We returned from a 7 day cruise aboard the Oasis over spring break 3/2013 to the western caribbean. I was initially concerned about going on a ship this large as we have done Disney Magic with our kids in the past and found the size of that ship very manageable. This was a nice surprise. It came with some effort and patience which in the end payed off with a great vacation.
Embarkation at the Fort Lauderdale port was probably the easiest we have ever had. The luggage porters were friendly and efficient, quickly taking our bags. After a quick run through the scanners we walked right up to a check in desk with no waiting and within 15-20 minutes we were walking on the Oasis. In truth walking onto the ship is a little like being instantly transported into the heart of a shopping mall. There were not welcoming and directing personnel there to great you as on Disney which to first timers may be overwhelming. We proceeded directly to the elevator and to our veranda room on deck 8.
We had two rooms side by side but not connecting to share with our teen boys. They are 14 and 16 making privacy mandatory for all of us! The rooms were well laid out and although I had read about issues with storage we were quite pleased. It may have been an issue had we shared a room with the boys as we have in the past. I had also read about outlets being hard to reach and under the vanity. This was not the case as there was a round raised outlet on the top of the vanity. The bathrooms were a decent size. Toiletries were not provided other than a shampoo dispenser in the shower, but you could ask your room attendant for them (the boys did).
Exploring the ship is a time consuming and initially confusing task. It is HUGE. Tree filled Central Park was impressive and remained a favorite place to relax from the bustle and dine throughout our cruise. All of the specialty restaurants are here as well as the Central Park Cafe (no extra charge). We ate there almost daily for breakfast or lunch. The food there was really very good. "Gourmet style" options of up scale breakfast and lunch sandwiches as well as fresh fruit and salads and desserts were great. It is true..do not miss the beef sandwiches. Delicious! At night CP it was quite beautiful and had a "town feel". There was a fabulous guitar player there out in the open with diners able to enjoy from their tables outside or people clustered around to listen. We ate at 150 Central Park and as Chicago foodie I don't say this lightly...it was outstanding. Our only issue was our waiter who initially was more than persistent about trying to get us to buy a $250 bottle of wine. I mean REALLY persistent. After were equally persistent in our refusal we moved on to a superb night. It was a tasting menu that offered surprise after surprise. The menu initially seemed very basic. The food was not. Splurge here and be rewarded. Vintages wine bar was a very cozy, romantic place to enjoy a glass of wine. We walked into the Windjammer Cafe (buffet) once and after being rebuked by a server for sitting at a table without being directed there we never returned. Not typical for buffet seating and it was a zoo in there. MDR food was quite good and their service was outstanding. We were shoved at a table in a back corner that we weren't particularly crazy about and they moved us when they could. It is very crowded waiting to get in, but they handle it efficiently. We did My Time dining and it is crucial to make your reservations for times you want. We didn't understand that at the beginning.
The pool areas were great. Large and with always available chairs. The steel drum band that played every afternoon was fabulous. Fun and relaxing. Wait staff not overly pushy with drinks. Frozen yogurt on pool deck was popular and fun. They were great about clearing out belongings from people attempting to reserve chairs but never returning to them. Kudos! The Wipeout Cafe was a great buffet lunch and yogurt option close to the pool. Ok I initially refused to try the Flowrider. Don't miss it. Wear a t-shirt over your bikini if you're a woman and go for it! My boys harassed me until I gave in and I wish I had done it earlier. The staff there was very helpful. Zipline was short and we didn't try it. The spa atmosphere was a little sterile in feel and not as inviting as others we have had while cruising.
The fitness area was very large and had a great variety of equipment. Sign up for classes immediately upon boarding or you will never get into them. I did hire a trainer one day and she was great. The running track was wonderful. I clocked more than my average mileage there just to be rewarded by the view as you came around the back of the ship.
We are not excursion people, but we did do the snorkel trip from St. John and were glad we did. Fun, beautiful and well organized. St. Thomas to me is jewellery stop and I like Cardow. Bling! On St. Martin we always rent a car and drive to Orient Beach. Don't be afraid to do this! Gorgeous beach with lots of activity options for the kids. Yes there are nude/partially nude people there as it is a French beach. My family after initial embarrassment in the past have gotten over it and just enjoy. Part of travel is encountering and enjoying different cultures!! Nassau. Don't like it. Atlantis is ridiculously expensive to get into and once you're there. We went to the Sheraton this trip instead and it was fine.
Entertainment onboard was fair/good and varied. Shows were fun and I was amazed at the Aquatheater. It really was fabulous. Really no reservation required. Comedy Club was great. Jazz club was gorgeous, but under utilized with an entertainer that seemed out of time . Dazzles was gorgeous space with a band that seemed like it belonged somewhere else. This was where they should have made a dance club or had an upscale band. The night we were there some "folks" got into a fist fight. Not typical of the people or activity we saw elsewhere on the ship. Stupid. The bars in the main lobby area had many options. Wander and find your preference!
Disembarkation was not smooth. Get ready for a long wait not only to get off, but the line in the terminal for customs was insane. It was very hard to hear what groups they were calling and people were sitting everywhere. They are preparing for the next cruisers so most everything is shut down as you wait. Be patient and reflect on the great time you just had!