For months I have been reading all of the cruise critic reviews on Oasis of the Seas, always eager for a new one. Well, I am finally able to add my own two cents to that, and let me start off by saying that my cruise was amazing.
This ships has something for everyone. Yes, it is large, but the extra space is worth it. Our embarkation was super smooth. We used Luxury Airport Parking to save on the parking rates. At the port, it is $15 per day. We reserved online and paid $44 for the whole week. The parking place is only about 5 minutes away, so it is very very convenient. We arrived at the port at bout 11:45 am, and at 11:55 am I was on deck 5 in the Royal Promenade, purchasing my first "drink of the day". My boyfriend and I spent the first hour exploring the ship, and of course ate lunch at the Park Cafe so I could try one of the famous roast beef sandwiches. While it was a good sandwich, it wasn't really what I expected for a roast beef sandwich, but to each his own.
Royal Caribbean does a fabulous job in making every sailing feel like the very first one, from the excitement of the cruise director and her team, to the wait staff and all in between.
It is very important to pre-plan your cruise online - book all of your shows in advance, plan where you want to eat in advance and everything will run smoothly. We booked through Vacations to Go, and received $75 in on-board spending dollars, which were available to use the very first day (we even received a card in our stateroom saying so). You can always review your seapass account on the tv to see how much you've spent as well.
The comedy club is very small, so that show you must definitely book ahead of time. Not a show for kids, and for those complaining that it was "inappropriate", it does say 18+ for a reason... and if you don't want to be made fun of, don't sit in the front row or half the show is going to be about you! We had a great time though and thought it was a really great show.
The other shows were all excellent, Hairspray (if you like Broadway), there were two aqua theater shows, one that you must reserve and the other is an event you can just attend. The talent, diving and acrobatic stunts are amazing and a lot of the performers come from the Olympics and other high caliber productions. Come fly with me was my least favorite, but that show was saved by an amazing aerial performance by two acrobats.
As for the shows in the Opal Theater, I did miss a couple due to various reasons, but I was always able to get into a show on standby when I decided to go. You can't double-book shows for multiple days...
Don't miss the Adult Quest Game, the Improv show (get there early, its in the comedy club!!) and the Love and Marriage game. All excellent, but they are only listed on your activity list of the day, so keep an eye out for them.
The headliner was great, but it changes every week, so no use in going into detail with that.
Before you read anything else, know that the dining service anywhere on the ship is impeccable. The very minute you take a sip of your drink, someone is there refilling it. If you need something, the servers are always very aware, and are eager to get anything you need. The food is quick, and the servers are always willing to change out meals, and offer you more food without hesitation. The servers are knowledgeable and very personal. I found everyone that I met to be very friendly.
We chose to do the Central Park Dining Package ($65 per person). It gave us our first night at Giovanni's Table, the next at 150 Central Park and a night at Chops Grill. Giovanni's was great, the osso buco was delicious.
Plan at least 3 hours for dinner at 150 Central Park. It truly takes 3 full hours for this dining service.. Make sure to try out the Martini - it is the best martini I have ever had, and I don't even like martini's! They will give you the recipe if requested as well. The meal was excellent, and so was the quality. If that had been anywhere on land the price would easily be $150 - $200 a head.
Chops was great, my boyfriend ended up getting fish though, as he had so much beef the whole week, he wanted something new. My fillet was delicious, it's a shame I couldn't finish it though.
The main dining room was great. I was scared to try it first because of all of the negative reviews, but I thought the food was wonderful. The servers are very willing to tell you which tastes the best, and what doesn't, so take their advice. Lobster night was great, our server told us that he once served someone 13 lobsters - and our head waiter beat that story by telling us someone ordered 21 once! He said he did not see that person the next day. Please, please don't be that person!!
For lunch we normally ate in the dining room. It was nice to be able to choose from the menu or the salad bar in the middle. We did go to the windjammer, and I never had trouble finding a seat as there was always a greeter in the front who helped find a seat for me. Very easy and convenient. There was a lot of choices, albeit the food was just o.k.
We went to Johnny Rockets for the famous root beer floats - they taste the same as on land.
POOLS / HOT TUBS
We chose to spend our time in the solarium whenever we wanted to go to the pool. The other pools were very crowded and loud, and the solarium was much more peaceful. I was disappointed to see that the age was 16 and up, not 18 and up, as I feel an "adults only" area should be just that - adults only. I'd have to say the 14 - 17 age group was probably the most annoying on the ship, and having to share that area with them was, well, disappointing.
The hot tubs that hang over the side of the ship were large and right outside of the solarium. Very nice in my opinion.
The only negative to this ship having so many things to do is that I would feel guilty for tanning by the pool and sleeping when I could be doing something else! We didn't do the flow rider but it was fun just to watch people try. I did the zip line, and it was pretty fun. The people who help set you up talk to you and ask you questions about yourself so you don't let the nerves get to you. Rock climbing was great, a bit scary for a first timer though!
Parades and parties would be held throughout the week, those were always entertaining to attend.
There were also a lot of "night club" and DJ events where special drinks and 21+ was allowed. This would have been nice if we had friends that were with us because after a while, it gets a little lonely with only two. But, we only found to be in this dilemma at night.
Everywhere we went, we found the staff to be great. The drink waiters could be a little pushy, but still friendly. Our cleaning attendant was great (Roxroy). He was always friendly and willing to help answer any questions we had about the ports, activities or even daily life on board a ship. Please keep in mind, the staff do not get any days off and are on board for about 7 - 9 months at a time, and to see them always smiling and excited to help you is amazing.
We stayed in room 10237, and inside balcony in central park. We absolutely loved it. We would order room service and eat on the balcony for breakfast, looking over the beautiful park and occasionally people watching. We did not find it loud at all, and generally the park was pretty empty. It's no ocean view, but a nice alternative when price is an issue. The inside of the room was great, found the bed to be very large and comfortable. The pillows weren't that great though. I definitely do not think I'd be able to share that room with 3 or 4 people though. It was comfortable with 2, 3 would be a crowd. The bathroom was a lot smaller than expected but we got used to it very quickly. I found there to be plenty of space for my luggage and clothing as there were only two of us, and we each brought one suitcase and one duffel bag.
The ports were great - I suggest in St. Thomas to find your way to Coki Bay (spelling??). We went to Sapphire beach, and when we told the locals that was where we were going, the unanimous response was "Oh. Sapphire is nice. But Coki is MUCH better!". We had already purchased the tour though, and were not able to change it. In the end, Sapphire still ended up being a very nice beach to go to.
We didn't know what to do in Nassau, so we just hopped on a taxi to Atlantis and paid $40 a person to view their aquariums and hotel. Although it was a little pricy, the aquarium was great, and Atlantis has been kept up very nicely. We were expecting it to be run down because of how old it was, but it was quite the opposite. Just a heads up - anything you want to do there is pretty expensive. Nothing is included, unless you want to pay over $120 per person to experience the water park or beach. Which, with the limited amount of time the ship allows you to be in Nassau, I wouldn't waste my time with it.
St. Maarten had the best driving out of any of the ports we visited. We went over to Maho beach, where the airplanes land right over you. Great little area with a delicious (but expensive) french restaurant right next to it. Make sure you have cash with you at all times! Most of those ares do not accept anything but cash, or credit sales over $40. We got caught running low on cash and it really messed up about 3 hours of our vacation on St. Maarten!
Disembarkation was very smooth. It's nice because they allow you to choose what time you would like to leave (6, 7, 8, 9, or 10). We chose 9:30 because we don't like to wake up early, however because of all of the commotion outside of our deck, we woke up at 7 anyways, and ended up having to wait in one of the lobby areas for our ticket to be called. It was nice because we were able to regress to our 5 year old selves and watch cartoons while we waited. Next time though, we'll opt to leave earlier.
Overall, this was an absolutely fabulous cruise. We would be happy to do this cruise again, it made life very easy. Remember though - you're on vacation!! Do what makes you happy, and there are plenty of things on this ship for everyone and anyone to do what they love!
Feel free to message me if you have any questions at all!