I will try to be thorough as I rely heavily on these reviews when booking our vacations.
This is our 3rd Cruise with our two teenage boys (13 and 17). We've been on RC's Mariner of the Seas and Carnival's Dream. I would say we are reasonably self sufficient travelers but appreciate good service and amenities.
Boarding the ship was the easiest that we've encountered by far. I think from the time we were dropped off to boarding the ship was 30 minutes at the most. Once we got on the ship, the line from Titanic kept running in my head...something about how they said it was the ship of dreams and it was, it really was. That would accurately describe the Oasis. The ship is simply beautiful. We spent most of the first day exploring the ship and getting our bearings. We had two adjoining balcony suites and the rooms, although not big, were very efficient with much storage space. The restrooms were an improvement over the other ships from this one change - a foot bar to shave your legs. As a woman, it made a huge difference. One thing to note, you need to have the balcony door locked and master switch on for the AC to run while you're out. For a ship that has made great strides in laying out everything so well, this is one little miss, not to indicate it upfront. Our room attendant was nice and had our room spotless at all times. Was there above and beyond service with her? Not really but clean is what I am after with a room attendant. We bought the Central Park Meal Package ($65 per person to eat in 3 premium restaurants on the cruise) and would highly recommend it as meals there were head and shoulders above the dining room. Our first night, we ate at Giovanni's and it was delicious and service was over the top. Then went to Hairspray. It was very entertaining and among the best shows on the ship. Broadway quality? probably not, but close.
What I loved. The ship is huge, yet it never felt overly crowded. The crew was always friendly and we never had any issues getting assistance with anything we needed. There are charts and electronic menus/calendars at every elevator. Want to know which of the eateries was busiest when you wanted to eat? Simply press a button and it will give you a gage of where it's crowded and where it's not. Want to know what's happening now, simply press a button and the schedule magically appears. Even the buttons on the elevator indicate floors for pool, dining, boardwalk, central park and more. A little breakfast secret. Eat in the dining room. There is a smaller buffet and you can order off a menu for eggs made to order, etc. Yes, they try to upsell fresh OJ and other drinks, like mimosas, and specialty coffee drinks. Upselling seems to be a common theme and although sometimes irritating, nothing that broke the deal for me. We ate in Windjammer literally once. It was very busy. We also ate at the Park Cafe (no upcharge) and Sorento's Pizza (no upcharge). Both were much better than WindJammer.
We also ate at Johnny Rockets, 150 Park Central, Chops, Izumi, and Giovannis and the Cupcake shop among the specialty eats. Johnny Rockets, well...greasy diner food...ate there for the boys who loved it. The rest of the specialty restaurants I would give a huge thumbs up. Especially 150 Park Central. This is a set chef's tasting menu and although I thought it might not be my sons' cups of tea, all of us agreed that it was our favorite and was truly a dining experience. If you're not an adventurous eater, might not be your cup of tea. My youngest son ate his body weight in the donuts on the boardwalk. I never thought they were over the top but he liked them a lot, in fact, the person serving him started calling him by name by the second day or so. ha. We had one cupcake and it was good, not amazing. We did get Starbucks a few days and it was a nice added feature to have my caffeine addiction catered to while on the cruise. Pricing for it was similar to buying it on land.
I can't speak to the excursions. Both of ours were cancelled due to sea conditions and poor visibility. Not RC's fault but it was a bummer. We did take a cab to Magan's Bay in St. Thomas and absolutely loved it. Calm, clear, rather unspoiled and we spent the morning, simply swimming and floating in the water and paddleboating. Went shopping and ate at Cuzzin's, a local favorite and really delicious. All fun and turned out well. St. Maarten, when our excursion was cancelled, we decided to take a cab to the Orient beach. First to know...half of Orient Beach is a nude beach and I got an eye full of an older gentleman meandering between the 'border' of the two. Second, it's about a mile+ long worth of non stop beach chairs and kind of ratty bars. You could snorkel, parasail, banana boat, jet ski there. Far more crowded, crashing waves (fun), nothing like Magan's bay. We played for a while here but it was not that impressive to us.
We took advantage of the Zipline, mini golf, basketball and rock wall. All fun. But we didn't get to Flow Rider as we were saving it for the last day on sea and it rained buckets the entire day. Although there were lines, none of them were too long. Yes, the Zip line is short but, ummm, it's on a ship. The pools were crowded but we never had a problem getting a chair any time.
Dinners at the dining room were just ok, nothing to write home about. Service was good and it is a lovely dining room. All the ships seem to have abandoned the group dining concept which is fine by me as I'm in a social job and really just wanted to be with my family.
I had a facial and my husband and I had a couples massage. Nice spa facility and my facial was very very nice, the massages were good but not the best we've ever had. We didn't experience the hard sell of products that some have mentioned. Check your SeaPass account though, we purchased our spa services online prior to the trip and they double charged when we were on the boat. Once we noticed the error, they were very quick to refund the overage.
We went to two other shows, the Oasis of Dreams and the headliner show (which was the Nelson Brothers doing a Rickie Nelson Tribute). The Oasis of Dreams had the real wow factor. Great acrobatics and showmanship. I don't want to nitpick but the singing really lacked but in fairness it was the opening night of this particular show and we still enjoyed it. The Nelson Brothers were good, they were entertaining and for what it was, we really enjoyed the show. I would recommend booking your shows far in advance as the times and some of the availability for shows like the comedy club weren't available by the time we got on board. And it would be nice if the comedy club had an early more family friendly version and got more adult later. Carnival did this and whole family really loved it. On Air karaoke was fun. Son performed and had a ball.
What I didn't like. Upcharges galore and well- the tipping! I get the recommended tipping amounts that you should complete before you leave the ship and we did. What I don't like is the additional envelopes left to leave more. Seriously?! If I want to tip more, I will include it on the tipping originally offered. AND, keep in mind that at the spa and other specialty restaurants as well as the bar & pools, there is already a tip included in the billing. I kind of resent having an additional tipping slot added to the bills. I am a good tipper and I do not need to be prompted to add more. I will tip more if service is lightning speed or extraordinary in some way.
There is so much to do and see on this ship but I think RC would serve themselves well by adding some sort of water slide. My boys loved it on Carnival and seemed to be the one and only thing this ship didn't have.
There were two times the ship showed the crowds. When they had the sales, which they hard pressed like crazy in the Promenade all week (literally for a bunch of crap) but people still lined up for these 'scheduled' sales. And at leaving the ship. It was efficient but still long lines. I did get sucked into the Coach sale, I must say, nice addition to the stores.
There is much being said about Amy, the cruise director. I would give her an A for effort. She tries amazingly hard but it seemed a bit contrived at times. (even gives Zumba lessons on 2 mornings of the cruise) However, I think that job does need some seasoning and isn't a job for someone that young. A good example would be the Wedding Game, the knock off of the Newlywed game. It was rather bad and I think someone a bit older would have been able to prompt the contestants more knowingly. I think she has great potential though.
Plan ahead, enjoy the boardwalk, park and promenade! Overall, they say it is the ship of dreams and it was, it really was.