopies, and the unique Rising Tide bar, the first ‘moving’ bar at sea. This true engineering feat will span three decks and allow cruisers to enjoy a cocktail as they slowly ascend into Central Park and then descend back to the public spaces below.

Central Park also will have stylish boutique shops, showcasing a selection of upscale merchandise.

Chairman and chief executive officer Richard Fain explained:”We are thrilled to debut Central Park, the first of many exciting neighbourhoods on the Project Genesis ship, and a thrilling expression of the innovation and imagination for which Royal Caribbean is known. This ship is a quantum leap in architecture and design and will deliver an unparalleled vacation experience to all who sail with us.”

When she launches, Oasis of the Seas will be the largest and most revolutionary cruise ship in the world, spanning 16 decks, carrying 5,400 guests and featuring 2,700 staterooms. She will sail from her home port in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and be joined by Allure of the Seas in 2010. More information is available at www.royalcaribbeangenesis.com

  • The two ships were named as the result of a national competition, and the winning entries came from George Weiser of Livonia, Michigan.

CENTRAL PARK FACTFILE

Central Park is located on Deck 8 of the ship, with dimensions of 62ft (19 meters) wide and 328ft (100m) long. The sophisticated neighbourhood will include 334 staterooms overlooking the Park, 254 with balconies.

Central Park will be landscaped with tropical foliage, including seasonal flowers, shrubs and trees. Drawing on the concept of unexpected surprises and intrigue, garden spaces throughout the Park will sprout from charming pathways.

Drifts of Calla Lilies among Giant Elephant Ears, Red Ginger, Rabbit Foot Ferns and Zebra Calathea are some of the plant life guests will discover. Trees – some eventually reaching more than two-and-a-half decks tall – include Black Olive, Cuban Laurel, Cherry of the Rio Grande, and Painted and Golden Bamboo.

Surprises in the Park include quiet reading corners; a Chess Garden with large-scale pieces; the Pergola Garden, an interpretive garden featuring vegetation from a host of Caribbean locales; and a Sculpture garden, highlighting work by international artists.

Irrigation and drainage systems will be incorporated, along with micro-climate control techniques, while an on-site horticulturist will provide educational classes for guests seeking to learn more about flora.

The Crystal Canopies, two impressive arched-glass domes, one with a bar, will be a focal point of Central Park and provide sunlight into the ship’s inner public spaces.