First us -We are a young couple male - 29, female 26.Sailed once before on the Allure of the Seas last March. That was out first cruise ever and now we are hooked. So we decided to give the Oasis a try. Oasis and the Allure are pretty much the same with some slight differences. I hope to cover them all below. I will say the Allure slightly edges out the Oasis but only by a point or 2. Sorry if my review is a little jumpy but I want to make sure I cover everything.
Pre Cruise - Left Philly the day before and stayed at the courtyard by Marriott in plantation Fla. Great clean hotel, friendly staff and a free shuttle that will get you from the airport and take you to the cruise port for free (small tips never hurt). The hotel area is great. Tons of restaurants, shops and even a movie theater all within walking distance. Carrabba's, Kohl's, Marshall's, Apple-bees, just to name a few.
Arrival at Port - Yes the rumors are true! It is a breeze to get on this ship. We took an early shuttle and got to the port around 930am. We waited in line till about 10 when they opened the security line. So quick tip don't get there until then. That was MY fault so I will not let that happen again. Once checked in you go upstairs to the loading area. I think we had to wait till about 11 am for the ship to open its doors but we were one of the first people to be let on the ship. They let the suite guests and emerald and above on the crown and anchor program. After that they let the gold level people (us) that are in the crown and anchor.
Rooms - We stayed in cabin number 6614 which was a D2 room type which had a balcony over looking the ocean. To us this is perfect for 2 people. Yes the bathrooms are small along with the shower but it works. If you like HOT water these bathrooms are for you. My only complaint is I could not get the water cold enough but whatever! Beds are so comfortable and you will sleep like a baby. Room has tons of storage, luggage fits under the bed and cubby holes everywhere for your things. There is a hair dyer (she said its not the best but it works). Couch is nice, flat screen TV, ok channel selection, large full body mirror by the door and a chair for her to put on make up. Room tips - bring at least one extension cord and one power strip. Only two outlets in the room. On this ship there in no alarm clock just the time (ship time) on the phone. On the allure they had an ipod dock/charger/alarm clock in the stateroom. On the TV you can book excursions, review your account, movies, and watch TV!!!!! lol. Last but not least our stateroom attendant. His name is Romeo and he was awesome. Anything you needed he got. Extra towels, pillows, laundry, dry cleaning, robes the best. He got my WOW award and I even gave him more then the suggested tip rate.
Food - Where do I begin. If you go hungry on this ship then there is something wrong with you. Any one that complains is out of there mind when it comes to food. There is something for everyone. Main Dining Room - Out waitress Michelle from Trinidad was Awesome as well. She gave her WOW award to her for her excellent service, information and food suggestions. She was so great we even sat in her section for lunch during sea days in the MDR. Our assistant waiter was good but English was not her strong suit so some miscommunication but no big deal. Back to the food. Tons of selections, great flavors and if you need more just ask. There is always a pasta, chicken, steak and fish during dinner. Along with shrimp cocktail, escargot, Cesar salad etc. Then the other options change daily. You can always order a lobster or a fillet (for a fee) every night as well. For dessert they always offer ice cream, a baileys flavored creme brulee and then specials every night. Breakfast - again tons of options. Room service hang the tag outside the door by midnight bam breakfast delivered next morning. All of these places were open too for FREE, Johnny Rockets, MDR, Solarium, windjammer, Doughnut shop and my personal favorite Park Cafe. Located on deck 8 (Central Park). Lunch - MDR was open for lunch on sea days. We loved sitting down and have a nice quiet setting. No charge but we always leave a small tip for good service. We only at at the windjammer once for lunch. Food is your normal cruise lunch buffet food. Not great but not bad. I know some people love the buffet but not really our thing. But beware it is small and does get packed. Park Cafe is open as well. They also offer a small buffet on the sports deck (15 i think) with burgers, pizza things like that. The Solarium is open too. We did give Giovanni's a try for lunch (fee). We like it. For the price we thought it was worth it. Service was good and I think it was only $20 bucks. As for the specialty restaurants we did not do any. We did some last time but the service was not good and to us the food in the MDR was just as good. So its really up to you. Snacking - Room service on this ship is great. Order on you TV and it arrives shorty there after. Again a small tip goes a long way. Sorrento's (pizza) deck 5 was good. I mean its not the best you ever had but trust me every time you pass you will grab a slice. And its free. You can grad something from the bar near the Aqua theater for free as well. Chicken nuggets, corn dogs things like that. Cafe Promenade had snacks as well (open 24 hours). For a fee ship has a Starbucks, ice cream shop, cupcake place and candy store. WAIT how could I forget the have self serve frozen yogurt machines by the pool a must try!
Excursions - First stop was Labadee. We rented a cabana for the day. Again well worth it. It was a bit pricey but it was really nice. You get towels, water, water mats, kayaks, and attendant, upgraded lunch buffet (from the ship) and a nice quiet place to relax. Falmouth - We opted to stay on the boat. We never did this before and it was glorious! Got great seats at the beach pool (favorite). No lines for the flow rider or the zip line. Great day. Lastly Cozumel. We decided to take matters into our on hands and take a cab to a beach and we were glad we did. Went to Playa Mia. They offer this through the ship but it is $25 more per person. So for $50 dollars each (they have a CC machine) we got all you can eat and drink. Along with use of all the water toys and in the ocean water park. We had a blast. Beach is private safe and clean. I guess it did not hurt that we were bombed as well!
Entertainment - Again truth to the rumors it is AWESOME!!!!! Due try to book everything in advance. We did and had not problems. My favorite is the Aqua shows but Hairspray, comedy were great too. Did not do the ice show bc not really our thing. Always see love and marriage game show its funny. Another thing I would suggest is to try the Adult game show called QUEST! We not only went but we were the captains for our section. We ended up winning (big shout out to TEAM 1) and got some gifts but gave most of them away to the people that helped us out. Great show. They also have a 3D movie theater, outdoor movies, parades and shows put on by the cruise director and his staff. Our CD was Ricky Matthews. He put Ken Rush (from the Allure to shame). Not that Ken was bad but Ricky was like a ball of fire that was always on. I also attended the ALL ACCESS tour on the last day. It is kind of expensive but worth it. We got to see the kitchens, laundry, bridge, coolers, freezers, crew bars, crew dining, behind the scenes at the Aqua theater and much more.
Departure - again simple but there was some long lines because they customs people were taking there sweet old time so not RC fault. Had a 11:45 am flight back to Philly with no problems at all!
Tips - On the boat you can sign up for a future cruise. You do not have to choose an entire trip but you can put down a $100 dollars and get a reservation number. It does not expire and when you do decide to book a future cruise you will get a $100 dollars off your next cruise and a $100 dollars on board credit for that cruise as well. Its for sure worth it if you decide to cruise again. Bring money for tipping a dollar here and there goes a long way. Gym is state of the art and is probably the best at sea. Half of the pools and hot tubs are open 24 hours. Remember everything is ship time. Best thing to do is to bring a waterproof watch and wear it the entire time. Pool areas do get crowed so get a spot early. They do not enforce the 30 minute rule so you are good there. Of the 4 main pools only one is salt water. Lastly, We liked staying on deck 6 mid ship bc you are close to everything and you can take the stairs to your room during the crowed elevator times.
Again sorry if I was all over the place and I did not have good flow in my review but I was just trying to make sure I covered everything. I will for sure be back and we are actually going on the Independence of the Seas on December 16th. I am hooked on cruising!!!!!!!!!!!