Pre-Cruise - Arrived in Ft Lauderdale on Friday and stayed at the Springhill Suites -- Dania. They provide free airport and port shuttles. Check-in was fast, room was clean and there were restaurants and shopping within walking distance. Breakfast is provided but it was not particularly good or organized for the number of guests. The staff however is very courteous and helpful.
Arrival at Port - The cruise check-in was even better than all the reviews I had read. The Springhill Suites Airport shuttle driver explained how everything would work when we arrived at the port (15 minutes later). Porters were there ready to tag your bags to be delivered to your stateroom. Remember to print out the baggage tag page of your sea pass (it displays the deck, cabins and location on the deck). The porter process took the longest because there were a number of people there. After the bags were tagged, we tipped the porter and went into to check-in. We had our passports ready and sailed thru security. All electronics stay in your bags and your shoes stay on your feet. Next stop was the queue for the actual check-in. I forgot we had Gold status (at least 1 cruise on RCCL) -- so I got in the queue which was empty for cruisers (without status). We were done the whole process in less than 5 minutes.
Park Cafe (complimentary) -- Head here first on day of arrival, especially if you are waiting to get to your stateroom which are not available until 1:00 PM. The roast beef sandwiches lived up to all the great reviews. Salads were good too. This is the most consistently good venue throughout the entire cruise -- from the wait staff, to the servers to the food.
Main Dining Room (MDR) -- For breakfast there is an adequate buffet and a menu. If you let them know you want a menu, you can also go to the buffet and get any of those items. I would recommend this if you want egg whites or any (complimentary specialty items not on the buffet). Oatmeal toppings (raisins, craisins, nuts, etc.) are on the buffet but not the oatmeal. So I had to order oatmeal off the menu. It comes with raisins and brown sugar. I also ordered a vegetable egg white omelet that was not on the menu and it was fantastic. The fee items at breakfast are freshly squeezed OJ and any specialty coffee.
Dinner was average in the Opus Dining Room (MDR). Shrimp cocktail was small but fresh, Parmesan crusted salmon and Pork chop was good. Desserts, banana crÃ¨me brulee and blueberry peach crumble with vanilla ice cream were good. Lots of additional for fee items were on the dinner menu -- whole Maine lobster, espresso, latte, etc. The Captain's Dinner (Day 3), Filet mignon which was provided years ago (is offered for a fee) and has been replaced with complimentary beef tenderloin. It was tender and flavorful but not a replacement for filet mignon.
Chops ($30 pp) - Shrimp cocktail for me was the clear winner of the entire night. It contained 5 fresh extra large shrimp tastefully displayed with cocktail sauce. The bread was warm but the butter was almost frozen and therefore was not spreadable. The deconstructed Caesar salad differed from the one served in the main dining room in appearance only. The filet that most reviewers rave about was just average to both me and my family. It was extremely tender but not a lot of flavor. I ordered medium and my daughter order medium well. DH had the braised (boneless) short ribs which were good but yet again not as flavorful as they short ribs (with bone) that Chops offered years ago. The desserts, although huge, followed in the same vein as the appetizers and the entrees. The red velvet cake was beautiful but not that tasty. The service was the most unnerving. The Chops (of yesteryear) was a quiet establishment with a relaxed almost intimate ambience. The Chops on Oasis of the Seas seemed almost chaotic. The atmosphere would remind you of the whirling dervishes. Waiters were literally zooming by and the lights would dim and then get a little brighter and then dim again. I'm not sure if this was a typical night (Day 4) at Chops but something was amiss for sure. A couple across from me had a major complaint about their entree and sent everything back. A head waiter, or someone that seemed to be in a supervisory capacity came over to talk to them shortly before everything was sent back. As we were leaving another couple was actually complaining about getting a refund because of whatever their experience was that night. Overall our wait staff experience was better in the Main Dining Room but the taste of the food and the coffee were slightly better in Chops.
Johnny Rockets -- Limited selections but good complimentary breakfast menu. Lunch and dinner were also good. The service was fantastic.
Solarium - Breakfast at Solarium is complimentary, quiet and good for healthy selections.
Windjammer (complimentary) - lots of selections but get there early. Staff extremely vigilant with the hand sanitizer when the masses enter this location, probably rightly so. The staff was extremely pleasant.
Soda Package -- Best valued product that the Oasis of the Seas offers and well worth the cost. There are Coke machines that allow the user (with the soda package to-go tumbler) to mix 100+ carbonated and non-carbonated flavors. The Oasis has 2 of these Coke machines on Deck 5, 4 in the Windjammer and 2 in the arcade. The package (stamped on your SeaPass) also allows for you to obtain Coke, Diet Coke and Sprite from any bar with no additional charge.
The non -- soda package beverages were: Coffee (fairly weak from the complimentary venues but very strong at Chops), hot chocolate (best from Johnny Rockets), hot tea (great selection), still water and flavored water (raspberry --kiwi).
We had a balcony, midship on deck 12. Our stateroom attendant, Marivic, was sensational. So much that we gave her a "WOW" award. This is a recognition program by RCCL for exceptional service. Stateroom was an adequate size for 3 adults and the bathroom and shower were larger than I have experienced in other RCCL ships. I would highly recommend an outside balcony vs. an interior balcony. The partitions between the balconies provided good privacy but beware although the cabins are non-smoking some passengers will smoke on their balcony as was the case with our neighbors on one side only. It looked like RCCL provided them with a metal container to extinguish there cigarettes. The ship has designated smoking areas, so I'm not sure why this is allowed on the balconies
Entertainment -- This is where RCCL -- Oasis of the Seas has improved beyond your wildest expectation. Hairspray is phenomenal and is 90 minutes long. The Aqua and Ice Shows are breath-taking. The Headliner, Kenny James (a former Star Search winner) was amazing. He was so up close and personal that after the show he stood out in the lobby and took pictures with any of the audience members. This was the last show of his 2 day appearance and was at 7:30 PM (in between the early seating and the last seating of MDR on a formal night). Normally you need to get to the venues at least 30 minutes in advance to get good seats but this must have not been highly reserved because we arrived Â½ hour before there was no one from RCCL to swipe your SeaPass to verify that you had pre-booked this time. The original lack of attendance was not due to the performer but I believe due to the timing. We had an early MDR seating, so we opted to do the Windjammer that night because it was a good chance we would not get to the venue until the show started. The show ended a little after the 2nd MDR seating would have started. So I guess those who had the Anytime Dining option would have had the most flexibility. All in all it filled right up when the show was about to start. Mr. James has a phenomenal voice and a somewhat eclectic selection of songs with an emphasis on Motown. The Oasis of the Seas orchestra fit so well with his performance that you would have never knew that they don't always perform together. Two highlights of the Kenny James Headliner show are -- "Butterfly Kisses" (a touching ballad) and his duet with his son on bass guitar of Chris Cross' "Sailin".
Excursions - Schedule excursions and entertainment online at least a week before boarding the ship. Your excursion tickets will be delivered to your stateroom.
- Library is great to get away but extremely small.
Departure from Port- Disembarking was super easy. However we waited over an hour for our bus to arrive for the post-cruise Hollywood, Florida excursion. If you have a late flight, I would recommend this excursion.