We took an eastern Caribbean cruise on the Freedom 5 years ago and loved it so much, we decided to bring our entire Canadian family on the Oasis to the western side this time. We flew to Fort Lauderdale a couple of days before just to relax and stayed at the Bahia Mar Hotel near the beach. It's got a great boardwalk that leads right to the amazing beach! We walked the length of the beach and there were lots of restaurants and shops along the way. A friend recommended the 2 for 1 margaritas at the Del Mar restaurant. They were huge and very appealing. We bought 6, but none of us drank them all. We should have shared them. Then the bill came...it was $74 US for 3 drinks!!! We could not believe it! Not worth it at all, so that became the big joke of the cruise. We did find a great little frozen yogurt shop close to that where you could make your own cup with a choice of about a dozen types of yogurt and even more choices of toppings. They weight it at the end and charge you per ounce. It was about $6 for a decent bowl and worth every penny! The next day, we took a taxi to Sawgrass Mills mall (about $10 ea), the biggest in FL, and had a blast! it is so big that if you don't know what you are looking for, you could be there for days...I was thrilled to eat a slice of cake from the Cheesecake Factory (we don't have one in Ottawa)and the boys scored some good sales. They regret not having taken the time to go to the huge arcade...Next time, I think we will go only one day before the cruise to reduce restaurant and transportation costs. But we still had fun and the hotel was decent.
Sat morn, took the taxi to the port, $7 ea, and boarded around 11am then went to the Windjammer for lunch. We visited the ship and were completely amazed by its size and beauty. So much to do, so much to see, so much to EAT! It takes a while to get your bearings but the interactive maps on every deck are easy to use and practical to see where you are, what's going on and how to get there. We went straight to Studio B to book all the shows at the earliest times and they did it all for us. Our 3 rooms were on deck 8, the best deck by far. We had the Central Park with all the plants and loved having to walk through there. In the day, there are recordings of birds and at night, with the lights and candles, the sound of crickets serenade you. On the last day, my hubby even found a small frog! The rooms were just the right size but I would have preferred my bed to be against the far wall like the other 2 rooms. The bed was very comfortable and the attendants did a great job keeping our rooms clean. A balcony would have been nice, but not worth the extra $$. We didn't see many people on them anyway...
Food was good, I particularly liked the breakfast at the Solarium because it had a healthier choice of food like turkey bacon and oatmeal. On deck 8, there was the Park Cafe where you can make your own salads (they looked amazing) or pick up some fresh fruit cups, chips or desserts to stock your fridge for a late night snack in bed while you watch a movie on the big TV. We didn't spend money on specialty restaurants, $3 cupcakes or ice cream. The alcohol can get pricey, it ranged from $4.95 for a Corona to $8 for a Long Island. The food selection and quality was great and we chose to sit at the same table in the dinning room to get to know our fantastic waiters Eddie and Suresh. We would then go to the shows; among the best were the comedy club, the Oasis of Dreams diving show and by far, my favorite, the game show Quest. Be ready to participate, we had a blast!! Our cruise Director was not the best, after having had Richard Spacey on the first cruise, Ricky Matthews was not as entertaining, so the love and marriage game show wasn't as funny as it could have been. The pools were gorgeous and the hot tubs were always accessible. Strangely enough with 6000 passengers, on Thursday evening around 10pm, we had the Solarium pool and hot tub to ourselves!!
We didn't use the gym, we walked everywhere which was nice..even after a week, I was still noticing new things I hadn't seen before! The zip line was fun, not scary when you realize your entire weight is being supported by the straps; the mini golf was fun and we had great laughs riding the carousel.
On disembarkation day after breakfast, we chose to leave early with our luggage by 7:30am and it was great to get a head start to the airport.
The only thing we hated, was leaving...What a great trip!
We enjoyed our trip very much and hope to cruise again with Royal Caribbean in the future!