First, let me preference this review by saying that I read a lot of reviews on Cruise Critic before going on Oasis. There will be some things that I address in this review that I previously read that I will try to address. That being said, my initial reaction to this cruise is that there's nothing that I could find that I would consider a "deal breaker" in deciding on sailing on this ship. There were some bumps in the road. But where I point out any issues, this shouldn't keep anyone from sailing on Oasis. I will try to point out some of the issues that I've read on the Cruise Critic blogs and tell you my observations.
I sailed with my parents. I guess I should call them DM (dear mom) and DD (dear dad). I have been on 7 cruises total. One with Carnival and the rest with Royal Caribbean. I guess you can say I'm kind of loyal to Royal Caribbean. After the completion of this cruise, I will have moved up to Emerald level in the C&A program. We traveled to Ft. Lauderdale on Friday and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on state road 84. They offer a free shuttle to and from the airport but you will have to pay a little extra for transport to the ship terminal on Saturday. I called the hotel, after retrieving our luggage and was told to go to the off-site hotel area outside to wait for the shuttle. We had to wait for over 45 minutes. I don't mind the heat and humidity so it wasn't a problem for me. However, DM hates it and so it was a hassle for her. I recalled the hotel to find out what was going on. They told me that the shuttle had just returned. I explained to them that I've been waiting outside and hadn't seen any shuttle with that hotel name on the outside. Finally, I ended up taking another shuttle for the Crown Plaza and they transported me for free. Next time, I would just take a taxi and forget the shuttle. The hotel is only 5 miles from the airport. The hotel itself is nice and clean and offers a good breakfast in the morning. I didn't use the hotel transportation to the cruise terminal on Saturday. My niece goes to college in Ft. Lauderdale and lives down there. So she was able to pick us up and take us.
We stayed in a D1 outside stateroom with balcony on deck 14. Maybe I'm getting older, but I found the cabin to be a little smaller than other Royal Caribbean ships I've been on in the past. The bathroom is adequate but small. This is to be expected. I like the shower doors instead of the curtains much better. Never had any issues with hot water or toilet flushing. In fact, one day when I got back from the beach I wanted to take a cold shower and had a hard time getting the water to be cold. I slept on the sofa bed. It was much more comfortable than other ships that I've slept on the sofa bed on. Maybe because it's newer? I found deck 14 to be too high for me. I usually prefer being up higher so that you're closer to the Windjammer and sports decks. However, there was a huge overhang from deck 15 above my cabin and it was hard to get any type of sunshine. Also, there partition on one of the side was a steel beam and you couldn't look over the railing-going forward so it was kind of like an obstructed view. Also, being so high up, I found that I had to wait for elevators more. The bulk of cabins are obviously below deck 14 so waiting for elevators was an issue. In fact, I counted how many times I entered into an elevator and was able to travel directly to the deck I needed to go to: 4 times the entire week.
Oasis is obviously quite stunning. The size of it alone makes it a destination onto itself. There's something to do for everyone. No matter what age you are or if you're active or laid back. One thing that I read prior to going is that if you want to find a space to be alone and read a book, you wouldn't have a problem. I found this to be true. On the last day of our cruise, it rained and we had thunderstorms so that forced everyone indoors. Putting 6200 indoors might be a problem. I found my way to deck 17 to the C&A bar area and there was no one up there at all except people who were working that room. So if you want to be alone, you will find places to do that if you search it out. I liked the different areas of the ship. I noticed a lot of smaller things like in Central Park at night they have crickets chirping piped in over speakers. The casino is big and divided into smoking and non-smoking areas. DM tells me that the machines were tight. I just stuck with blackjack. I also read prior to going that there were a lot of people from other countries that are on this ship. I found that to be true. I've never been on a cruise with as many non-Americans as this cruise. When we disembarked, the line for non-citizens was much, much longer than for citizens.
I only did 2 specialty restaurants on board. Johnny Rockets for lunch. It was good and if you've been there before you'll know what to expect. When I was leaving, no one said "good-bye" to me. If you've been to one you'll know what I mean. So I yelled "good-bye" and that made everyone in the place say it. We had to wait for about 5 minutes to get a booth inside. It was too humid to eat on the outside tables. I also ate at Chops. That was simply the best steak I've had. The service was fantastic, the atmosphere overlooking Central Park was fantastic, and I'd recommend anyone to spend the extra $30 to eat here. I only ate in the Windjammer once for lunch. It was like a cattle herd in there. They make announcements to leave your table when you're done eating so other people can sit down. I've never seen that before on other Royal Caribbean ships. Other than that, I stuck with the Dinning Room. We had a table on deck 3 overlooking the water. About a week before we went, I used the Royal Caribbean dining web site that I found here on Cruise Critic to email the staff that I would like a table for just my family. I was reluctant to do this as I thought it would never go anywhere. To my surprise, I received an email back from the head of dining operations from Royal Caribbean about 3 days before with my table assignment, where it was located and that we wouldn't be sitting with anyone else. So that was awesome. I would do that again. I was told that you shouldn't email them until a week before you go however. I wouldn't be emailing dining requests if you're cruise is a year away. Our dining room staff was fantastic. On the first night of the cruise my DM tells me that she's going to order the shrimp cocktail. I told her that it wasn't on the menu. Apparently she was handed a menu from the previous night. Our Head Waiter Ashley got her the Cocktail and brought her that ever night thereafter without having to ask for it. The only problem we had, was that my DM wanted a bloody-mary with V8 juice but the bar staff couldn't get V8 juice as it's only served for breakfast. I found the food to be good. Certainly editable. Some reviews I've read has said it was terrible. I wouldn't characterize it that was. It's certainly not home cooking, but it was good.
The only shows I took in was Frozen In Time (ice show) and the Oasis of Dreams water show. I loved both of them. There were some technical glitches with the Frozen in time show. But the sand artist was amazing. I was amazed with the water show and the diving on a moving ship. I wouldn't miss those shows in the future.
In Nassau, I stayed on the ship and used the pools while everyone else left the ship. I used the Solarium which was nice and had great lounge chairs. In St. Thomas I did the Meagans Bay Beach excursion. It was raining in the morning while I was waiting by my station for the excursion and I was really thinking about bagging the whole thing. No one wants to go to the beach on a day that it's raining. But I decided to go for it. I had gone to Meagans Bay Beach about 30 years ago. At the time, there was no cover charge to get on the beach, no bar, no eateries, no tables. In fact, there was about 4 other people on the beach besides my family. This was completely different. There were thousands of people on the beach. I made my way down to one side where there was fewer people. The water was amazing and I swam for about an hour then made my way over to the bar for a drink. I would go back again. In st. Marteen I used the water taxi ($6 for all day use), went over to the town and just went thru the shops. Not a big shopper so I didn't buy anything. Mainly people watched.
I found the service to be great. I made friends with a bartender who I would find almost everywhere I went on board. He would keep the drinks coming. This is especially important when you attend C&A events where the drinks are free! Our room Stewart was readily available and kept the room clean and fresh towels coming. Big shout out to Rollie. I recommend him for a room Stewart if you're lucky enough to get him.
Was a breeze. I can't believe how efficient it is with 6200 people on board. Maybe it was because most of the people were non-citizens and they had to use a separate line? We requested late leaving because we had an afternoon flight. After breakfast we used the C&A waiting area on in the dining room on deck 4 for our number to be called. We were able to walk right off the ship. There was a line in the terminal but we weren't more than 10 minutes most.
I wanted to address something that I've been reading here on the blogs. That being the on-going conversations about the Cruise Director Amy Feckart. Now I know some people love her and some people hate her. But here is my observation: Yes, there were people who I overheard talking about how young she is and were wondering how someone like that got her job. I found her to be adequate in her job. She was good. Was she the best. I would say no. For me, the best Cruise Director I've had is Seymore Graham on Freedom of the Seas. He was just awesome! But Amy isn't as terrible as everyone makes her out to be. In fact, she held daily Zumba classes on deck 5 that were very well attended my a majority of the female cruisers. I would see her around the ship at a lot of different venues and she seemed to be accessible. However, I never spoke with her. I only heard her use the "I'm Amy and you're awesome" phrase a couple of times. I don't believe she deserves the bad rap that she gets on these blogs. But I guess it's all a matter of opinion?
While in St. Marteen, our room overlooked the Carnival Dream. I had the pleasure of watching a late arriving passenger on the Dream come back to the ship while everyone on their decks on the Oasis cheered when he showed up. The officiers on the Dream weren't amused, but our passengers were.
You couldn't feel the ship move. Not like on other cruises I've been on. You could feel the vibration of the stabilizers but unless you are looking out at the water, if you're inside, you wouldn't be able to tell that you're moving. DM liked this. I would sail on Oasis again in a hearbeat. In fact, we booked another cruise on this ship doing Western for 2014 for the entire family. If anyone has any questions, please let email me or let me know and I'll try to answer them for you.