On the day of the event, once you're logged on, you'll enter a virtual campus, complete with cartoon characters mulling about, where you'll see three different venues:
There's the "auditorium," where video and PowerPoint presentations will be hosted by live speakers (still to be determined who will be presenting). Tune in at 6pm ET as the festivities kick off; Oasis announcements are expected at about 8:30!"
In the "expo hall," you'll find several booths set up, including dedicated places to learn about RCI cruisetours, the Crown & Anchor society (RCI's past-passenger program), Royal Caribbean and Oasis of the Seas. The booths will be staffed by Royal Caribbean employees, with whom you can engage in a private chat via your keyboard -- you'll also be able to download information about the sponsors.
The "lounge" is basically a big open chat room, where consumers, travel agents, press and people from Royal Caribbean can yuk it up on subjects ranging from first-time cruise travel to the most important topic of the event, Oasis of the Seas' newest neighborhoods.
Other facets include the ability to customize your profile, adding such things as your job title and personal info ("biography"), creating an avatar to distinguish yourself visually, and doing things like "turn off the show floor chatter" (slightly confusing to begin with, but we understand the attempt at realism).
We're told by the company handling the technical aspects of the event that, unlike at "real" events at concrete and mortar venues, there's no limit to how many people can attend (though if you can't make it or prefer to check it out afterwards, the virtual trade show will remain available for three months).
And if you're looking for a basic example of how to navigate at the event, check out the Ziff Davis Web site and click on On-Demand Events. You'll have to register individually for one of the archived events to see how the platform works.
We'll see you at the Oasis of the Seas reveal. And following the event, join Cruise Critic right here in this forum for a night of gossip and giveaways!
Stay tuned for details on our special after-party.