Like so many before me and as proven in pictures and video, Oasis is HUGE...to the point where it was just to overwhelming for us. We're mid-30's professionals and we were celebrating my birthday during the cruise. We are not snobby, nor are we use to living a posh lifestyle, so as you read my review please don't be quick to think I am complaining to much...I will be giving my honest review of the ship, staff, passengers, common areas and ports.
Arrival to Fort Lauderdale-
We arrived at 8:30am on a red-eye from San Francisco; if you're coming from the west coast, this is the BEST way to go in my opinion. After collecting our bags (the airport was not at all busy), we inquired about the RCCL shuttle with one of the many FRIENDLY employees; these are mainly senior citizens...who knew more about Oasis then some of the ship's employees! After about a thirty minute wait, and with much more information than I found online, we boarded a bus. We made one stop at a second terminal and then were off for the port. About 10-15 minutes later, we arrived at the port...and Oasis was there, AMAZING in size. As a grown man, I have to say it was (almost) breathtaking...I didn't get as giddy as my girlfriend.
Port Everglades Embarkation-
I am always in planning mode, so my first thing to do was figure out the best way to make an efficient embarkation. Royal Caribbean figured that out for me; non-suit passengers one way, suit passengers another. Security was effortless; the airports could learn a few things from these folks. The line waiting in security and passing it took no more than 3 to 5 minutes, IF THAT! Once pass security you enter a MASSIVE display of check-in stations. We were escorted to a waiting boarding/ticket (type) agent who took our Passports and credit cards; we signed the standard "I haven't been sick in X days..." form (later I'll tell you my thoughts on that) and then got our update on Hurricane Isaac, took our SeaPass picture, got our SeaPass and then headed upstairs to a waiting area. The waiting area looks massive and it is, but don't be intimidated...the entire process is as smooth as a line at Disneyland. We waited there for about 30 minutes and then...we were off for Oasis; at this point it was about 10:30am.
Onboard Oasis of the Seas:
Once onboard, we were greeted with what we've seen in so many pictures and videos...a city on a ship. We headed up to the Windjammer Buffet; upon entering it was a busy place...but we found a table immediately (last time we'd experience this). We hadn't eaten since the night before, so we helped ourselves to breakfast; not bad...not great. After breakfast, we had our first "drink of the day," and started to vacation!
Besides the expected rude passengers that live as if there is no one else on the ship but them, the WindJammer is easy to maneuver but RCCL could do a much better job with traffic flow and making tables available to waiting passengers. Note: A LOT of people will sit at a table after finishing their food and chat...fine if it's not busy but be courteous to others! There are recorded announcements to vacate your tables once your finished...I found this amusing. On our last day, I watched a woman take five place settings and put them in her purse; she then used a cloth napkin to wrap up food to go! REPULSIVE...don't be that person ?
Main Dinning Room (MDR)-
A very large, multi-level dinning room. For dinner, we were situated on the 4th floor in the back, in a small room; I noted that I felt like a "third class passenger on the Titanic." It was a rather small dinning room with seven tables; six six-tops and one long large table for a big family. We requested a two-person table for dinner; we sat at a six-top. After sitting down, we informed our waiter who just smiled and said "if you don't like it after today, you can ask to change tomorrow." Our four other guests (two separate couples) arrived and they were great people; a little younger than us but very mature. After the first night, one of the couples got their own table, but we saw them often on the ship and had fun. We've made friends with the other couple and will keep in touch. You never know who you'll meet, that's for sure, but none the less, I found it pointless to take requests for table size.
The food was nothing to write home about, instead, write a review. I wasn't impressed at all with the quality and taste; A+ on presentation though. When you're cooking for almost 6,000 people, you can't really master cooking to order, but some alterations to the order are possible -- so I tried to mix things up. Every time I ordered steak in the MDR, I tried to change it up but knowing that the steak is probably cooked medium (as recommended each time by our waiter) and then sitting in a dish waiting to be placed on a plate. The first nights sirloin steak is what some butchers (my girlfriends father) call "glue steak." It's basically pieces of steak held together by an eatable product and cooked to order; perfectly legal and healthy, just taste bad.; you can find this at Costco for cheap. He confirmed this cut of meat to me after experiencing the same on the ship. Mashed potato's are great...as were the soups and salads; soups a bit salty though. Bar service is apparent, so don't worry about ordering a drink. Roasted turkey dinner on the last night was good; mostly white meat and one piece of dark (I asked for no dark, I can't stand it), I guess they didn't get the note in the kitchen; they also forgot the cranberry...oh well. Oh and the bread is always amazing! Our waiter was nice, but seemed overwhelmed at times; he had two other tables, so he wasn't overworked; his assistant busted her butt! Every time we asked for something (again, we are not picky or demanding), he seemed annoyed, I HATE that...I didn't ask for anything special...just HP sauce or Tabasco or cranberry sauce. He seemed to not like that we never took his daily recommendations on what to eat or do; this also annoyed me. Sorry, I don't eat fish nor do I want to go to a nude beach (yes, he suggested we visit it!). When the wait staff did a song and dance, he would literally stop what he was doing at our table and join them...its becoming clear that he wasn't my favorite, I admit. Back to the food...wait, no need. It fed us, but we ate light and stopped for a slice of pizza (not the best, but does the job) or a small sandwich in the cafe after dinner. Dessert was nice, basic mass produced treats, just like dinner. Ice cream was half melted by the time it arrived (not surprised, it's a large dinning room to maneuver). We often ordered several treats to sample.
MDR Breakfast & Lunch- I can't complain here. The service at both times was great; we got a seat fairly quickly as there is only two of us; families with large groups wait a while longer. Pushy folks at the buffet so we stay clear of that; I am amazed when people take food just because it's there and don't eat it or finish it...not for me to worry about but its pathetic. We like the pastry tray; the selection is great and full of flavor. We ate ala-carte...it was quick and efficient and the food was always delicious.
A bit of word on the rudeness on the ship- EVERY NIGHT in the MDR, we suffered the sounds of a European families kids running all over the dinning room, screaming, making noise. Never did the parents tell their children to be quiet and sit down, nor did the staff. Staff in fact had to maneuver around the bratty kids. I have the nerve to tell people their children are rude; some say that's rude but people pay a lot of money to cruise, they shouldn't have their dinner ruined by brats. Next to that table was a family of six with two teenage girls and a twenty-something loud mouth punk son. EVERY NIGHT he was loud, clearly drunk. He wore shorts and flip-flops to dinner except on formal night when he wore wrinkled pants and an un-tucked dress shirt. RCCL DOES NOT ENFORCE A DRESS CODE...so if you're the shorts and ball cap in a dinning room type of person, don't fear. On a ship this large, you're going to see a lot of people, from all walks of life...and a large number of people were rude; maybe it's a culture thing and their rudeness is normal, but as an American, I question how this is possible. We DID meet some great people on the ship, but cutting in lines, loud kids in a dinning room, people pushing people for a $20 watch...it really makes me not want to come back to such a large ship.
Back to the food...
Giovanni's Table-- Welcome to the Olive Garden at sea...slow waiter, barely Italian food; the spaghetti WAS how I like it, al dente. It was not on the menu but I asked for a side dish -- noddle's were great, sauce was from a can no doubt (understandable, but add some spices). My girlfriend told them it was my birthday, which it was...dinner came, then the bill. She was VERY annoyed. She told me she asked them to do something, and I was grateful. I told her not to say anything to them as that was their job to do something...as we were leaving the manager came over with a SECOND cake (which was not good) and said they were sorry they forgot (it wasn't busy, it was 10pm)...I excused myself and said I didn't need a second piece of cake. They insisted and so did I...again, the restaurant was not busy, save for the LOUD family next to us...we couldn't escape loud families thinking yelling is a way to communicate. My girlfriend later "complained" to guest services, unapologetic, they asked what we wanted them to do about it...she laughed and said "take a customer service class." This place may work for you, but when it's built up to be great food and service, and it's not, it's very upsetting. I ordered the veal cutlets...the meat had a nice taste to it but I am not sure it was veal, very thick pieces; it was more like a steak tenderloin. My girlfriend had gnocchi; she enjoyed it but I am never impressed when food comes out appearing like it had been under the hot lamp for a long time; you can tell because of how the cheese was melted to the dish. Maybe the Italian in me is picky...eat at your own will, just giving an honest review.
Johnny Rockets- Hard to mess up a standard! We ate here one day for lunch and breakfast. Lunch was lunch...a juicy burger and great onion rings! Milkshake was great too, again, hard to mess up a standard. The special sauce DOES have a little kick, so if you don't like spicy, don't get the red-red sauce. Breakfast was quick and complimentary...basic breakfast food from the main dinning room; the scrambled eggs don't seem prepared traditionally, almost have a powered egg taste to them; if they are, so be it, I ate them often; they are a bit salty but I like that. At lunch, the servers yell out "HELLO!" as you enter...this was fun!
Cupcake Cupboard- Where were the cupcakes? We had a couple...they were less like cake based cupcakes and more like fudge. For my girlfriend not to finish a cupcake means it was bad...we were not impressed at all. Great treat for someone wanting sugar and maybe we hit a bad day (maybe we are picky), but this was disappointing. None the less, it's a cute little shop.
Park Cafe- Can I get a table? We had lunch here one day...finally got to eat after we left the cafe and sat at a bar in Central Park. You have to be aggressive to get a table, like at the WindJammer. I had the famous roast beef sandwich and my girlfriend had a salad, which is create your own. Her salad was nice...but I am trying to find out what is so great about the roast beef sandwiches? Overcooked meat. Moving on...
Sorrento's pizza- Great when you need a quick fix! There is always pizza and the line moves fast. There are three types; a special for the day, cheese and cheese with a slice or two of pepperoni. Grab two or three and then head to the pub across the way for a beer!
The Donut Shop- Basic donuts...a little on the cake side of things...I see a trend here.
Roomservice- Faster than I expected; food was comparable to MDR / WindJammer. The last two days, we received a plate full of fruit...A LOT OF FRUIT. Two of the three times we ordered, the server waited at the door for a tip...it was obvious. I dispise that!
Bars- I noticed when the drinks were made in front of me, they were better and top-shelf. I drink gin, so if I want good gin, I ask for the best...I know gin and when I ordered a drink during Hair Spray, I asked for "Bombay Sapphire and tonic, three olives"...this is usually serviced with a lime, but I like olives. I got a double beefeater and tonic with a lime and a glass of olives, and was charged for a double Bombay...I didn't argue it. Again, I know gin, I can tell the difference. When I ordered the same thing at the Champagne Bar, I got what I asked for, easy as that. I'm paying; I should get what I ask for!
Rooms- Bigger than I expected...we had a Boardwalk Balcony. When the door is closed, you can hardly hear a peep from the Boardwalk, you will see flashing lights if you don't close your curtains properly at night. Note that the Master switch needs to be on for the AC to work! The balcony was good size and a good place to watch the shows at the Aqua Theatre, or read while sailing! Our neighbor used it to smoke...so the smoke traveled our way...yuck! I called to complain (geez, this is all I did!) and it never stopped. Again, RCCL talks zero tolerance but its all talk. I complained at the lack of cold water (MANY people in reviews have complained of this), I was told they were working on it...must be a problem because it's an old problem. It was if they heard it so many times their standard response is the same. Unlike other ships, you can't bring an iron so if you're shirts get wrinkled, you're forced to use their service (at a fee) or crank up the hot water in the shower (hot water is abundant) and hope the steam helps your clothing; I chose this and Downey winkle remover! The interactive TV is great...a nice feature that all ships will follow with I'm sure; ordering room service was easy, as was checking restaurant crowds. Our room was made up after we left for breakfast and in the evening (after a nap & dinner). We saw our stateroom attendant three times: on our first day, mid-week and our last day. He was very friendly each time; while he didn't pronounce our names correctly (two very easy & basic names), I can't fault the guy for having a sense of humor "I have English bad!" He made towel animals a few times too...a monkey, bat and an elephant. The beds are EXTREAMLY comfortable...as are the pillows and blankets...and I'm not saying that because we were tired! There is ONE outlet for use, at the vanity near the sliding door; I suggest you get a mini-usb power strip for about $20 at Staples; you can charge your phone via the usb port and use the three outlets for anything else (EXCEPT AN IRON)! A word about booze...don't try and get it on the ship at port or on the first day...they will spot it in x-ray (we didn't, but saw plenty of people who tried). On our last day in the Bahamas' (diverted due to the tropical storm), I carried on two bottles of rum...I guess since it was our last day at sea they didn't care OR because of limited time (due to the ship being stopped to recover a life jacket; some punk kids tossed it over board) they didn't inspect.
(Port Review Posted On Port Page)
Hair Spray- Terrific show for being on a ship at sea! The cast did a great job, very talented singers and dancers. We left the show with the closing song stuck in our heads. The cast & crew do a marvelous show putting this show on; it's condensed for time, but it hit every point and I have no complaints! Bravo!
Comedy- BEST comedies show I've ever seen; I've PAID big bucks for big acts, but this beat them! I am a former talent agent, I've worked with a lot of famous comedians...Chris Bliss & AJ Jamal ("there's a black man in the room!!!") were hilarious; if you're lucky, you'll have them on your ship! They really made it fun for all; this is not for kids...and don't be surprised to hear the F-bomb too, like some who left...you were warned before the show started. Host Simeon was ALSO hilarious...his Frosty The Snow Man dance was outstanding! They also hosted a family friendly comedy show and the transition was PERFECT!
Fly With Me- Amazing talent...I have to admit, I was falling asleep, not because it was boring, but because it was late and we had a long day. I'd be unfair in reviewing it other than saying the aerobatic stunts were sensational!
We did not go to any of the clubs or late night bars...we were beat by midnight!
All in all, the ship is what YOU make of it. Don't let the rude folks get to you, like they probably got to me. It size is overwhelming at first, but after a while, you get use to it. The user-friendly electronic compass screens are great too; use them for all kinds of help (restaurant availability, "what's happening now, " and directions around the ship).
Disembarkation was just as easy as boarding; we ate at WindJammer (as much as I didn't want to) as it was the only thing open; they stop at 8:30am. We disembarked at 9:15am and was in a taxi, heading to the airport within 45 minutes.
Would I go back to Oasis? Only if I had children or was with a large group. Would I recommend it? Only to families with children or large groups!
We are booking our next cruise on a smaller ship, this may be our best bet for what we like.