We are seniors (early 60s), traveling without children, who booked 2 ½ weeks out because our planned cruise on another line was cancelled. We quickly chose between Oasis, Freedom. While Freedom was less expensive, the plane fare and logistics to Freedom just didn't work out from NJ at the last minute.
Part I -- Booking last minute - We had limited choice of cabins at the last minute and we ended up choosing a unique ocean view all the way at the front of the ship overlooking the helicopter pad. We had a choice between this and boardwalk balcony right next to the arch on deck 14 and an OV on central park. Inside guarantees were more expensive. 3 days later only a few suites were left. Since DH values quiet over anything else we chose the forward OV. The cabin had the obvious disadvantage of the long walk to the forward elevators but we like to walk. We loved the cabin. It probably had 10 sq ft of empty cabin space near the slanted window wall. There were 2 full length windows with some OV if you stand or sit by the window. It was very quiet. Cruisers have no access to the helipad except for the one C&A party which we attended. Great deck if you hate elevators. We could walk down to deck 5 to the promenade and deck 6 to Central Park & the fitness center, or across the ship to the Boardwalk.
When we booked, early seating was waitlisted so we took My Time Dining. As it turned out, we cleared early seating immediately, so the only thing this changed was that we prepaid gratuities. We found this out when we went to book dinner reservations on line and it did not let us.
We immediately tried to book shows. We got 2 shows at a desirable time and 2 during the afternoon. The only Comedy Shows were late night so we did not book. We took the advice of fellow Cruise Critics and got to the ship at 10:30, embarked at 11:15 (we are platinum) and went directly to Studio B where they gave you a list to circle all the shows you were interested in. We then got on a short line to have our requests entered into the system. We left as happy campers, only to discover that the new reservations did not make it onto our cards. Guest services was able to get us all our reservations. This was just one of many times we had to visit guest services on this cruise. I spent more time waiting on line for guest services than I did for elevators. Except for the Aqua Show and the Comedy Show, there were empty seats for all the shows in the theatre. We chose the 8:30 time and even went to one of the shows a second time, waiting on no reservation line for 15 minutes.
Part 2 -- No denying it, the ship is unique and beautiful. DH even did ziplining and flowriding twice. Since we are early birds there was not a big line early. We spent many hours walking back and forth across the ship but we would have been just as happy walking on an outside promenade. I did like walking from dinner to shows across Central Park. It gave a nice upscale feel to the evening.
-Activities were geared to children and families.
-No destination lectures or enrichment lectures
-No formal bridge lectures or games
-Fewer trivia than on most cruise ships (or else they were so far away, not worth going to)
-Solarium had no shaded area so it was worthless to us.
-We struggled to find things to do on sea days that interested us.
-3D movies in theatre were geared to children. We watched Men In Black III which was fine. However we skipped Puss and Boots and the other animated movie. On other ships there is usually a movie in the afternoon, especially on sea days or unpopular port days like Jamaca. RCCL-please take note, more movies would be so inexpensive to add. We went to a Celine Dion music/movie in the aqua theatre and the acoustics were terrible. Maybe there were other shows of interest in the aqua theatre but they were not advertised in The Daily Planner and we were not in a cabin where we could just drop by the Aqua Theatre multiple times a day to see what was playing. The schedule is filled with photo opportunities with Dream Works characters where other ships would have adult geared activities.
-Food was good. We ate all dinners in MDR and we were more than satisfied with food and service. There were also many food venues around the ship. We eat a light lunch and we were happy with the Solarium. No problem getting seating except on the day when it started to drizzle. We ate breakfast in the MDR.
-Shows were good, especially enjoyed Hairspray. I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much in the afternoon. Also liked the aerial show and saw it twice.
-Music was way too loud in the pool areas, so we often had to move around. Wish there was shade in the solarium.
-Large hot tubs with ocean view were great.
-Great ship for people with children using strollers. There are a lot of sensory experiences in different neighborhoods.
-Debarkation was one of the easiest ever. Wish RCCL could do this for other ships. We usually take self debarkation but were afraid of the elevators with luggage. So we chose an early time for debarkation and walked down the steps and out to the terminal. Found our luggage and it was a short wait to get through customs. We then grabbed a taxi to our hotel (about 8:45).
-Because I had to prepay gratuities when booking, and also prebooked excursion, I had leftover $100 non-refundable OBC. Fortunately I went to Guest Services and asked for cash back or I would have lost the $100. I had to get the money from casino and pay the $3.00 fee (no big deal).
-Ports - Always like Labadee. We had a great day where we walk off ship and to beach. Did the Chitza Nitza tour in Cozamel. A long day with 6 hours of bus and the ferry rides to/from mainland but the few hours in Chitza Nitza are a once in a lifetime experience and worth the drive. Food and drink on this $110 excursion was unacceptable. If they can't give you choices they should either put more pressure on the tour operators or let you take box lunch off ship. In Falmouth we walked around outside the gated port area. We did not feel unsafe, but it was probably the poorest place we have ever visited, and we've visited some poor places. Nothing of interest to see. Next time I would either go to a beach or stay on the ship.
Personally, we will not cruise on Oasis again, unless we are with grandchildren. However, we are glad we did it once. It was a unique bucket list cruise and we enjoyed the 'ship as the destination'.
Went to Chitza Nitza. Walk to ferry, ferry ride, walk to bus, 3 hour bus ride, crummy Subway lunch with sugar soda (not even water), great tour guide on bus and at ruins, best ruins we've been to off ship, reverse trip back. Ferry was waiting for us and went to dock next to cruise ship. Got to dinner at 7. Loved the ruins and worth the bus ride. I would take food off the ship, even if you have to bring granola bars from home or little boxed cereals from ship. Also make sure you buy bottled water while you are in Chitza Nitza. It is a long ride back and they do not give you more water.