Two ladies "of a certain age", friends for six decades (!!)left hubbies at home and traveled from New England to Ft. Lauderdale for our Excellent Adventure. I have cruised several times before (Carnival, Holland, Norwegian, Celebrity and RCL) but this was friend's first cruise. Neither of us was disappointed---and friend is now hooked on cruising!! We flew down the night before sailing and had booked a room at the Rodeway Inn and Suites, which turned out to be a disaster, since they had overbooked and we were "bumped" to another hotel miles away from the port which turned out to be totally unsatisfactory in every way. Can't even make a long story short about THAT one it was so bad but will only say that I cannot recommend Rodeway to anybody. Will suggest you avoid.
We arrived at the port at 10:30 Saturday and were checked in immediately (no lines)and sent to a comfortable waiting area where we sat for only about 15 minutes before being called aboard. I have never had a More
check-in done so efficiently and quickly with any other cruise I have taken. How RCL does this with 6200 passengers is a virtual miracle. Our cruise was fully booked and I was a bit apprehensive about crowding on board but, after the first few hours, people got their bearings and settled into their own niches and except for obvious places like the pool deck and showtimes and sometimes at the elevators, we never noticed crowding at all.
Oasis is GORGEOUS and what a surprise. It's beautifully decorated throughout and absolutely immaculately maintained. The staff is unfailingly cheerful, smiling and accommodating.
Our cabin was an ocean-side balcony which I highly recommend. The "neighborhood" balconys are hot, airless, and absolutely lacking in privacy. If they are less expensive than the ocean side ones, it can't be worth the savings. Our cabin was a typical cruise ship size, i.e. VERY SMALL but even two women with all of the stuff that women have had no problem with space or storage. The bathroom is tiny but works very well for two people. We especially liked the glass shower. Our steward was fantastic and took excellent care of us. The beds were extremely comfortable and had lovely linen. There is a flatscreen TV but it's fairly useless---it shows mostly in-house programmming. DO bring a power strip---the one inaccessible plug is not adequate. We used room service a couple of days to have breakfast out on our balcony, which was a lovely thing to do----gazing at the aqua Caribbean after having our food brought and practically fed to us----it was THAT easy!!! Room service was prompt and accurate and no charge, except for a small tip for the waiter of course.
We chose MyTime Dining and I had made reservations for each night in advance, which I learned from Cruise Critic reviews was a necessity. We loved the MDR and are baffled as to any complaints about the food. Every single thing we ordered was delivered quickly, looked beautiful and tasted even better. Food that was supposed to be hot was hot and chilled food was chilled. All this for 6200 people!!! Amazing. Our server, Dwayne, was excellent--attentive, helpful, and as with everybody in the crew, cheerful and just plain nice.
One night we ate at Chops and honestly, it was as good as any top steakhouse I've been to in the States. We each had a petite filet which was fork tender and absolutely delicious. Friend had her usual creme brulee for dessert (which was every night!) and I had a mango/raspberry mousse with fresh berries that was divine. We sat outside on their little terrace which is in Central Park and it was just beautiful---bee lights on the trees and lighted lanterns guiding the way into the eateries in the Park. Highly recommend Chops. We did not eat at any of the other for-fee places, except Johnny Rockets for breakfast one day, which was fine--nothing special. The Seafood Shack looked hot and not terribly attractive to us so we avoided. In fact the entire Boardwalk area didn't particularly appeal but we did enjoy a ride on the carousel. We also ate at the MDR for breakfast which was excellent.
We DID avoid the Windjammer and mostly ate at the Solarium or Park Cafe for lunches. Yes, folks, the roast beef sandwich at the Park Cafe meets all the hype! Also, forget the diet and treat yourself to yummy frozen yogurt every afternoon at the Wipeout Cafe.
I had also signed up for the shows in advance---again a necessity. We saw Hairspray, the two aqua shows, the skating show---all of which were top quality and best of all, the sound wasn't amped so high it hurt your ears. We also saw the Comedy Club show which was okay---two guys doing the usual standard "big ship" jokes with slightly blue language, but nothing juvenile or shocking. Ricky the Cruise Director was a bit over the top and a total extrovert but people seemed to love him and I know how hard he works as Cruise Director.
Our favorite bar was the Crown Lounge at the top of the ship---comfortable sofa seating with a gorgeous view and special drinks each night. We also enjoyed the Champagne Bar, which serves complimentary caviar with fixings each night at cocktail time. There is lovely music throughout the ship---a piano/violin duo at the MDR during dinner and a classical guitarist in Central Park in the evening for instance. Sitting under the stars there after dinner, tucked into one of the nooks under the trees, with comfortable upholstered furniture was a lovely thing to do.
We did not use the Casino at all but noticed it was thoughtfully tucked out of the way instead of smack-dab in the center as it is on most ships, which forces you to walk through it all the time. This Casino was not even noticeable unless you wanted to! Very nice design feature. We also didn't use the kids club area, obviously, but peeked at it and were very impressed with the facilities. I know my grandkids would have a ball there.
The only jarring note was the junk they put out on the Promenade for special sales and boy, was it junk. People were snapping it up like they will never be able to shop again but really, most of it was of super cheap quality. The shops on board, however, were nice and carried fairly good items but hardly at a savings, I thought. We never felt badgered by crew trying to up-sell at all. The bar servers at the Solarium pool were unfailingly polite and not pushy at all.
We avoided the main pool deck which was crowded and noisy with, by the way, surprisingly small and inadequate pools for so many people and used the Solarium area exclusively. It's very pretty and quiet but a bit hot. I would suggest they try to figure out a way to shade part of it. But that said, we thoroughly enjoyed being there and so will you! There is a little cooling pool with fountains and two big hot tubs.
Our ports were Nassau--a total waste of time. The town is horrible with RELENTLESS badgering at every turn. I understand people are just trying to make a living, but really---it's too off-putting for words. Why ships call at this port is beyond me. In St. Thomas, we went to Coral World (so-so) and Megan's Bay and spent a nice afternoon there. Excellent swimming and not crowded at all since only two ships (ours and a Carnival ship) were in port. We spent most of the day in St. Martin at Orient Beach which is gorgeous and beautiful swimming, although be prepared for relatively challenging surf.
Disembarkation was what it always is. Depressing, boring, tiring but went fairly quickly. Our number group waited in comfort in the MDR to be called. In a virtual sea of bags in the terminal, the way they organized it made ours easy to find---such organization is truly impressive. The DMVs in the US should take a page from this cruise line's book as to "How to Run an Efficient Operation".
We would sail on beautiful Oasis again in a heartbeat but the limited itineraries are a bit of a deterrent. I just don't want to go to those same places over and over again. Hopefully they will be expanding the port choices in the future.
Thank you for your patience in reading this long review. Hope it was helpful! Less
Oasis of the Seas Cruises to the Eastern Caribbean