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Instagrammer Russ Francis gives us his insider tips

By HarryThursday 27th July 2017

Onboard Oasis of the Seas

1. You recently joined Oasis of the Seas to sail around the Eastern Caribbean. How did you find the ship? Seamless operation, exciting, diverse are just a few of the words that spring to mind. Having visited other ships previously and this being my first experience on Royal Caribbean I can safely say that Royal Caribbean have it completely dialed in and down to the very finest of details. The sheer diversity or ports, activities and culinary experiences is surely a one of a kind holiday. 2. As a photographer, what was it about the design of Oasis of the Seas that inspired you? I love to see and notice things from a different perspective. The first thing I noticed was the symmetry of the ship and the precision it must take from an engineering perspective, it was very impressive and a joy to photograph. Overall though, Oasis of the Seas is a very beautiful space to be in, from walking through central park and listening to birds sing, then taking a ride down the ‘Rising Tide’ bar to the Royal Promenade and then experiencing the atmosphere of a seaside pier on the board-walk, it has something for everyone and the camera had plenty of subjects and angles to capture. 3. What tips would you give to budding photographers joining a Royal Caribbean cruise? Explore, enjoy and experience as much as you can. There is so much to choose from in terms of adventure, both on-board and in port, so plan ahead and you can have one of the most rewarding, unique and diverse photographic journeys possible. One of my favorite places to shoot was the forward viewing decks on the 14th floor, a bit tricky to find but it’s all in the adventure. 4. What was the most extraordinary thing about life onboard Oasis of the Seas? Every day can be as extraordinary as you make it – Surf, rock climb, play mini golf, ride the zip line, watch amazing sunsets, wake up in new destinations almost every day, meet new people every day, experience award winning performances, eat yourself around the world in culinary bliss. That's to name a fraction of what's available, your days can be as full or as restful as you like. 5. What was the most surprising thing you learned about life onboard Oasis of the Seas? The statistics behind the operation and the effort that the staff put in, every minute of every day is phenomenal. Every single member of staff on the ship makes it all possible and it's not just the work they put in, it's their personalities that make it fun as well, and you end up striking up many short-term holiday friendships with them.

And the top-notch destinations?

6. You visited a lot of different destinations during your trip, which had the richest culture? I loved the different influences on St. Maarten which is a fusion of Dutch & French cultures, all mixed in with the Caribbean setting and people. This means you have a cauldron of different foods, people and results in and extremely rich and diverse location. 7. Where did you find the most photographic inspiration? I take inspiration from diversity, and on this occasion St. Thomas and the surrounding US Virgin Islands blew me away. It's exactly how you imagine the Caribbean to be, rolling green hills that end in the purest white sand beaches, but with a diversity of wildlife, food and culture that anyone could hope for. 8. What is your favourite landscape to photograph? There's so much to choose from in the Caribbean, but you really can't drag yourself away from the quintessential, unspoilt, palm fringed beaches of these far away islands. White sands and emerald waters is certainly a draw for me. 9. What was it about the local’s way of life you found so inspiring (St. Thomas US Virgin Islands) The contrast between big city and island living. In the Caribbean, you can have quite large towns, but literally a stones throw away there's a beach somewhere with your name on it. There was a particular family that I viewed in St. Thomas while I was on a catamaran trip, they were casually taking a small boat out to their moored, larger vessel where they loaded up some belongings and their two dogs, getting away from the town to who knows where, perhaps to one of the many smaller islands dotted around the US Virgin Islands for a piece of tranquillity? 10. What was the most extraordinary thing about each destination you visited? Bahamas – The whitest sands I think I have ever laid eyes on, which also happened to be next to one of the most exciting water parks I have ever visited. St. Thomas – An island hopping paradise, literally surrounded with everything you could want from the Caribbean, including amazing underwater life and shipwrecks. St. Maarten – Great fusion of cultures from the continent mixed with traditional Caribbean way of life.

Have your say…

11. Would you recommend a Royal Caribbean cruise for all budding adventurers? I already have and will continue to do so. The sheer diversity simply astounded me and they literally have something for everyone, no matter what type of holiday you're looking for. #EndlessAdventures 12. What camera and equipment did you use to take your photos? My main body of work is taken with a Nikon D750 with a range of lenses and accessories, my favourite of which is the 14-24mm lens which takes in an amazing wide angle view. Then there is the need for action shots which were taken with my GoPro with a range of mounts. For on the fly shots and social media action, my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge had this covered.

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