Although the sheer size of the ship intimidates many passengers, I absolutely loved all the extra amenities and options. The Oasis is so massive that it feels like you are at a large hotel or resort rather than on a ship. We never felt the movement of the ship. When we booked our cruise, we did not even look at the ship's itinerary. We just wanted to experience the ship and the Oasis did not disappoint. Our 7-night Western Caribbean cruise left from Ft Lauderdale, FL and visited Labadee, Haiti, Falmouth, Jamaica and Cozumel, Mexico. The ship is doing something right as each sailing is fully booked our captain told us and on our cruise there were 150 passengers on back-to-back cruises.
As recommended by RCCL, we pre-booked online all our reservations for dinners and shows. I have to admit it took some time for me to do all this but it was well worth the effort. Our cruise document, Guest Ticket Booklet listed a summary of all our reservations in a neat format so we had no trouble knowing where we should be each day. I just added in everything else we wanted to do daily on the same page once we were onboard. You can wait to make reservations on the interactive TV in your stateroom but you may not get the times that you want. It also helps if you sign the waiver ahead of time for Zip Lining, ice skating, Rock Climbing Walls or the Flow Riders.
We parked at an offsite parking lot and arrived at the terminal before the ship was cleared for boarding so we waited 15 minutes for the process to start. It was done very orderly starting with those occupying suites followed by repeat passengers at descending award levels. Within ten minutes we were onboard. We chose to eat at Sorrento's, a pizzeria rather than try finding a table in what we knew would be a very crowded Windjammer Buffet Restaurant. There was no line here and we were able to order pizzas with our choice of toppings. We sat at a small table and people watched until our pizzas were brought to us. Afterwards, we had a snack at the Cafe Promenade (opened 24 hrs.) We then toured the ship until our stateroom was ready at 1PM.
Our quiet Central Park Balcony Stateroom, Category C1, Deck 12 #647 was quite unique as it was actually an inside cabin yet the balcony was open to the sky. Although smaller than ones we had on Carnival cruises, the stateroom held all our possessions with plenty of hangers and shelf space. My husband wished for more drawer space but we managed nicely. The cabin was airy with light colored walls, furniture, colorful carpet, full length mirror and attractive wall hangings. The king bed was very comfortable with plenty of pillows. We had a sofa, desk, chair, flat screen TV and small open end tables. Our Stateroom Attendant, Michael Cambronero, was helpful, accommodating, professional and friendly. He called us by name and often gave us tips on what to do or see. We requested ice and toiletries and he replenished them automatically as needed.
Before sailing, we attended the mandatory Safety Drill which for me was a waste. I was sitting behind a column and could not see any of the video. Our Muster Station was an overcrowded bar lounge where many passengers had to stand. We were lucky to have seats. After the drill, we went up on deck to meet all our Cruise Critic friends for the Sail Away Party. Everyone was so friendly and we enjoyed ourselves. See us all on the Fort Everglades Website Webcam, September 1, 2012 sailing. Cruise Critic members organized lots of other activities and I especially enjoyed participating in the Cabin Crawl by showing our cabin and handing out Mardi Gras beads to our visitors. My husband enjoyed winning all the RCCL logo items and the Champagne bottle at the cool Meet & Mingle. The invitations were neat & I saved them as souvenirs. Thanks RCCL!
We ate all our dinners in the MDR as the food there was fine. We selected "My Time Dining" yet every night the hostess put us at the same table with the same Head Waiter, Server and assistant server. We rarely waited on a long line since we dined each night around 6-6:30. Lines began forming after 7 PM. Beginning with our September 1, 2012 sailing, the Oasis instituted brand new menus. I appreciated that every night my favorites, Escargot, Shrimp Cocktail and CrÃ¨me Brulee were on the menu. Service was professional, friendly and most of our needs were actually anticipated by the excellent staff who all worked together seamlessly. I can't give enough praise to Roshan D'Sousa, Head Waiter, Chante, our Server and John, Assistant Server as well as the competent front reception desk hostesses. I also enjoyed the beautiful classical background dinner music.
The public areas of the ship were awesome. Standouts were the lively Royal Promenade and the seaside-themed Boardwalk areas. Although both areas can get crowded for events, they are still fun places to visit, shop, eat and people watch. We rode the beautiful Carousel and stopped by the Psychic Booth in Boardwalk. We shopped in the Royal Promenade boutiques and checked out the various lounges and bars nightly. It was always fun strolling through Central Park especially at night under the stars. With twenty-one pools and whirlpools, we never had trouble finding a lounge chair in the shade. We enjoyed the quiet and warm Solarium pool. The Opal Theater and the Casino Royale were lovely.
What impressed me the most about the ship, however was the massive open air Aqua Theater with two large screen TVs showing 3D movies. Don't miss the amazing Oasis of Dreams Aqua Show. It is a must - take my word for it. The daring aerial talent, skill and showmanship of all the divers, gymnasts and synchronized swimmers are superb. Do not sit in the splash zone unless you want to get wet. The Fountain Show was also fun to watch.
There were many other unique and fun things that impressed me, too. The Rising Tides Bar located in the Royal Promenade (it ascends & descends 8 stories) was a real novelty. The ice skating rink where you can skate for free - long pants and socks required was a must do for me. I did not realize how rusty my ice skating was. I enjoyed watching the whimsical Frozen in Time Ice Show, and attending the Cosmic Ice Skating Party. Splish Splash Comedy Dive was entertaining to watch. If you only go to one show, make it the spectacular Come Fly with Me. I was awed by the amazing aerial performances and scenic backdrops. Do not miss the wonderful Hairspray Broadway Musical Comedy, either. The actors put their hearts and souls into the show. Another highly entertaining performance was Headliner Showtime starring Earl Turner. His singing talent and personality had everyone in the audience engaged. Try to attend at least one comedy show. The acts here are truly funny without being vulgar. If you are more adventuresome than I was, try the exciting Flow Riders and Rock Climbing Walls. It is also just fun to watch others try. I also thoroughly enjoyed all the DreamWorks* Experiences and Character photo opportunities with Puss in Boots, Alex, Shrek, Fiona, Po and many others. I loved the various DreamWorks Parades. Go up one deck for a better view. The Street Parties are crowded but energizing. There is so much to do onboard that if you are ever bored, it is not the cruise ship's fault. The advance reservation system worked very well for us. There were never problems with lines or mistakes. I thought that Amy Fickert our cruise director did an excellent job. The Navigational Aides near the banks of elevators are a terrific tool to help you find your way around the ship - even to your own cabin. They are easy to use and quite helpful. Look down on the elevator floor to keep track of the day of the week. All our shore Excursions with RCCL went well & we thought them worthwhile.
My negatives were few. In my stateroom I missed not having a retractable clothes line.
The outlets were in an awkward place under the desk and hard to access. I disliked having to prepay my gratuities just because I chose My Time Dining. I also didn't like having to pre-pay my Shore Excursions and Beverage Package. I rarely ate in the Windjammer because it was too difficult to balance beverage, salad, entrees and dessert without a tray. Instead we ate in the Solarium. I did appreciate staff members directing passengers to vacant tables and refilling beverage glasses and cups which was a nice touch. I loved the idea of a donut shop but I would like to see the quality of the donuts improved. The Royal Promenade was extremely crowded for special events and the wait for elevators could be long at peak times. In Labordee, I wish that there had been an RCCL rep onshore to direct us to our shore excursions. If there was one, we did see him/her. We also experienced a long final departure delay through no fault of the ship. Not enough inspectors showed up for work that day.
All in all, The Oasis of the Seas is a great ship for newlyweds, young singles/couples, families and kids. I don't fall into any of those categories, though and I still had a fabulous time. If you love to meet people from all over the world, you will love this ship. Unexpectedly, we met dear friends on this ship that we didn't know were taking this sailing. How funny to run right into them in Central Park. Now, I would love to cruise on the sister ship, The Allure of the Seas for a slightly different experience.