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Oasis of the Seas Cruise Review by polkadots

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Oasis of the Seas
Oasis of the Seas
Member Name: polkadots
Cruise Date: June 2013
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Destination: Western Caribbean
Cabin Category: D7
Cabin Number:
Booking Method:
See More About: Oasis of the Seas Cruise Reviews | Western Caribbean Cruise Reviews | Royal Caribbean Cruise Deals
Member Rating   5+ out of 5+
Dining 5+
Public Rooms 5+
Cabins 5+
Entertainment 5+
Spa & Fitness 5+
Family & Children Not Rated
Shore Excursions 5+
Embarkation 5+
Service 5+
Value-for-Money 5+
Rates 5+
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Ship Facts: Oasis of the Seas Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Oasis of the Seas Deck Plans
A great time

I got really frustrated before the trip ever started. My husband and I booked our trip 7-8 months out and my in-laws decided to join us and booked their trip a couple months later. Although we both made our reservations with the same TA, they were separate, and when we tried to go online and book excursions/specialty meals/shows, it was an absolute nightmare to schedule together. We couldn't combine our RCCL info to book together online, and I called in to ask for help and they couldn't do it over the phone either. We ended up having to run 2 computers side-by-side and make all our reservations separately but at the same times, and then when we got to the ship had to tell the restaurants/MDR to put us at the same table. I learned after complaining that if I had called the Crown & Anchor Society, knowing exactly what I wanted ahead of time, they could have just booked us together to begin with, but I must have called the wrong department or asked my question incorrectly. We also couldn't even book all our shows online and had to do that once onboard. It was a huge pain to have to run to Studio B as soon as we got on board, and wait in line for an hour, just to complete reservations for 2 of the shows.

Aside from that nightmare, everything else was fantastic. We flew in to FLL and found the airport easy to navigate, and were able to share a cab to the pier with another couple. My in-laws' flight arrived an hour or so later and they met us on board the ship. Check-in was quite swift for both of our parties and since we all arrived after boarding had begun, we were able to get on the ship right away.

Both our parties had ocean-view balcony cabins on the 9th floor, though half the ship apart. We were disappointed in ours only because every time we went out to enjoy the balcony, the couple next door was out smoking on theirs. My in-laws' balcony cabin had an extra-deep deck and I think they were able to spend a lot more time out enjoying theirs than we were able to enjoy ours. Our cabin was a fine size - plenty of storage so we could unpack thoroughly and hide the suitcases under the bed. The in-cabin TV system was awesome - loved being able to look on it to see menus, schedules, etc. Our stateroom attendant was very kind and thorough, though there were drawers in the bathroom and in the vanity that looked like something had been spilled in and never cleaned, so we did not use those and still had enough room for everything.

When I travel, I like to exercise every day, so I really appreciated the fitness center on Oasis. All of the equipment seemed well cared for and high quality. Many of the machines had TV screens, and one type of elliptical I discovered had built-in Solitaire I could play to distract myself (that was the longest workout of the week because I kept losing and I wanted to WIN!) I actually enjoyed weighing myself every day because, as a very handsome fitness instructor explained to me, the scale is always wrong due to the motion of the water far, far below. When I stood on the scale, my weight fluctuated in a 5-pound range that had to be at least 10 pounds below what I normally weigh.

I've never used the jogging track on other ships but I did use the one on Oasis. I liked that it was out of the way so other people weren't watching me go by while they chillaxed, and I thought there was plenty to look at with all the maintenance and lifeboats and motivational signs and the back side of the aqua theater and the view out the back of the wake. It is a little narrow for my taste, but it's only a problem when you have 2 people determined to be side-by-side taking up the whole road. My favorite spot on the whole ship was the very aft-most point of the jogging track. There are Adirondack chairs set up: a fantastic place to take a book and relax.

The food was terrific as well. The only specialty restaurant we tried was Giovanni's and we thought the food was delicious and our waiter, Patricio, was amazing. We went back a second night and had a different server, yet Patricio still came running by to help us out and see how we were doing even though he had his own tables to care for. We ate our other dinners in the MDR using My Time Dining. Although we reserved for a different time each evening, we still had the same waiter and the same table every night.

We tried the Solarium for breakfast one day and it was good, the options a little different from anywhere else on board. We ate several lunches in the Windjammer (we really liked the bread pudding with vanilla sauce that they served most days), enjoyed the Park Cafe, Cafe Promenade, Sorrento's, and room service at weird hours. My father-in-law bought Starbucks almost every day and was amused that they never had any plain coffee ready-made when he got there! He also bought a smoothie one day at the counter outside the fitness center and said he liked it a lot. I'm normally not fond of eating breakfast or lunch in the MDR because it takes so long, but my husband really wanted to go. The lunch is called the "Brasserie 30" and theoretically you're supposed to be in-and-out in 30 minutes (it was ALWAYS longer than that for us). The menu was the same every day and included a big salad bar and a few hot dishes in a buffet in the middle of the room as well. I don't know if this counts as a restaurant, but the soft serve ice cream machines on the pool deck were a huge hit and we all enjoyed at least one ice cream cone each day - what a way to cool off! The Cupcake Cupboard was full of delectable treats. We thought the pricing actually seemed reasonable compared to what our local cupcake shops charge and every flavor we tried was delicious. After the cruise I learned there is a Cupcake Cupboard loyalty-type card, where you buy 6 cupcakes and get the 7th free, so we will keep that in mind for our next trip!

The drinks we ordered at various points, though expensive, were huge, and with plenty of liquor inside. We will likely never use Johnny Rockets (unless maybe for free breakfast) as we have one of these in our city we can visit any time already.

The ports of call were all quite hot. Labadee wasn't so bad at first: we took the Discover Haiti boat tour in the morning. I really enjoyed getting to see more of the coast and hearing some background of the island, but my husband and father-in-law weren't that impressed with the experience and wished we'd gone closer to shore or seen "more interesting things." During the boat trip a man did come around trying to sell us bracelets. After the boat trip we tried going to the beach - husband wanted to snorkel and I wanted to lay in the shade to read. It was so hot that it felt like walking through fire. I had read that the little tents were free to use but when I asked an attendant to set one up for me he refused when I was unable to hand over a seapass card or cash so I had to try to find a spot under a tree and I basically boiled in the humidity until my husband announced the snorkeling was terrible, so back to the ship for us. It did look like a nice beach, with lots of places to see, so if I ever had another trip to Haiti I would just hope for cooler weather, and a better understanding of how to get an umbrella for shade!

Labadee has a "trolley" to ferry guests around the area. We waited in a huge crowd for the trolley to take us back to the ship and it was already full when it got to us - we were lucky to squish in and left many, many fellow waiters behind. The trolley went through a vendor's market that we had walked through before - the merchants here are very aggressive even though you are on a moving trolley! So I am not sure what the goods looked like or how the pricing was as I am uncomfortable in those types of situations.

In Jamaica we did not book an excursion, as they all involved long bus trips out of Falmouth to the more developed parts of the island. We did get off the boat to check out the shops in the port, and paid for a short 35-minute trolley ride leaving from the port area to tour the town. The 35-minute tour involved a 10-15 minute stop at the Falmouth Parish Church where we were accosted by people trying to sell us things. It wasn't much better inside the church as there were people inside begging for donations to maintain the church. One fellow passenger who just tried to stay on the trolley during the church stop was immediately targeted by a crowd of people aggressively trying to make a sale and he felt very unsafe. It was very hot in Falmouth the day we were there, but the trolley was "air conditioned" and as long as it was moving we had a nice breeze. We were glad to get back onto the ship after the trolley trip. (The port shops included a Dairy Queen ... which I thought was really silly. Who would pay all this money for a cruise ship trip to somewhere exotic and then pay a bunch more money for the exact same ice cream you can buy at home?)

Cozumel was my favorite port of call by far. We booked the excursion for the dolphin/manatee encounter at Chankanaab. The dolphins were amazing, and the manatee was neat. They have a free sea lion show that was an adorable hoot. Chankanaab has a very nice beach area with plenty of shady spots to relax. It was very low-stress getting to/from the area - the excursion arranged taxis to take us all to the facility, and whenever we wanted to leave we simply had to report to a certain place at the entrance and they would arrange a taxi to take us back to the port at no additional cost to us - it was included in the excursion fee.

I wish we had owned and brought a waterproof camera with us to document the amazing experiences we had with the dolphins and manatee. The pictures the Chankanaab staff took were very cool, but insanely expensive. I would absolutely do this excursion again, would recommend it to anyone ... and would be sure to bring my own waterproof camera for next time to save money on pictures.

My mother-in-law's curling iron died during our trip. She went to the spa to ask if they had one she could borrow to do her hair for dinner and they weren't very nice about it. In Cozumel on the way back from Chankanaab she and my father-in-law were able to take a taxi to a store called Mega (?) to buy a new one, and the taxi driver waited for them to make the purchase and then drove them back to the port.

The shows were FANTASTIC. We went to all of them: Hairspray, ice show, aqua theater show, headliner show, comedy, love/marriage, quest, etc. When we got home after the trip, we had tickets to a Cirque du Soleil show at our local arena for the next night, and my husband was not impressed at all after all the feats the aqua show team did on Oasis while the ship traveled. On previous cruises we've gotten up and left during theatrical shows that left us Simon Cowell-levels of cold, but on this ship we wanted more, more, more of everything we saw. I really enjoyed cruise director Amy. I've seen other reviewers criticize her (and not just her but her CLOTHES!?!?!) but I thought she was extremely personable, enthusiastic, and VERY WELL DRESSED. One day she and I were both wearing the same red shorts from the same store, so let's just say the other reviewer criticizing her attire has terrible taste. Any time we saw her out and about on the ship, she was very excited to talk to anyone who came up to her, and always posed for pictures and had something positive to say.

The other on-board entertainment was enjoyable too. My husband enjoyed the flow-rider and his parents enjoyed watching him enjoy the flow-rider. I'm glad they were there to watch him because that was not my idea of a good time - I took my kindle to the aft of the jogging track deck every time that happened! We went through the mini-golf course one afternoon and thought it was entertaining enough, though simple. We didn't spent as much time as I would have liked in any of the pools or the solarium but we did spend time every day in the cantilevered hot tubs, which was very very enjoyable. My in-laws and husband attended a few seminars throughout the week which they found informative. One special treat is the guitarist who performs concerts a few nights a week in Central Park. He is very talented and seats are very hard to find.

Overall I found myself overwhelmed by how much there was to do and how little time I had to complete it all. Between my morning workouts, any excursions we planned in the ports, the amount of time it takes to eat (thanks husband for dragging us to the MDR so many time-sucking points of the day!), the amount of time it takes to get presentable for dinner, the amount of time it takes to eat dinner, and the shows, I found myself wishing for MORE TIME to enjoy the pools, or to take naps, or to enjoy more of the ship, or even to try more of the restaurant options. Part of this is I think we didn't handle traveling with my in-laws as well as we could have, and spent a lot of time waiting to meet them so we could have all our meals together, when it might have been nice to do our own thing a few times and not have to walk all over the ship coordinating things.

Although the ship is huge and contains a gazillion passengers, it really, truly never felt crowded except the first day right when we arrived and wanted to book shows/eat lunch, and just a smidge on sea days in the pools (but there were always plenty of chairs). It did feel a little crowded any time a show wrapped up, but we eventually could elbow our way through the fray to the stairs and break free of the crowd. We loved the screens in the elevator areas (and our stateroom) that explained what was open and how busy it was at the time, plus showed the schedule of events in case we were looking for something to do.

When we booked the trip with our TA, we received $100 onboard credit. We had trouble using all of it and at the end of the trip went to guest relations to ask if they could apply the remainder of it to additional gratuities for stateroom attendant/waiters/etc. They actually zeroed out the account and gave us cash for the remaining balance!!! Which we then handed off to the stateroom attendant and our waiters as planned. I can't believe they gave us cash for the onboard credit remaining balance though - totally unexpected.

Disembarkation was a breeze. We opted to carry the bags off the ship ourselves so we had to be off by 7:30AM, and it was very quick to exit, clear customs, and get in a cab to head back to the airport. Another bonus is that lines at the airport are very short that early in the morning so it did not take long to get through security to our waiting area at all!

Overall we had an excellent time on the ship. We greatly enjoyed our accommodations, food, and entertainment. The Oasis is a beautiful ship that is excellently organized and a pure joy to live on for a week. The service is very good, the only thing that bothered us was how often they asked us to make sure to indicate that they were "excellent" when we filled out our review cards at the end of the week. I really wonder what happens if they only get scored as "good" that has them all in such fear of it.

Publication Date: 06/18/13
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