First and foremost a huge thank you to all the fellow cruise critiques who answered my many questions prior to sailing on The Oasis and with RCI for the first time. I will endeavour to give the best review of my trip that I can.
First of all, there really is no point in getting to the port at 10.30 am like we did. The check in process is really quite simple, quick, and once checked in we were unable to board until after 12 noon. The departure lounge is really quite dull. Once on board, we headed straight for the 'Solarium Bistro'. Given the fact that everyone had just got onboard and hed to wait until after 1pm before we could go to our cabins, the bistro was really quite busy. We did manage to get a table relatively quickly however, have a feed, and were then set for the day.
Having reserved a Grand Suite, we were keen to get to our room as soon as we were allowed. The suite was fantastic and a wonderful size, and large bathroom. There was more than enough storager for both of us to hang all our clothes (we took three suitcases) and hide our suitcases out of the way for a week. The location, deck 6 in the middle of the ship was perfect. You are near to pretty much everything, the Royal Parade, the Boardwalk, Central Park etc etc.
Going back to the luggage, we were warned that due to the sheer number of passengers onboard, we could possibly have to wait until up to 8pm to receive our cases. Maybe we were just lucky, but we had our three cases by 2.30pm. However, one of them, a large, hard case, quite expensive Samsonite had been damaged quite badly. We reported this to Guest Services who said that they could repair it onboard, and we were to leave it in the room with a report form attached. However, ther next day, two members of crew came to our stateroom the following day saying that it was too badly damaged to repair. The offered a replacement, although this was quite a lot smalled than our original.. They said that we could choose either the replacement, or to be financially compensated. Given the fact we would need it once our cruise was over, we had no choice other than to accept the replacement.
The first night we went to see Hairspray. This was a fantastic production, and the storyline was only very slightly changed from the original West End version. As was all the shows that we saw. Frozen in Ice and Oasis of dreams were just spectacular. In fact Frozen in Ice I went to see twice. The only problem I had with any of the shows was when the cruise director, Amy Fickart, made very inappropriate comments, which I reported and complained to guest services about, and as the complaint is still with RCI, I shall keep the comments to myself.
Outside, there are four pools and an abundance of whirl pools. I have never seen as many whirlpools on a boat before. Days at sea, the pools obviously did get very busy, although we never had trouble finding a sunbed. My top tip here to any suite guests is to to to deck 17, above the solarium which is open to only passengers with a gold coloured seapass. This was quiet, and sheltered from the winds of the sea, very close though to the pools, and has it's own bar. I did not have a go on tthe flowrider though it did look like a lot of fun, and it was fun to watch all the other budding surfers. As for the zipline, I had p[romised myself that I wanted to try it during the cruise. I had however read on cruiise critic that it costs $92 a ride, and takes something like 1.5 hours in total. I realised by the Friday however that it was free, and as it was almost 5pm, there were very few people waiting to have a go. I registered, got my harness on, and had two goes withing the space of 15 minutes. Wonderful.
The MDR was very impressive, and set over 3 floors. We had made our reservations to work around the show reservations we had made, and we never had a problem getting a table. The food was good although the menus tended the repeat themselves, and there was little variety. Our waiters each evening were very pleasant. Thankfully, we had only plannned to eat at a speciality restaurant, and thankfully not more as we were very unimpressed. We ate at 150 Central Park and were very unimpressed with the hard sell on the wines. We explained that we had already purchased the premium drinks packagae for $385 each, and were happy with house wine. After desperatley trying to persuade us to go for a "very nice red" for $500, he explained that they do not have house wines in that restaurant, and that he would had to go to a different venue, which would take time. I was happy to wait. Then however, our six course tasting menu was so rushed, I think the whole meal took no more than 45 minutes. Not exactly a speciality, and I will not be repeting the experice with RCI. The other venues for eating during the daytime, Windjammer and Solarium Bistro were mediocre at best, with the latter being the healthier option. The waiters however always seemed busy 'doing something else' and we found it difficult getting drinks.
In the way of nightlife and bars, there is plenty going on on this ship. The pub in the Royal Promenade was a popular venue. I found both Blaze and Dassle nightclubs lively and fun, and the solarium actually hosted two party nights also.
We were not too impressed with the excursions we chose, although maybe we just had bad luck. The trip in St Maartens seemd a bit of a watse considering the ship was in port from 7am to 5pm, and yet we only went for a excurions at 2pm. Having said that, the ship was a very pleasant place to be when most others were onshore.
I guess I can only compare this cruise experience with the one other I have done on Princess. All in all the food, and service were better on Princess by quite a way. However, this is a fantastic boat, with fantastic facilities, amazing show productions, and perfect for the late night boogey. Would I do RCI again? Absolutely. We booked Allure for Western Caribbean next year whilst we were onboard.
Any questions please feel free to ask.