My husband posted a review on here, so I am going to touch on some of the things he failed to mention.
First off, to all you BIPAP/CPAP users out there, take note. When we were on the Serenade of the Seas last year, there was only one electrical outlet in the room and it was a ways from the bed. When we realized we couldn't plug in my husband's BIPAP, we called Guest Services for an extension cord only to find out several hundred people had beaten us to the punch and they had given them all out. We pleaded for them to look and see if they could swipe one from somewhere else on the ship and they were able to come up with one (two, actually). This time we took an extension cord and plugged it in under the dresser like we did on the Serenade, only to find the next morning that our cabin steward had unplugged it and plugged it back in right under the bed when he came in to make up the room. So, good news. Apparently, RCCL realized the problem of not having an outlet under the bed and rectified it on their newer ships or at least this one.
OK. Enough with the breathing machines. One of the new wrinkles we encountered since last year on the Serenade of the Seas was the shooters they were serving at dinner. Brilliant idea, if you stop and think about it. At dinner they would come around with a different color shooter glass each night that you got to keep with the purchase of the "Shooter of the Day." They served shooters like a B52, Italian Stallion, etc. I ended up buying four, but another couple with us bought one every night for the complete set of seven. I suspect they make a lot of money on those things. Towards the end of the cruise you could buy the shooter glasses separately along with some glasses they were using for Mojito's. I ended up buying several of those for $3.95 each. They are nice glasses and are quite versatile. I used them the other night to serve shrimp cocktail. Unlike the glasses you get with the Drink of the Day which are plastic, these are actually glass.
In addition to the glasses, I bought some T-Shirts on the last day of the cruise when they had their $10.00 T-Shirt sale. Beware some of the nuts that show up early. They opened up at 9:00 a.m., so I ventured down to the Royal Promenade to see what they were selling. A little before 9:00 a.m. they opened the doors and brought the T-Shirts out on two tables. One table had smalls and mediums and the other table had large and X-large. As the guy was explaining what was on each table and not to grab anything until they were officially open for business, the lady next to me shoved me aside and started digging through the T-Shirts and from there it turned into a madhouse and they weren't even open for business yet. I guess there's one or two...maybe more...in every crowd. Here's a secret. They replenish the shirts all day long. No need to kill anybody for a $10.00 T-Shirt. I will say the T-Shirts are fairly nice and they say "Royal Caribbean" on them and have the different ports of call on them, too. I have already worn and washed several of them and they held up well.
My husband mentioned that we had our pictures taken at the Smile Photo Studio on the Boardwalk. Here's a word of caution. We made the mistake of putting costumes on our upper torso and not our lower. We assumed (big mistake) that the photographer would only shoot the upper half of our body that had the costume on it. Instead, she shot us so that you saw the costume as well as the shorts we were wearing, etc. Also, feathers were falling of the boas and instead of cleaning them up, they appeared in all of our other pictures on the floor of the white background we were shooting on. After looking at the pictures, we assumed she would crop out the lower part of our bodies and photo shop the feathers on the floor. That didn't happen. Of course, shame on us for not asking questions. The flip side is it would have been nice if she would have told us what to expect. You live, you learn.
It's been noted on some of the reviews that you would think with 6000 people it would seem crowded. Amazingly, it never did. There was a conference on the ship for a travel company with 1200 attendees. We hardly knew they were on the ship except for their name badges. Actually, I think because most of them were in class, it made it feel even less crowded. We never had a problem finding a chair to read, relax, or catch some sun. In the Windjammer, we were always able to get a seat pretty quickly and there were six of us each morning. The shows never seemed crowded and all the standbys got to get a seat. I did notice that if someone tried to get in a show without a reservation, they were sent to the standby line no matter how loud they protested that they DID have a reservation. If you're not in the system, forget it. They are not going to take your word for it.
Oh and here's a new one for us. The morning of our departure, they had added towel charges of $50.00 to our account. Surprise! Guest Services closes at 8:00 a.m. the morning you are getting off the ship, so we had to flee down there to get our money back. Our friends in the cabin next door got the same surprise, so we all went down together. We had turned our towels in, so I wonder how many other folks this happened to. My advice is to make sure when you take your towels back that they swipe your Seapass card and assure you that you have been credited for returning your towels. They didn't argue with us when we asked for a credit, but it was an inconvenience to deal with when you are trying to get off the ship and head to the airport.
We decided to do the valet service where you leave your bags out the night before departing the ship and you don't see them again until you get home. The cost is $20.00 per person and well worth it. All we had was our carry-on's getting off the ship. We breezed through Customs, met our shuttle and headed off to the airport. The valet service also includes you getting your boarding passes, so when we got to the airport we went straight to security and were at our gate in no time. Again, well worth the $20.00.
Back to the ship, another misconception we had was that the Zip Line and the Flow Riders were going to be busy all the time. Not so, at least for the times we were there. There was never a long wait for either one and as for the rock climbing wall, I never saw anyone on it. Even with 6000 people, the miniature golf, basketball, ping pong, etc., were never too crowded if you wanted to participate. As popular as the Park Cafe is, we could walk up at almost any time and get right in line for the salad bar or skip right to the famous roast beef sandwich. They whip everyone in and out of there pretty fast. Sitting is a little limited, but we could always find a seat outside. Sometimes that meant going over to Giovanni's Table, but that wasn't a big deal.
Another note about food, I didn't realize it until it was too late, but at Sorrento's they will make you a pizza with whatever you want on it. They had four choices of pizza each day already made up and pretty much every day, two of those choices were pepperoni and cheese. The last night of the cruise I noticed them bringing pizzas to the tables (we were sitting there waiting on one of the many parades) and I turned to my husband and asked him what those were and he said, "Oh. You select the ingredients and they will make you a pizza. Now you tell me.
At the Frozen in Time show, they had a couple that I don't think anyone has mentioned that make pictures in a box of sand. They were unbelievable. They brought this tall box of sand out onto the ice rink and this man and woman would create all different kinds of scenes in the sand going from one thing to another with the stroke of their fingers. They had a camera in the ceiling that was shooting down on the sand so you could see what they were drawing/creating in the sandbox. While all this was going on, there was music in the background along with the skaters. It was very surreal. Be sure and catch this show. You won't want to miss it.
We made our reservations for all the shows about a month or two before the cruise. It's best to get it out of the way and not wait until you get on the ship or you may not get the times you want. We had charted what we wanted to go to and when, based on when we were in port or at sea. However, when we went to make reservations, some of the shows were already sold out. The RCCL reservation system will not let you hold one reservation while you search to see if you can get the same show at a different time or on a different day. Instead, you have to cancel each time to search for the same show on a different date. Hope that makes sense. It probably will once you start trying to schedule all the shows.
Folks always ask if you can take liquor on the ship. While RCCL definitely discourages this, we brought some wine in our luggage, as did our friends, and it was still there when our luggage made it to our room. They had a mini-bar style fridge in our room, so we used that to chill our wine. It doesn't get very cold, though. I wouldn't recommend leaving any wine in the fridge while you are out, as it might get confiscated by your room steward. However, I would guess he doesn't want to lose his tip. Speaking of liquor, the prices in the store on the ship are good and in all cases where I checked, cheaper than in the ports. It costs $26.00 plus tax for Baileys at home and you could get two for $35.95. The vodka and practically everything else is a great buy. They did have a liquor tasting, but we had to miss it because we were at dinner.
Not much mention has been made on the fitness room. It is huge and there was never a shortage of treadmills and it never seemed crowded. The treadmills do not face the front of the ship like on most RCCL ships. Instead you face either side of the ship. Be sure and bring your headphones if you want to watch TV or listen to music.
Another tip for any first time cruisers out there. If you don't see what you like on the dinner menu, ask for something you like. The very first night we asked for shrimp cocktail. It eventually showed up on the menu one night during the week, but we ate shrimp cocktail every night. If they have it back in the kitchen, they will bring it to you. Don't wait for it to show up on the menu. We love key lime pie, so rather than wait for the night it was on the menu (last night on this cruise), we could order it during the week if we didn't like what we saw. This is typical of any cruise you go on, but I thought I would mention it for those who were not aware you could do this.
The Muster Drill -- Most cruise lines are getting away from you having to haul a life jacket around. Last year on the Serenade, they had a verbal roll call to see who was present. On the Oasis, your Seapass card gives you the location info for your muster station (ours was the Aqua Theater ) and they swiped our Seapass card to register that we were there. Sure beats the roll call. They had a video they showed on the big screen at the Aqua Theater and the whole thing was pretty painless and did not take very long.
Rising Tide Bar -- This thing is amazing. The bar rises from Deck 5 to Deck 8 and back down about every 45 minutes. One of the entertainment staff generally operates the bar moving up and down, so you get a bit of "entertainment" while you are enjoying the ride and a drink. As the bar rises from Deck 5, water starts spurting from a number of areas and they are highlighted by laser lights. Once the bar gets to Deck 8, a blast of water shoots from Deck 5 to the middle of the bar and jets of water shoot out of a lighted circle in the middle of the bar from Deck 8 down to Deck 5. The whole thing is well engineered and thought out. Be sure and go for a ride.
Getting around the ship -- OK the ship is big, but it is not so big that it is that hard to get around. One night we came out of the Opal Theater exiting on Deck 4. We took the elevator up to 14 and walked to the other end of the ship to our cabin. One of our friends in a wheelchair went up to Deck 5, across the Royal Promenade and up the other set of elevators to Deck 14 and beat us to our cabin. You can cross on Deck 4, too, but you have to go through the casino...which is huge. Moral of the story, it's not a big deal to go from one end of the ship to the other.
Meet & Mingle -- We had about 92 people sign up for the Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle. I would say 1/3 of them showed up. RCCL staff gave out some decent prizes including several bottles of wine to go with the cheap stuff you generally get. They scheduled the Meet & Mingle for our first day at sea (Monday) at 11:15 a.m. in Dazzles.
Hopefully, this information will be of help on your cruise. The Oasis of the Seas is an incredible ship and it deserves the number one rating it has had on Cruise Critic.