I try to touch on things I wish I had learned from all the previous reviews on here when I write a review and minimize my "opinions." So, here goes:
Ft. Lauderdale - We arrived a day early and stayed at the Hyatt Place Airport South. I got this room on Priceline for $60.00 plus fees using the Name Your Own Price feature. See my review of the Hyatt on Tripadvisor for more info. Took the Avanti Transportation shuttle to the port for $8.00/person.
Boarding - We left the Hyatt at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning and we were "almost" on the ship by 10:35 a.m. I say "almost" because they corraled us at the top of the elevator (without telling us why) and asked us to sit down. We later learned, via an announcement, that they weren't boarding anyone yet. About an hour later they started to board. They let the cruisers who had just gotten off the same ship board first, followed by the Emerald, Platinum, etc. members who boarded next. As a Gold member, we were towards the More
last, but made it on the ship before noon.
I had read a couple of comments about the Park Cafe and their infamous roast beef sandwich. One poster on the Cruise Critic board suggested that was the first place he was going, so we decided to have lunch there. Great decision. They have a "Make Your Own Salad Bar" where you pick the ingredients and salad dressing and they mix it up for you. It was excellent. They also had Greek Salad every other day. I love Greek Salad and theirs was the best. The Feta cheese was phenominal. As for the roast beef sandwich, I did not know what to expect, so here it is folks. They slice what appears to be prime rib and but it on a bun. You can add mustard, spicy mustard and horseradish. It was good, but I thought the Cuban sandwich/panini was also pretty darn good. They also have two soups each day and the soups I had all tasted good.
Other Dining Options - The Windjammer quality of food is pretty much the same you will find on any RCCL ship or Carnival for that matter. The Opus Dining Room where you generally eat in the evening featured pretty much what you get on all the other cruises with RCCL, etc., but I did think the lobster on Thursday night was larger than normal and it wasn't too bad.
Someone mentioned corn dogs and chicken tenders on the Boardwalk. At first I couldn't find them, but after a couple of days realized they were behind the Boardwalk Bar. Both were OK, but nothing great.
We ate at the Wipe Out Grill. It was basically hamburgers, hot dogs, tacos and pretzel dogs. I would swear the same thing was served in the Windjammer, but the odd thing was that the food, especially the hamburgers, tasted better in the Windjammer. However, it's gotta be the same stuff. It just seemed like the food was fresher in the Windjammer, as strange as that may sound.
We tried the Solarium Bistro one morning for breakfast. Unless you are looking for "healthy"...turkey bacon, turkey sausage, etc., I would skip this place. No guilty pleasures here...cheese, mayonnaise, ham. etc.
Sorrento's, the pizza place, is about the only eating establishment that is open most of the time other than the Cafe Promenade. I did not care for the selection at the Cafe Promenade, but the pizza at Sorrento's was not too bad. And, of course, there is always room service. However, their menu is very limited.
As for the eating options where you have to pay, we passed on all of those, so I can't comment. We did go to Chops on our last RCCL cruise and it was excellent.
Shows - They were all great. I am not a fan of ice skating, but I really enjoyed Frozen in Time. The whole thing is based on the stories of Hans Christian Andersen...The Little Mermaid, The Snow Queen, The Ugly Duckling and The Emperors New Clothes (my favorite...ice skating to Bachman Turner Overdrive). Come Fly With Me features alot of tumbling and flying through the air. Plus, there is a girl and a guy that do some amazing acrobatics using material hanging from the ceiling to twist and turn in the air. Amazing. The headliner show was BeatleMania Live. They were good and the guy appearing as John Lennon looked the part and sang alot like him, as well. The guy appearing as Paul McCartney was OK. The Comedy Live show featured Cary Long and Saleem (you can find them both on the internet). Cary did some cruise ship jokes and Saleem did some relationship jokes. The warm up guy, who I assume was part of the RCCL entertainment staff, was actually, in some respects, as funny, if not funnier than the main acts. He did some great ad libs with the audience. Another show was the Oasis of Dreams Aqua Show. The divers were pretty amazing and again, it was very entertaining. Hairspray was the first show we saw on the cruise. I am not a big fan of plays, but I really enjoyed this one. Jim J Bullock from the TV sitcom Too Close For Comfort played Edna (John Travolta played the role in the movie). Jim was hilarious. Also notable was two time American Idol castoff, Jerome Bell. Most recently, Jerome made it to Hollywood week in AI season 10. On the last night of the cruise they put him in the Aqua theater and billed it as an "Idol" experience. We wandered over there to check it out and there were about 15 people catching his show. Jerome is OK, but there is a reason he was sent home two times. However, most of the talent on the ship is made up of extraordinary entertainers.
So, we have covered the food and shows. What else? As you watch the shows on this ship, think about this...The ship had to be designed for these shows. I don't think there is any way they built the ship and then created shows around the venues. RCCL has done an amazing job of creating a ship layout with the shows planned around them. On most ships, there are venues where alot of different things take place. On the Oasis, most of the venues have a specific purpose. They even have a venue called "On Air" which is primarily devoted to Karaoke. So if you like to sing, you'll be in heaven.
Activities - There is always something going on. We did a number of the trivia contests and won three of them. We started out doing the wine tastings (they have a couple of day). It soon became apparent that the wines they were serving (regardless of the theme) were the cheapest wines they had on the ship, so we stopped going. The casino is huge and they almost always have some sort of contest going on. I played in the slot tournament where the prize was a cruise for two, but didn't win. The entry fee is $25.00. They have a number of parades in the Royal Promenade during the week and feature characters from Dreamsworks movies. Be sure and check out the bridge that opens over the Globe and Atlas Pub, which by the way, has an amazing selection of beers from around the world, including some on tap. We did not do any of the Bingo games, but it seemed like they had several every day.
Audience Participation - They have the usual Love and Marriage, Battle of the Sexes and the Quest game. As always, the Quest game got pretty raunchy and there were X rated body parts on view...if only for a second or two. However, now they do playbacks on the big screen.
Cruise Director - We had Ricky Matthews. This is the second cruise we have been on with Ricky. He is a great entertainer. Lots of energy. He is a good dancer, has alot of personality and is a great ad libber. I suspect they will keep him on the Oasis for some time if they're smart.
Photos - As someone metnioned, once they take that first photo of you and make a record of your Seapass card, every picture from that point on will be in your own picture binder. No need to look at thousands of pictures on a wall anymore to find yours. They can even (and do) put photos of everyone you are cruising with in your folder. We did the photo session at Smile on the Boardwalk. Check it out. It's lots of fun. You can dress up like a cop, a pirate, a super hero, etc. There is no cost unless you buy any of the pictures. You have to make an appointment, so beware you generally can't just walk in and get your picture taken. Please note that we had to wait until 7:00 p.m. the last night of the cruise to get our pictures that were taken at Smile and we had to get them at the Photo desk on Deck 6.
Rooms - We went the cheap route and did an interior cabin right off the aft lobby on Deck 14. The room size is pretty much what you would expect on a cruise ship and the bathroom was pretty much the same, as well. So, the fact it is the Oasis does not mean bigger staterooms. The Card Room is on the 14th deck and our cabin was right around the corner. We liked that, as our group would order room service and then play dominoes into the wee hours of the morning. Also, located in the Card Room are computers for internet access which leads me to...
Internet Access - Apparently, they were having problems with internet access along with the speed of surfing the internet. One night it was off the entire time we were in the Card Room. One gal got irate, called Guest Services and DEMANDED that someone come and fix it. A young guy came up and sat there with a laptop doing who knows what while she screamed at him. She said she had a business to run and they better get the internet up or there would be hell to pay. Really? You go on a cruise and expect to run your business off the ship's internet connection? She was either crazy or full of it. After about 30 minutes, the young man got up, said he was sorry but he couldn't help and left. This gal sat there staring at the screen of one of the computers. One of my friends made the mistake of telling her to calm down and stop taking out her frustrations on people who could not help her, as well as to keep it down as she was making the others in the room uncomfortable. Her reply was to tell my friend to butt out and she was going to get her internet service if it was the last thing she did. We never saw her again, thankfully. One of the comedians (Cary Long) made a joke about the internet service, so I am guessing that one night was not the only time there were issues and I suspect there were other irate poeple. One of the other problems was that the service was so slow that people were getting irate because they were paying by the minute.
Last thing of note...They have these interactive display around the corner from the elevators on most decks. You can touch the screen and find out what is scheduled on the ship at that particular time, find at where you are at and how to get to where you want to go, what dining establishments are available and so on and so forth. Cool feature.
Bottom line, if you haven't already booked, go on the Oasis or its' sister ship, the Allure. You won't be sorry. Only problem is, it will spoil you from ever going on any other ship. It's that awesome. Less
Oasis of the Seas Cruises to the Eastern Caribbean
We took an Island tour with Island Marketing also known as Bahama Beach Tours if you Google it. Our driver was Dudley. He was very knowledgeable and took us where ever we wanted to go. There was six of us so we did a 2 1/2 hour private tour that was cheaper than doing their standard tour. If you want to see Nassau for a reasonable price, I would recommend these guys.
This tour is highly rated on Cruise Critic and Tripadvisor so we signed up. Our driver was nicknamed "Mailman." We had an amazing day. We did some shopping at a flea market as well as on a mountain top (amazing store with all kinds of reasonably priced souvenirs and their world famous daquiris). We hit Orient Beach (half nude). There were a few old guys showing it off and one big heavy set gal. Nothing much to see. We also hit the beach where the planes fly right over your head. There is a great bar right there on the beach. Mailman had plenty of water, coke, diet coke, sprite, local beer and of course, his killer rum punch. We had a blast. Cost was $40.00 per person.
We toured St. Thomas with Godfrey of Godfrey Tours. We took the Shopping and Siteseeing Only tour. It was $25.00 a person and a great value. You can't go wrong with Godfrey. He was knowledgeable and you could understand what he was saying (a big plus with me).