Cruise Background: my husband and I prefer intimate (less than 1000 passengers) ships. Itinerary is more important to us than ship amenities. Food, and service follow closely behind itinerary.
For this cruise, there are 24 of us in our group for this cruise. I am travelling with my mom and with friends and family of different age group; we need a different set of requirements and enjoyment.
TOP 10 THINGS ABOUT OASIS
10. EMBARKATION. I find embarkation surprisingly easy breezy! It was after 1pm though. There were 24 of us in our group, and we were able to get our seapass swiftly, and get onboard. We were told by the RC agents that the building was built new to accommodate the big ships as Oasis and the Allure.
9. STATEROOM. Our cabin number is 8218, port side balcony. Great view from port side. The cabin has an efficient layout, with a 2 seater sofa to watch TV or for room service. Bathroom has shower doors; I can't stand the sticky shower curtain. Ventilation is excellent. Sufficient storage throughout the room. The bed, bedding and pillow are comfortable. I think these features are superior to other huge ships. Balcony is of fair size. I can sit out there comfortably.
Downside of this location for those with mobility challenges: this cabin is located in the mid point between the 2 sets of elevators: Aft and Forward. Also, our cabin is right behind the restaurants on Central Park location, the smell of food and cooking permeates the hallway.
8. SHIP AMENITIES
I think this ship appeals to families with kids, or inter generation travelers. The Flowrider, the Rock climbing, the Zip line, miniature golf, attract different age groups.
There is area such as Solarium dedicated to adults only. And it is fully used in most days.
Kids and teens also enjoy Kids zone, own pool area, arcade,
For those of us who prefer quiet places to read a book, there are a few spots such as Viking Crown Lounge available.
Library is small, and has limited reading selection. Bring your own reading materials.
There is a card room, where I have seen games of mah jong, scrabble being played. Internet, and computers share the same room. I picked up my daily sudoku there.
7. SHOPPING. I think shopping is a very popular activity on Oasis. I won't be surprised if it is No. 1 activity. Plenty Shopping choices are on the Royal Promenade. And different sales and promotional events keep this promenade hopping especially during sea days.
6. CASINO. If shopping is number 1, I would say casino must be No. 2 or vice versa. It is a fair size casino, bigger than any I have seen. And it is packed. Smoking is allowed in the casino.
5. JOGGING TRACK. One amenity I really enjoyed and used almost every day is the jogging track. The track is on deck 5, which is different from the usual top deck. No view, No wind. The track is well set up, non-slip flooring, areas for stretching, room for both walkers and runners. It even comes with water fountain and motivational quotes. However, I still miss the expansive water view and ocean breeze on top deck.
4. SERVICE. Due to Oasis size, I did not expect much. I think to expect high standard in such a massive ship is unrealistic. However, one person really stands out and made a huge difference to me and our group: our head waiter, Eray. He was always visible, at every dinner in the dining room. Because of special vegetarian diets, my friends require special menu plan. Eray would patiently go over the menu and planned their special order for the following night. He did this every night, with a smile. In the short time, we felt he has known us, and understood us. And I saw he was the same with other tables within his management area. And he came across sincerely enjoying pleasing his customers!
I think due to him, we overlook many other deficiencies, such as the long time for the food to arrive, etc...
If it is possible, choose to sit in his section in the dining room. He will make the difference for you.
On the flip side, I have to mention an incident that happened with our group. After dinner on day 3, our group "leader" or "representative" was approached by the main dining room maitre D and manager, pointed out some of us have not filled out the gratuities forms. There are a couple of things that don't sit right with us about this incident: 1) How do they know that only half of us have filled out the gratuities form? And this is only the third night, not the final night. 2) Is gratuities no longer personal and discretionary? is gratuities not a symbol of our appreciation for service extraordinaire?
In addition, the way it was presented to us left a bad taste in our mouth. (when one in our group wanted to explain and clarify, he was interrupted by the maitre D and the manager: "you don't speak. Let me finish first." Evidently, this request for gratuities was not a friendly reminder. It was a demand, and a demeaning slant toward our group. Their attitude was very offensive to many of us who typically give more than "guideline" amount in gratuities. Bad form. Some in our group vowed never to sail Royal Caribbean again. Our group managed to report this incident to the captain, who was shocked, and will look into it. This is not to paint the whole ship with the same dark brush.
3. FOOD SELECTION. On Oasis, restaurant selections are abundant. Windjammmer buffet is no longer the only place to go. The guests were encouraged to dine in other neighborhood eateries such as Park cafe, Promenade cafe, Johnny Rocket etc... I did not try the specialty restaurants.
One drawback for me is within the 7 days, I did not figure out exactly which restaurants or eatery places are all day complimentary, which are semi-complimentary, and or which are fee only.
2. MUSICIAN SELECTION The various musicians throughout the ship appeal to different groups and also to different venues. Throughout the ship, you can dance with the upbeat Caribbean band; or you can hum along a young guitarist playing familiar Broadway musicals,...I was captivated by the violinist and pianist duo in the Central Park on deck 8. Under the star-filled sky, I was mesmerized. I did not want them to end.
1. ENTERTAINMENT I was surprisingly impressed with the quality of the shows. I am not a show person. I find sitting for another 45-60 min. right after a lengthy heavy dinner is unbearably uncomfortable. However, I did for these shows. And I am glad I did. The shows and performers (especially the Aqua shows) are highly skilled and talented. I did not attend Hairspray production, or the comedy performance. For those I did attend, I thoroughly enjoy them.
Oasis has a superb audio system. The quality is incredible!
I highly recommend the shows. Reserve those shows! For Theater show, I recommend watching from deck 3, or 5. Deck 4 has sections where posts block some views.
I hope you get a sense of Oasis from my top 10 list.
If you have never tried a city at sea, you may choose to give Oasis a try. It is an experience even for those of us who are used to smaller intimate ships. Just bear in mind, Oasis is about the ship and its amenities.
One final note...
The disembarkation was surprisingly different from the embarkation. Chaos.
Due to some unexplained reasons, the process was 2 hours late. All public areas were chaos. No one knew what was going on.
I also had a problem with the signage and inconsistent information at the custom line-ups, after you pick up your luggage. There were 2 line ups at the custom: one for US Citizens, and one for Non-US.
As expected, the shortest line up is for US Citizens. The non-US is huge line up. (imagine 6000 passengers.)
Don't rely on the staff's direction. If you hold Canadian passports and don't look Caucasians, ask specifically if US Citizen line up include Canadians. You will save yourself a lot of time getting through the customs.